Covers environment, transportation, urban and regional planning, economic and social issues with a focus on Finland and Portugal.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hello Finland: Globalization does not require municipal amalgamation

Some extracts from an interesting article of Andrew Sancton, professor of political science specialized in local government at the University of Western Ontario, that alert for the disadvantages of the municipal amalgamation. An actual perspective that can be applied to Finland (Project to restructure municipalities and services) and very particularly to Korpilahti, with the aggravation of the fact that the popular will manifested in local referendum hasn't been respected.
"Nobody who has studied the competitiveness of global cities has ever suggested that city-regions with fewer municipal governments representing larger populations are better off than those with more governments representing smaller populations.
Reducing the number of municipalities has nothing to do with reducing the size of government. Reducing the number of local politicians can only have one result: insuring that a higher proportion of local councillors are full-time politicians.
In contemplating the creation of an airline monopoly we all know the potential future problems: higher fares, lower service levels; lack of choice. Why do so many policymakers not foresee the same problems with gigantic municipal service-providers?
No one disputes that some municipal functions are generally more efficient when they service larger numbers of urban residents ... It makes no sense for each municipality in the same metropolitan area to establish its own separate water-supply system. But this does not mean they all need to merge into one. (...)"

Andrew Sancton, Globalization does not require amalgamation, Institute for Research on Public Policy - Montreal, Quebec


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