Munk Distinguished Lecture Series

Alan Harding: Metropolitan Governance: Future Necessity or Misplaced Dream?

September 19, 2019 | 5:00PM - 6:30PM
Munk School, Public policy

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Experts from multiple disciplines have argued in principle for the benefits of metropolitan governance, but how has it played out in practice? Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance Visiting Scholar, Alan Harding, addressed this question by drawing on his experience as Chief Economic Adviser to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority as well as his many years of academic research on metropolitan governance. In his presentation, Professor Harding assessed the arguments produced in favour of metropolitan governance, the extent to which real-world reforms have been driven by these arguments, the barriers that stand in the way of “rational” reform, and how Greater Manchester’s experience with metropolitan governance points to ways of overcoming at least some of those barriers. He will end by speculating on whether metropolitan governance is an idea whose time has come or a diversion from the real challenges facing decision-makers in a complex, interconnected world.

This event was part of the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy Distinguished Lecture Series.

About the Speaker:

Alan Harding is Chief Economic Adviser at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and a visiting Professor at the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research in the Alliance Manchester Business School. He oversees the analytical work that supports GMCA’s research and intelligence, strategy development and evaluation efforts. Most recently, he was centrally involved in the production of the Greater Manchester Independent Prosperity Review, a major collaborative initiative with leading academic experts designed to provide the evidence base for one of the UK’s first modern local industrial strategies. Previously, Alan spent 30 years in academia leading specialist research Institutes and Centres in the north of England, focusing on urban-regional development, policy, and governance. He is best known for his role in re-establishing the importance of the city-region as a scale for policy design and delivery in England.

About the Moderator:

Shirley Hoy has had a lengthy public service career including serving as Toronto's City Manager from 2001 to 2008 and working as an Assistant Deputy Minister in three Ontario ministries. She held various policy and planning-related positions in the former Metro Toronto government, including with the Department of Community Services, as General Manager and Corporate Secretary at Exhibition Place and as Executive Director in the Metro Chairman's office. Ms. Hoy also served as Commissioner of Community and Neighbourhood Services, where she provided leadership on many major services ranging from social assistance, homes for the aged, housing and support, public health, and parks and recreation. Following her term as Toronto City Manager, she served 5 years as the CEO of the Toronto Lands Corporation.

Co-sponsored by the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy and the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance.

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Munk School, Public policy


Headshot of Alan Harding
Professor Alan Harding

Chief Economic Adviser, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Manchester, UK
Visiting Professor, Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, Alliance Manchester Business School, Manchester, UK
Visiting Scholar, Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto

Headshot of Shirley Hoy
Shirley Hoy

Senior Advisor, StrategyCorp