Switzerland is a highly urbanised country. Today, the growing metropolitan areas do not cor-respond to the political-administrative boundaries anymore. In terms of political institutions, Swiss metropolitan areas are highly fragmented; this poses a challenge for the governance capacity in urban areas. In 2001, a federal agglomeration policy was launched, marking the first time the federal government directly interfered in urban affairs. With this new agglom-eration policy, the federal government wants to foster vertical and horizontal cooperation between the different federal levels.
Whereas theories of federalism help to understand systems of interlocking politics in multi-level governance, the politics of scale approach draws attention to the relationship and the distribution of power among different federal state levels. Drawing a link between theories of federalism and the politics of scale approach, this paper proposes a theoretical framework to analyse the construction of new levels of governance and of the structures of negotiation be-tween the different levels of governance within the multi-tiered hierarchy. Tackling the ques-tion of multilevel governance with an analysis of the politics of scale will allow me to desig-nate new conflict lines and the change in the relationship between the different federal state levels. The paper presents first empirical results based on this theoretical framework.