Adapting to the political moment and diverse terrain of ‘Actually Existing Municipalisms’

Spring 2020
DOI: 10.3898/SOUN.74.03.2020

Tried and trusted forms of municipalism will continue to play an important role in any new municipal alliances. 

This article engages constructively with the ‘new municipalism’, while cautioning against imposing another set of top-down elite imperatives on ‘left behind places’. It also points out that local does not necessarily mean progressive, citing the example of Tees Valley’s Conservative mayor Ben Houchen. As an alternative, it draws upon positive experiences from the recent global remunicipalisation trend, and highlights the importance of working with ‘actually existing’ municipalisms on the ground, focusing in particular on Germany, where there remains a strong public ethos, and commitment to öffentliche Daseinsvorsorge - ‘public (well-)being provision’. It takes Darmstadt as a specific example, and looks at its city economic strategy - Stadtwirtschaftsstrategie. It concludes that productive coalitions and new alliances for a renewed left municipalism can be built through working with continuing, new and diverse forms of municipal values and cultures, both within the UK and internationally.

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