Over the course of the next decade, the number of industries and logistics companies (who look after the transport and storage of goods) is expected to double in the state of Rio Grande, Brazil. The question for planners is how to decide which areas are best suited to receive these new ventures in a densely urbanized region. The trajectory of this kind of urbanization will now be decided by the new Metropolitan Chamber of Government Integration (CIG), which was formally created on August 11th by a decree issued by the governor, Luiz Fernando Pezão.

The governor and the mayors of the metropolitan area will form the IGC, which will have an Executive Technical Group formed by the State Secretariat for Urbanism. In addition to already starting work on integration, studies will be conducted in order to create an organization that resembles the previous Foundation of Metropolitan Region Development (FUNDREM), which has not been active since 1989. The design of the new organization will be decided by the future governor, Alerj, in January 2015.

The celebratory opening of the CIG, Metropolitan Chamber of Government Integration

The new metropolitan agency will be focused on urban mobility, safety, sanitation, land use, health and education. The goal, especially for issues like mobility and security, is to promote integrated solutions that are not disjointed and support current policies. The Executive Management of the Metropolitan Group will be headed by the current State Secretary of Urbanism, Vicente Loureiro, and will initially only work with technicians from the state. He has advocated the need to discuss a new model for the metropolis of Rio de Janeiro, citing the dramatic transformations within the region over the past decades, such as those caused by the highway construction plan called the Arco Metropolitano.

According to Loureiro, the Metropolitan Region of Rio needs a model defined by a strategic plan that expresses the future that the city wants. We can no longer postpone the creation of a political body to plan the state of Rio Grande as a whole. There are matters of common interest, such as security and mobility issues typically experienced at the metropolitan level. The IGC will be a transitional organization that will serve as a tool to design a new model metropolis for the next governor.

The current governor Luiz Fernando Pezão said the new body also represents an attempt to balance resources and public policies. According to Pezão, the challenge of the metropolises is the ability to share power. Marcos Poggi, an economist specializing in transportation planning, is favorable to the creation of the IGC, but warned that the greatest difficulty in achieving success is supporting the mayors to work in harmony with the state government provision. According to Poggi, the results produced by the Metropolitan Transportation Agency, which was created during the government of Marcelo Alencar, was less than favorable.

The Governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro with the current President of Brazil, Dilma Rouseff.

In general, mayors collaborate when the proposed policies are of political interest. But the creation of the IGC is commendable. The current stage of the urbanization process in the country is to impose the establishment of an effective body of metropolitan governance due to the fact that many of the metropolitan areas in the state include troubled areas.

In the decree that creates the IGC, the governor stressed that it is essential to build a participatory model of metropolitan governance, that is both efficient and modern, with the participation of various political parties, as well as the business community and society. Also, the organization should be structured to accept external funding, from both national and international sources, including funding from the World Bank, that will allow for experts to be hired to provide advice to develop the Strategic Plan of the Metropolitan Region.

What political organizations exist in your city to encourage better urban policies?

Original article, originally published in Portuguese, here.

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