This book looks at experience in government restructuring and devolution from a variety of national and international perspectives, both within the European Union and elsewhere, focusing on lessons learned and ways forward.Since the 1980s, there has been a global trend to give more power to local governments. Even in Korea and the United Kingdom, the most centralised countries in the OECD, local government powers have increased, with substantial economic benefits. Within the European Union, the principle of subsidiarity has enshrined the idea of devolution. New member states, particularly in central and eastern Europe, have significantly created new and self-sufficient local and regional governments. However, this process has been complicated. Devolution is not a panacea in its own right, and need not lead to economic growth. While it can encourage savings through collaboration, it can also lead to confused lines of authority and can complicate policy formation and implantation. Devolution can strain local budgets, forcing local governments to rely on their own sources of finance, rather than central government transfers. Suburbanisation, rural depopulation, the growth of some regions, and the decline of others have raised new problems, particularly related to inter-governmental cooperation among local governments and different levels of government. In many cases, an increased number of governments has increased administrative costs.
Jan Bucek is Associate Professor at the Comenius University in Bratislava. He holds a Ph.D. degree in economic geography at Comenius University. Currently he is Chair of the International Geographical Union Commission on the Geography of Governance (since 2008), Vice-President of the Slovak Geographical Society (since 2010) and a member of editorial boards of several scientific journals. Andrew Ryder is a senior lecturer in geography at the University of Portsmouth. Since 1991, he has also worked as a consultant in regional problems and policies and local government reform for the OECD and other international organisations. He is a member of the International Geographical Union Commission on the Geography of Governance and on the editorial board of several academic journals.
Introduction.- Part I: Governance, Intergovernmental Relations, and Development.- Top Down and Bottom Up Metropolitan Integration in Poland.- The Sydney Metropolitan Strategy: Implementation Challenges and Breakthroughs.- Governmental Devolution as a Motor of Local Development.- Theories of Metropolitan Government and the Post-Socialist Experience: The Case of the Poznan Metropolitan Area.- Regional Elites, Networks and the Beauty of Regionalism in Hungary.- Rural Governance in the New EU Member States: The Experience of the Polish LEADER + Pilot Programme (2004-2008).- Part II: Crossborder and International Co-Operation in Development.- Strategic Cooperation Between Regions - Building and Using Transnational Relations.- Changing Patterns of City-Hinterland Relations in Central and East European Borderlands: Szczecin on the Edge of Poland and Germany.- Transformation Processes in the Former Black Triangle.- The Influence of Regional Identities on Spatial Development - A Challenge for Regional Governance Processes in Cross-Border Regions?.- Part III.- Administrative Systems, Services Delivery and Local Finance.- The Empowerment of Local Democracy and the Decentralisation of Service Delivery in Local Government Reform: The Evidence from Portugal.-Municipal Bonds in Hungary: Constraints and Challenges.- Municipal Assets During the Post-Socialist Transition in Slovakia.- Governing the Transformation of the Built Environment in Post-Socialist Bratislava.