Within the broader theoretical framework of federalism as a way to reconcile unity and diversity, this paper offers a historical account of how the city has been construed in federal theory (especially in light of the work of Johannes Althusius) and delves into the broad question of the city as a relevant 'sub-unit' in federal and decentralised systems.
This paper sketches a comparative framework for the study of cities in federal theory by looking at urbanisation and the general neglect that comparative federalism scholarship has reserved to the phenomenon of urban growth.
The paper takes as its point of departure the 'new' doctrine of pre-emption (between states and cities) in the US to reflect upon the apparent conflict between federalism theory (which advances certain values that cities are in a better position to foster) and formal federalism (which is all about states as the main units). The paper also reflects upon the theory underlying the relationship between federalism, localism and the city more generally.
This paper offers an account of the legal mechanisms that could help cities better face environmental challenges, particularly considering the impact that climate change has on the future of cities. In focusing on environmental aspects, the paper contributes to the debate on how cities could be better equipped to deal with contemporary pressing challenges.
This paper builds on the other contributions in the panel to outline how they cumulatively add to a theoretical foundation for cities in federal theory, in particular by discussing why cities deserve a more prominent position in federalism. It also points to potential ways forward.