Descentralización y régimen de las ciudades capitales: En la organización de las Ciudades Capitales

Translated title of the contribution: Decentralization and capital city regime: In the organization of Capital Cities

M.E. Botero Opina, Cristhian Ortega Ávila, Grenfieth De Jesus Sierra Cadena, Roberto Rave Ríos

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The Capital Cities are the most important population, economic and social centers of the country. More than 53% of the Gross Domestic Product is generated in these cities and 46% of the national population is concentrated there. These figures are impressive if we consider that the urban area of these cities, where most of the productivity takes place and most of the population is concentrated, does not exceed 5% of the total territory of Colombia. In other words, urban agglomerations represent the most efficient uses of the country's land, both economically and in terms of natural resource utilization. It makes no sense to think of a successful and sustainable country at the economic, social and environmental levels if we do not ensure that the capital cities grow in a good way.
In Colombia, the concept of decentralization that we have today stems from the 1991 constitution, which established the autonomy of the municipalities as a principle in the governance of the territory. However, the application of this principle has not been absolute and the National Government has retained several powers that allow it to regulate to a large extent the actions of the municipalities and in particular of the capital cities.
The control that the central government has retained can be seen in many ways: in the collection of taxes, the transfer of resources to the territorial entities, the power to approve or disapprove initiatives of the cities and the assignment of obligations to the municipalities. This has resulted in an application of the constitutional principle of decentralization that hinders the efficient and sustainable development of capital cities, leading Colombia to be a country with low economic growth, social injustices and inefficient use of territory and natural resources.
This book studies several of the effects that the decentralization model currently in force in Colombia has on the development of activities in capital cities. This situation is studied from both a practical and theoretical perspective.
Several real examples that demonstrate the existing difficulties in the relationship between the Nation and the Municipalities will be shown, relating them to the existing regulations and presenting an integral diagnosis of the complexities derived from the management of decentralization in Colombia.
At the end of the book, a series of proposals are put forward, varying in the complexity of their implementation, which would contribute to a more effective decentralization model. The alternatives contemplated range from constitutional modifications to simple changes in the procedures of national government entities. We hope that this diagnosis, as well as the proposals presented, will help academics, legislators and students to understand the difficulties that exist today in governing a city, derived from the way in which decentralization is understood in Colombia. Leading us to modify the relations between the Nation and the municipalities, thus guaranteeing competitive and sustainable capital cities that lead all the people of Colombia to have a better and happier future.

Translated with (free version)
Translated title of the contributionDecentralization and capital city regime: In the organization of Capital Cities
Original languageSpanish (Colombia)
Place of PublicationColombia
PublisherAsociación Colombiana de Ciudades Capitales
Number of pages288
ISBN (Electronic)9789585232020
ISBN (Print)978-958-52320-2-0
StatePublished - Oct 2019


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