Publication: When normative planning fails small towns
Small towns, with populations amounting to less than 20,000 inhabitants, pose a disconcerting challenge to normative planning practices, mainly because of their dwindling financial resources and increasing democratic deficits. However, there are very few recent works that explicitly combine these two phenomena into simple conceptual models, useful for problem-oriented regional management. Against this background, we feel that there is a strong need for experimental approaches, aimed at developing supplemental instruments to normative planning. Hence, our idea is simple: to develop an experimental, problem-oriented regional management model, aimed at replacing currently ineffectual normative planning practices for Romanian small towns. Therefore, we have constructed a model that links land resources available to municipalities to a more direct community involvement in matters related to public finance. The model works in three stages, using a combination of local and regional scales. Thus, within a first stage, municipalities pool unincorporated areas at their disposal for joint projects, aimed at increasing budgetary revenues. In a second stage, each municipality uses these revenues for reforming their respective tax collection systems. After this financial exercise, municipalities then negotiate a set of regional amenities, which cannot be covered by direct local expenses. The research behind this paper rests partly on an on-going background study, concerned with updating the section examining the settlement network within the Romanian National Spatial Plan. In addition, we have undertaken an extensive empirical study of 221 small towns in Romania, focusing on demographic, budgetary and land use analysis.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Definite Space – Fuzzy Responsibility, Prague, 13-16th July, 2015
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