In this paper the influence of macrosocietal shifts on municipal reforms in metropolitan areas, as reflected by the cyclic swing from periods of increased efforts to rationalize metropoli-tan governance to periods of acceptance and promotion of a fragmented pattern, is demonstrated. An analogy between the changes in industrial organization and municipal organization is suggested. The paper is focused on Israel's economic core region - the Tel Aviv metropolis - with surveys of reports of commissions dealing with municipal reforms and of boundary commissions assessing claims for municipal boundary changes between 1960 and 1993. A unique feature of Tel Aviv is the region's past failure to implement proposals for major rationalization during a period when such reforms were common in countries with similar political systems. This failure was a result of specific political and geographical factors that counterbalanced the broad processes that supported reform. The subsequent period of economic stagnation weakened prospects for comprehensive reforms. Renewed growth in the 1990s has intensified pressures for municipal change but has not been associated with the comeback of old notions of metropolitan government. Rather, flexible modes of cooperation and coordination appear to be preferred, priority being given to reorganizing local government in the urban - rural fringes of the metropolis rather than dealing with the inner parts of the metropolis.