Book Review: City, State: Constitutionalism and the Megacity, by Ran Hirschl
Spring 2021, Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Vol 51, No 2, e14
6 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2021 Last revised: 21 Mar 2022
Date Written: April 18, 2021
By drawing from every corner of the world and every academic discipline that could implicate cities, City, State: Constitutionalism and the Megacity does a praiseworthy job of calling out the constitutional silence of cities and making a case for their enhanced constitutional standing. There is little doubt that the constitutional silence of cities is something that needs serious rethinking. Nevertheless, debates on cities emancipation need to tread with caution. Hirschl can certainly be accused of being overly optimistic in envisioning his particular alternative reality. Nonetheless, Hirschl deserves much praise in bringing to the fore a topic that should not have stayed in the shadows for so long.
City, State: Constitutionalism and the Megacity raises tough questions and forces us to confront them head-on. This is a field-defining book – the results of which are already evident within the short period since this book’s launch (and even before). The book has already stimulated scholarly discussion and debate in several parts of the world, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Brazil, Canada, and Australia. Additionally, a specialized conference on ‘Constitutional Space for Cities’ is slated for early 2021. I•CON, one of the leading journals in comparative constitutional law, has already published a multi-article discussion centered around Hirschl’s core claims.
Certainly, cities will no longer be absent from constitutional discourse – it is simply not tenable, and Hirschl has ensured that. City, State: Constitutionalism and the Megacity has left us with endless possibilities to figure out how constitutionalism can catch up with the growing urban agglomeration and the rise of megacities.
Keywords: City, Federalism, Mega City, Ran Hirschl, Subsidarity, Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, Autonomy
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