Slovenia has only one tier of sub-national government, that is, municipalities. Currently, there are 212 municipalities, and they exhibit the same responsibilities they need to provide to their residents, regardless of their size, and these differences in size are even in the range 1:100. The new national strategy for the development of local self-government has, therefore, stressed the necessity to promote cooperation among municipalities and even potential mergers, not just to ensure cost-effectiveness but also to increase the capacity of municipalities to perform various developmental tasks. Consequently, the aim of the article is to analyse the evolution and factors driving inter-municipal cooperation and municipal mergers, where Slovenia is taken as an example, and case study approach is used in this manner. The results of the analysis indicate that territorial fragmentation at the local level has been accompanied by the increase in the inter-municipal cooperation, although some time lag can be observed. Moreover, the increase in the cooperation can be observed in particular with the onset of economic slowdown and fiscal stress emergence. The results also portray that substantial territorial rescaling cannot be expected in the near future, as suggested by the analysis of driving factors that should contribute to this process, as well as by rather weak ability of central government to promote the process. Consequently, from the practical perspective, we might expect larger role of more in-depth trans-scaling strategies as a mechanism to overcome the problem of sub-optimal size of municipalities in Slovenia.
Research purpose. Various city labels have become increasingly popular both in literature as well as in urban policy-making. It has become relatively common that cities make a proclamation that they either are or would at least like to become, smart, sustainable, digital, creative, intelligent among other things. These proclamations have become popular for the purpose of solving complex urban problems, electoral gains at the local level, and also for marketing reasons. Nevertheless, those city labels often have a blurry line, in terms of what each label represents and should stand for. It is evident that utilising appropriate city categories and labels has become a rather complex issue. Consequently, this paper would like to investigate this issue. The paper questions the dynamics how different city labels were used throughout the time and to which academic fields are specific city labels related to.
Design / Methodology / Approach. We would like to investigate the dynamics how different city labels were used throughout time and which academic fields are specifically related to labels most frequently. For this purpose, we will focus on the content analysis of topics and titles within the Web of Science Core Collection database.
Findings. The evidence suggests that the labelling depends also on the time span we are scrutinising and also on the scientific field the literature being related to. Some city labels have become popular just recently, and their appearance in specific academic fields is the differentiator. For instance, the label ‘smart city’ is currently the most important label. But it has become popular only several years ago, and this label appears most frequently in the ‘technical’ literature. The research indicates that city labelling is a rather dynamic process, since some labels are gaining and other labels are losing their popularity in time.
Originality / Value / Practical implications. The debate exists in the literature on the suitability of different city labels and terminology utilised. Some labels derive from top-down perspective, others derive from bottom-up perspective, some labels are more holistic than others, some are politically more acceptable than others, etc. Simultaneously, those city labels are often used interchangeably and sometimes they overlap. This paper would like to contribute to the scientific literature by providing additional evidence and explanations on the utilisation of particular city labels.