State type
Type of government
República democrática.
Administrative Division

National Level

Gobierno Central

Intermediate/Regional Level

Regiones 5

Departamentos 19

Local Level

Municipios 112

Official names of subnational and local governments


Gobiernos departamentales


National Urban Policy

  • The National Strategy for Access to Urban Land is an initiative promoted by the Ministry of Housing, Land Management and Environment, conceived as a participatory instance for the elaboration and conceptual development of public policies and, at the same time, an instrumental tool for urban development, land management, housing and habitat. It is composed of an articulated set of political objectives, programmatic axes and strategic guidelines, and their associated goals, to be achieved in the short and medium term and to promote sensible changes in the use and availability of urban land for housing purposes, mainly for social housing and urban development programmes, in line with the aspiration of fair access to adequate habitat for the entire population. (p. 7, para. 1)

    Mvotma and Planning and Budget Office (OPP) are also promoting the National Sustainable Cities Strategy, a nationwide land-use planning instrument that seeks greater inclusion of the environmental and ecosystemic dimensions in the planning of Uruguayan cities. The Strategy proposes to establish objectives, strategic guidelines, and concrete mechanisms to coordinate the actions of public institutions when planning and managing cities in an orderly and systematic manner. Its development will allow progress in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, the commitments made by Uruguay at the World Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Information on the stategy's progress is presented in the attached link.

    National urban policy type:
    Policy temporality:
  • Uruguay is a unitary republic made up of two sub-national levels of government: the departmental and the municipal. Traditionally it was a country made up of a single level of government, departmental, which served as local government. However, in the decentralization process, important advances were made to create municipalities as local governments in 2009, with the country undergoing a municipalization process.

    Currently, municipalities are bodies subject to the hierarchy of departmental governments, which implies limited financial and fiscal autonomy and sources of resources. Its main income comes from central government budget allocations defined by the Departmental Governments, and donations. 

    Departments have high autonomy for the administration and setting of taxable values, as well as for proposing taxes, fees and contributions.


  • In Uruguay, urban and rural planning was consolidated in the System of Territorial Organization and Sustainable Development, founded by law in 2008. In 2009, important measures were taken towards decentralization with the approval of Law No. 18 567 on Political Decentralization and Citizen Participation, which established the municipalities as local governments under the hierarchy of their respective departments. This was a key moment in the decentralization of land use planning in Uruguay. In 2010, the first local governments were elected and there are currently 112 municipalities.