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C. Global & Local Governance

Panel Title Innovation in Local Government: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of Structural Contingency Frameworks
Chairs John Martin, La Trobe University, John.Martin@latrobe.edu.au
Rob Hilton, Carleton University, rhilton@connect.carleton.ca
Alessandro Spano,University of Cagliari, spano@unica.it
Chris Stoney, Carleton University, cstoney@connect.carleton.ca
Panel Description Local governments deliver primarily place-based services that impact the daily lives of citizens. They are sub-national governments and thus inevitably dependent on either state or provincial governments in federal systems or directly to the national government in unitary systems. This relationship with both local citizens and central governments creates challenges for local government often placing them in a quandary as they manage competing demands. How they innovate to provide services for specific places within the frameworks imposed by central governments is the focus of this panel.

As Walker (2014) has argued ‘such frameworks should be tested across a range of innovation types (service, process and intra- and inter-organizational), differing sectors and localities and in studies designed to obviate or reduce concerns about causality and measurement bias.‘ (p. 40). We are inviting IRSPM colleagues to take up Walker’s (2014) challenge and to report on ‘structural contingency frameworks that identify the potential relationships between variables’ which ‘have the capacity to tease out causal relationships.’ (p. 40) as part of our ongoing comparative international research on innovation in local government.

The panel will bring together international examples of innovation in local government with respect to policy design and the management of services across communities. It will provide examples of innovative local government, showing how they address challenges at the intersections of governance and accountability. All aspects of local government will be considered but we are particularly interested in innovation in the following areas:

  • Citizen engagement
  • Economic development
  • Governance
  • Infrastructure financing
  • Land-use planning
  • Management
  • Service delivery
  • Sustainability
  • Urban poverty and social integration