Urban and Regional Planning Review
Online ISSN : 2187-3399
ISSN-L : 2187-3399
Inter-municipal Cooperation under Population Decline
Possibilities and Limitations in Comparison with Mergers
Fumihiko SETA
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2024 Volume 11 Pages 95-112


Population decline has recently become one of the main issues for urban and administrative policies in many cities and regions of the world. Inter-municipal cooperation (IMC) and the municipal merger are expected to be effective measures to maintain various public services efficiently even under conditions of declining population and shrinking capacities, while there are many controversial discussions regarding their possibilities related to political difficulties and transaction costs. This article examines the difference between IMC and mergers on the application of projects to alleviate or adapt to population decline, using, as an example, the Initiative for Residential Self-sustaining Areas (RSAs) which try to enhance voluntary cooperation between local governments in Japan. The result shows that IMC tends to be more acceptable for projects that are expected to achieve mutual benefit represented by mutual usage of public facilities, whereas projects which give partial and uneven benefit are mostly conducted by mergers.

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