London is a crucial site in the struggle for better local politics, because it is a city in which many people have been let down by the failures of traditional economic development. The traditional models are struggling to deliver social and economic outcomes that meet the needs of people and places. Some London boroughs – Islington, Hackneyand Camden – are, in different ways, enacting policies and approaches that may contribute to the growth of a new municipalist movement in the UK returning power to people and forging new ways of delivering social and economic justice in their communities.
However, despite the deep civic and social activist roots to new municipalism, it is evident that existing local government can take important steps to help support and precipitate a societal shift. Local authorities are at different stages in this process and there is political contestation and debate about the route.
Photo: Petri Heiskanen