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OECD Territorial Reviews: Puebla-Tlaxcala, Mexico 2013

image of OECD Territorial Reviews: Puebla-Tlaxcala, Mexico 2013

Encompassing 39 municipalities in two states, Puebla-Tlaxcala is the fourth-largest metropolitan zone in Mexico. Over the past five decades, the region has successfully attracted major national and international firms, building its reputation as both a manufacturing hub specialising in auto production and one of Mexico’s most important centres of higher education. Yet it also faces important challenges. Compared to other large Mexican metropolitan zones, Puebla-Tlaxcala has a disproportionate share of individuals with low skills, which could represent a bottleneck to future growth. Urban sprawl is another challenge with important economic, environmental and social consequences. Puebla-Tlaxcala's urban footprint expanded nearly eight times faster than its population over the past three decades, contributing to inadequate service provision and high levels of social marginalisation, particularly in the metropolitan periphery. To ensure that the region remains competitive and grows sustainably over the long term, this review recommends (i) improving workforce and economic development outcomes, particularly by raising the level of low-skilled workers; (ii) guiding urban growth more effectively to tackle urban sprawl and improve serve delivery; (iii) and addressing governance challenges by building capacity in the public sector and transitioning to forms of metropolitan governance.

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Governing the Puebla-Tlaxcala metropolitan area

Successful implementation of many of the recommendations proposed throughout this review – improving workforce and economic development (Chapter 2), better managing urban growth (Chapter 3) or improving service delivery (Chapters 3 and 4) – will require Puebla-Tlaxcala to improve governance arrangements. This chapter is divided into two sections. The first section examines capacity challenges in the public sector and proposes strategies for: i) bolstering revenue-raising capacities of municipalities; ii) limiting the effects of recurrent political and administrative upheavals; and iii) building more effective public administration. The second section assesses the key policy obstacles to metropolitan governance arrangements in Puebla-Tlaxcala and recommends ways in which regional leaders could: i) create operational legitimacy through the development of a strategic metropolitan vision; ii) create operational legitimacy via opportunities for metropolitan co-ordination; and iii) create institutional legitimacy by operationalising planning at the metropolitan scale.

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