During the first year of LoGov, we identified various local government practices for each of the five main research areas. These results, summarised per research area, are available for download on this page.

You can also klick here to explore the research results ordered by country.

Research Area 1

Local Responsibilities and Public Services

To ensure adequate housing opportunities for their populations is a key responsibility for many local governments but affects each of them differently. While the crucial challenge is in rural areas, to create an attractive living environment and stem outmigration to cities, it is for urban municipalities to address the significant shortage of affordable housing opportunities. In Germany, meeting both challenges are a core task of municipal housing companies. But are these effective in what they are doing, and could the creation of joint housing companies of urban and rural local governments be a good way forward?

Research Area 2

Local Financial Arrangements

Canadian municipalities do not have access to a wide range of revenue generating tools and mostly rely on a combination of user fees, (limited) transfers from other government levels and, in particular, property taxes. The key role of property taxes is a particular challenge for rural municipalities that struggle with declining populations and therefore a declining tax base. They are thus faced with the difficult choice of burdening their remaining residents with tax hikes or decreasing the number and quality of public services. Does this result in a hollowing out of local government in some geographic areas?

Research Area 3

Structure of Local Government

A key driver, when citizens of Fribourg and several adjacent smaller municipalities initiated the establishment of an agglomeration in 1999, was the desire to facilitate cooperation between the city and its surrounding communities. In line with the Swiss tradition of direct democracy, the electorate of each municipality was invited to decide whether to join forces or not. But has the agglomeration with the hindsight of several years, effectively reaped benefits through joint projects and will it be sustainable even once financial support provided by the central government has ceased?

Research Area 4

Intergovernmental Relations of Local Government

When the early years after the fall of Communism witnessed the establishment of a commission bringing together the central and local governments, this occurred in a bottom-up process that was not steered by the centre. The representatives of the local level are today still nominated by six different national associations of municipalities and other levels of territorial self-governments. Does this composition and the actual functioning of the commission take into account the at times conflicting interests and needs of all local governments, whether urban or rural?

Research Area 5

People’s Participation in Local Decision Making

In South Africa, the “community of the municipality” is legally recognised as a constituent component of each local government and its active involvement is mandated by the country’s constitution. Such involvement is required, especially, for participatory budgeting through which policy objectives shall be translated into real-life projects in a transparent and inclusive way. But does participatory budgeting in South Africa’s municipalities really live up to these expectations and what can be done to overcome challenges such as low budget literacy levels of local communities and a volatile financial base of local governments in some urban and rural areas?