Chapter 6: The entrepreneurial local community and public entrepreneurs
The functions of the local government can be viewed differently (Herbert and Thomas, 1997, p. 123). Sharpe (1976) has identified three major functions of local governments as promoting liberty, participation and efficient service provision. Local governments provide liberty by countering a lack of local responsiveness usually associated with overcentralization. Participation in the local is also considered likely to be enhanced by some form of local elections. Finally, local governments are considered most likely to maximize the efficiency of service provision since they can assess local needs better by being close to the point of service delivery. There have been several stages in local developments because urban systems have looked different over the years (Herbert and Thomas, 1997, pp. 77–9). In the period prior to large-scale industrialization, most cities were small. They normally had populations of less than 50 000 and a rudimentary form of economic, social and political organization. Their transport technology was equally rudimentary. Because of the limitations of transport facilities, influence in cities was restricted to providing urban services for a relatively localized population and, even if the city also provided commercial, religious, social or political functions for a wider hinterland, the frequency of visits by long-distance travellers and the associated functional interrelationships between the city and the outer limits of its hinterland was still low. The city tended to be a distinct urban nucleus loosely related to a wider rural area and to other cities. In the early stages of industrialization, particular resources were localized.
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