Spatial asymmetries, cities and constitutional law

Growing socio-economic inequalities are rapidly becoming a challenge of our time, not only in developing countries in the Global South but also in the Western world: here several countries are now experiencing an increased economic divide between the rich and the poor due to a shrinking middle-class. One way of studying this phenomenon is through the lens of spatial asymmetries, meaning the different level of economic development and enjoyment of basic rights within specific spatial boundaries. Such spatial asymmetries may affect the functionality of the urban context and the combining of diversity with social cohesion. Against this rapidly evolving backdrop, public law in general, and constitutional law in particular, have left cities almost powerless. This paper offers a broad overview of cities as unique examples of spatial asymmetric areas and suggests how public law could contribute to strengthening their role and powers, thus help building trust in public institutions.