Stockholm, named one of the top city in the world by PwC, is certain that amalgamating government units (councils) is damaging.
“We don’t do that (merge)” said Ulla Hamilton, Stockholm vice mayor for innovation when asked would you “cluster” Stockholm with Malmo, Gothenburg, etc to form a mega-southern part of Sweden.
She goes on to say: “it is also very important for a politician to know what you shouldn’t do because that could actually lead to disturbing the development.
“It is very, very important to try to understand what is the politicians’ role, the people’s and city’s role.”
In other words, politicians need to stand back and let people have more say in the planning and the development of their cities and public places and spaces.
“A politician should try to find arenas where people can meet to exchange ideas. But a politician must know when not to interfere and disturb development. It’s very important to understand the government’s role.”
It takes a city to make a citizen and vice versa
“it is the self-consciousness of citizens – and their proud participation in the growth of their respective cities – that urges cities to improve the quality of life of the men and women who live in them”
Even its economic clout and city gateway indicators, which are intuitively associated with the larger (more “prominent”) cities, have several smaller cities in the top ranks.
More to the point, all four quality-of-life indicators have a majority of smaller cities in the top 10.
This last fact is critical because it also illustrates the relationship between cities and their people. After a certain level of economic success, a city’s residents demand more from municipal administrations.
In fact, economic success normally is seen as (and historically has been) the basis for those improvements in urban life that lead to a city’s infrastructural development, from schools, hospitals, and police to roads, buses, and metros to libraries, parks, and environmental sustainability.
While it might be the simple demographic fact of population density and expansion that turns towns into cities, it is the self-consciousness of citizens – and their proud participation in the growth of their respective cities – that urges cities to improve the quality of life of the men and women who live in them.