The role of local government is very important in our society. Governance is the political authority given by the people to the elected representatives to make political decisions for their betterment. Politics is a broad term to explain but here we will discuss the basic domain of local politics and its role in society.
Our political system is based on a separation of powers; power is divided between the three branches of the Federal government. The Federal government is supposed to be the primary source of power, with the State and local governments providing support to it through their jurisdictions.
Local government is a structure of elected representatives who make decisions on behalf of their voters. It Is considered a grass root level of government. In any society, the best possible way to solve the problem at the grass-root level is to establish local political infrastructure. Local-level democracy is another form of local government.
Health, education, entertainment, and basic infrastructure come under the domain of local government. Where elected representatives allocate funds and set their priority over the problems. In some countries, the collection and utilization of tax is also the responsibility of the local government authority.
What are the responsibilities of local government?
Local governments are responsible for providing services and resources for the local community, for ensuring a fair and effective government. These include police, fire services, emergency management, public health and safety, and environmental management.
Community planning is about how we want our communities to look in 10, 20, or even 30 years. Planning is about how we want our community to be when we are all older. Housing is one of the most pressing concerns at the local government level and is a basic right. The availability of affordable housing is vital for anyone to access the local labor market and participate in the local economy.
The importance of local politics
One issue that is often underestimated in the general scheme of city-building is the role of local politics. Local politics are not just the topics that dominate the media but rather the very essence of city-building. When doing city-building, one must try and keep in mind that not everyone in your community is the same. There are a variety of opinions that deserve attention and debate. At the same time, there is also a multitude of problems that deserve attention. Often, in designing your city, you’ll be faced with both.
It is for this reason that we find ourselves focusing on the political arena. This means planning for both the central and local political agendas.
How to get involved in your local community
Every citizen has the right to participate in the process of local government. This participation is by choice. Some people want to be part of the process while on the other hand, some prefer to give their mandate to others. These representatives use their mandate to make political decisions in the favor of their voters.
There are multiple ways to get involved in the local community. For example
- Sign up for your local community newsletter
- Join any of the political parties according to one own political ideology
- Get involved in the social activities in the community
- Actively participate in the cultural activities
- Getting more active in the community to solve the community problems
- Keep in touch with the local and national media to be aware of the everyday matters
- Active participation in debates and educational activities
Consequences of neglecting your local government
Since we are currently undergoing the massive urbanization project in which urban sprawl expansion continues to displace people and severely restrict livable land space in most urbanized areas.
According to Statistics Canada, population densities in Canada increased by 11% from 1996 to 2001, and by another 9% from 2001 to 2005. By 2011, many urban centers already exceeded the recommended 25 residents per square kilometer urbanized area.
These trends will have serious implications for Canadians. As a nation, we already have more than 30 cities with populations above 1 million; 30 additional cities are projected to be added to Canada’s map over the next 15 years.
The same increase in population will also create an exponential increase in traffic.
The future of local politics
Local politics is a direct expression of the people who live in the community. And it is up to the local government to act as a liaison between local residents and the outside world, taking care of everything from education and emergency services to agriculture, recreation, and housing. Local governments exist to support and benefit the community, they carry out all the functions people expect from local governments, in the most accessible way, within their capacity and budget.
The role and importance of local government in any of the communities can not be ignored. Our society has gone through a lot of political processes from time to time. Humanity has adopted a lot of uncountable political structures. But the level of development at the local level can only be realized with the local political representation.
A lot of experiments have been done in developed and matured democracies and results are satisfactory enough. According to political scientists, the better form of development can only be seen with the active participation of the community. Because local people are well aware of their problems and they can adapt better strategies to solve them.
Since the role of local government is established now. There is an immense need to facilitate the local community to engage them in the political process. With the success in the mature democracies, this experiment is carried out in the developing countries as well. Governments are actively participating and allocating the funds to strengthen the local government as an institution.
If the international intervention remains at the current pace, the fruits of devolution of power at the local level will ripen soon. More and more countries are adopting this way of governance at the local level. The strengthening of grass-root democracy not only helps the locals to identify their problems but also emperors them to solve those according to their own political insight.