The Metropolis Observatory is a project led by the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB) which encourages reflection on the phenomenon of metropolisation in the world, relating it to the implementation of global agendas. The main aim is to offer reference frameworks for metropolises as concerns the need to include the metropolitan perspective in urban governance.


The project is organized into a collection of issue papers, which cover various urban living trends based on a metropolitan perspective and within a system of metropolitan indicators to compare objective data on metropolitan realities from around the world (in the preparation phase).

  • a. Offer reference frames for metropolises around the world on the need of incorporating the metropolitan vision in the governance of cities and territory.
  • b. Identify and compare trends in the development of metropolitan governance models.
  • c. Serve as a transversal tool of all the activities of the association capitalizing all the contents on metropolitan governance.
  • d. Train Metropolis members' elected officials and technical teams on all issues related to metropolitan governance.

The Observatory is closely linked with the "City Managers Community", the Metropolis Training program and the Policy Transfer Platform initiative.

Spheres of action

Data collection

The study spheres will focus on quantitative aspects such as the collection and comparison of geographic, demographic, institutional, and political information, as well as qualitative ones concerning the multiple challenges facing cities and metropolitan areas.

The metropolitan indicators will allow us to identify the existing trends among our members, compare the data collected and define the typologies of metropolis as a reference.

Knowledge Capitalization and Generation

External content: The Observatory will be the cross-cutting tool for all of the Association’s activities and make it possible to capitalize all the content on metropolitan governance in order to provide cities with an important reservoir of knowledge.

Internal content: This will principally involve the experiences of the Association’s cities and the Policy Transfer Platform (a growing source of case studies), but also those of metropolitan institutes and observatories to collect data and forge partnerships.

Compilation of Information on Metropolitan Governance

Likewise, the declarations produced by our members on this subject will be compiled in order to reinforce the metropolitan knowledge of the members of Metropolis and to reference their commitment to the phenomenon of the growth of metropolitan spaces, which provides a frame of reference and cooperation for other local governments.

Internationalization of Knowledge and Skills Training

Another option being considered for the Metropolis Observatory is to drive an exchange of knowledge that goes beyond data comparison and case studies to involve skills training on metropolitan governance.

Working with the Training Institute’s regional centers, types of training sessions on governance will be tapped through publicity events, courses and written productions.

Issue papers

This collection of issue papers approaches a series of contemporary topics and challenges which local governments are facing in the area of metropolitan affairs.

As a whole, the collection makes it possible to create a global metropolitan narrative.

Metropolitan Indicators

The growth of large metropolitan areas like megacities, urban regions and corridors is reshaping governance and the urban landscape, presenting new challenges for the management of territories. Global comparative research on metropolitan activities and governance is also confronted with a substantial lack of data. Metropolis is focused on acquiring data about its members – major cities and metropolitan areas. A key objective for this project is developing a system of indicators that can effectively generate new empirical insights, comparable across jurisdictions.

The Metropolis Observatory is supported by: