Contemporary Local Governance, Wellbeing and Sustainability

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760). This special issue belongs to the section "Contemporary Politics and Society".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 19843

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Law, University of Coimbra, 3004-531 Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: public administration; public policy; statistics; data analysis; social sciences; law special issue information
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Contemporary local public and private organizations co-exist in a delicate environment characterized by continuous change. This change has a potentially high impact on local governance dynamics and exerts pressure on the strategy of local authorities and the achievement of their goals.

Sustainability and wellbeing are key factors for local administrations. They are crucial for the implementation of local governance strategies aimed at improving their performance and at the fulfilment of their mission. One way to look at the subject is to consider that in the context of contemporary local governance, sustainability and wellbeing can be regarded as extensions of quality of living: the orientation of local governments, authorities, administrations, organizations, institutions, and agents toward the citizen while simultaneously obtaining the desired results—efficacy and efficiency.

Academic and scientific literature and recent empirical studies reveal the multifactorial nature of this complex subject. Contemporary local governance is composed of a series of dimensions that include environment; urbanism and housing; accessibility, mobility, and transportation; education; economy; health; cultural identity; happiness with life; diversity; tourism; and security.

This Special Issue will embrace an assortment of papers presenting original, innovative, and scientific contributions to the subject, aiming to answer the following question: how does contemporary local governance relates to and how can it contribute to the improvement of wellbeing and sustainability?

Dr. Pedro Miguel Alves Ribeiro Correia
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • local governance
  • wellbeing
  • sustainability
  • public administration
  • public sector
  • private sector
  • organizational behavior
  • best municipalities to live in
  • local management
  • local government

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 285 KiB  
Article
Best Practices for Municipalities to Promote Online Citizen Participation and Engagement on Facebook: A Narrative Review of the Literature
by Laurence Guillaumie, Lydi-Anne Vezina-Im, Laurence Bourque, Olivier Boiral, David Talbot and Elsie Harb
Soc. Sci. 2024, 13(3), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci13030127 - 22 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1242
Abstract
The objective of this study is to identify the best practices of Facebook use for municipalities looking to communicate and interact with their citizens, with a particular impact for rural municipalities. A narrative review was conducted to identify the scientific and gray literature [...] Read more.
The objective of this study is to identify the best practices of Facebook use for municipalities looking to communicate and interact with their citizens, with a particular impact for rural municipalities. A narrative review was conducted to identify the scientific and gray literature on research databases and Google, respectively. A thematic analysis of the data was conducted to summarize the main strengths, challenges, and recommendations to improve municipalities’ Facebook use. Our results showed many benefits of Facebook use for municipalities and elected officials, such as communicating efficiently with citizens. The main challenge identified was developing an effective communication strategy. Finally, several recommendations were found, such as making Facebook posts that appeal to citizens and promote discussion. These results will be useful in helping municipalities develop an effective Facebook communication strategy to improve online engagement and citizen participation for local governments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Local Governance, Wellbeing and Sustainability)
17 pages, 1627 KiB  
Article
Digital Access to Judicial Services in the Brazilian Amazon: Barriers and Potential
by Beatriz Fruet de Moraes, Fabrício Castagna Lunardi and Pedro Miguel Alves Ribeiro Correia
Soc. Sci. 2024, 13(2), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci13020113 - 10 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2758
Abstract
This study investigates the influence of geographical barriers and the challenges and advantages presented by information and communication technologies on digital governance within the judicial branch in the Brazilian Amazon region. The primary objective is to provide diagnoses and recommendations that can inform [...] Read more.
This study investigates the influence of geographical barriers and the challenges and advantages presented by information and communication technologies on digital governance within the judicial branch in the Brazilian Amazon region. The primary objective is to provide diagnoses and recommendations that can inform the construction of research for the development of policies aimed at enhancing access to judicial services by riverside populations. The methodology initially employed was a comprehensive literature review on digital governance within the judiciary and access to justice for vulnerable groups in a geographical context. Subsequently, a qualitative study was conducted, employing participant observation in the riverside communities of Itapéua and Boca do Una, situated along the Jaurucu River within the Porto de Moz District in the state of Pará. The insights garnered from respondent perceptions and participant observations were synthesized to formulate five key dimensions for digital governance and access to justice within Amazonian communities: (1) one’s experience with justice, (2) access to information, (3) geographical barriers, (4) user-friendliness of technology, and (5) resources and infrastructure supporting technology use. The study concludes that there are compelling indications that tailored digital governance and technology utilization by the judiciary, adapted to regional nuances, can significantly contribute to streamlining access to judicial services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Local Governance, Wellbeing and Sustainability)
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13 pages, 283 KiB  
Article
The Challenges of Artificial Intelligence in Public Administration in the Framework of Smart Cities: Reflections and Legal Issues
by Pedro Miguel Alves Ribeiro Correia, Ricardo Lopes Dinis Pedro, Ireneu de Oliveira Mendes and Alexandre D. C. S. Serra
Soc. Sci. 2024, 13(2), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci13020075 - 24 Jan 2024
Viewed by 2352
Abstract
In the last decade, artificial intelligence has generated several challenges in societies, with a special focus on public administration. Through the development of this literature review, we intend to underline the challenges that this has caused in the realm of public affairs, especially [...] Read more.
In the last decade, artificial intelligence has generated several challenges in societies, with a special focus on public administration. Through the development of this literature review, we intend to underline the challenges that this has caused in the realm of public affairs, especially in terms of the smart cities framework, considering the legal perspective that is intrinsically associated with it. In this way, we based our research on a wide range of articles, from which we considered those with the greatest relevance and the highest number of citations in order to substantiate this theme in a more precise way. Finally, we present a set of conclusions, as well as opportunities for future investigations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Local Governance, Wellbeing and Sustainability)
21 pages, 1114 KiB  
Article
Trust, Corruption, and Tax Compliance in Fragile States: On a Quest for Transforming Africa into Future Global Powerhouse
by Hafte Gebreselassie Gebrihet, Yibrah Hagos Gebresilassie and Gabriel Temesgen Woldu
Soc. Sci. 2024, 13(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci13010003 - 19 Dec 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1669
Abstract
This study explores the complex relationship between trust, corruption, and tax compliance in fragile states. It examines factors influencing public trust in three government branches: the ruling party (a proxy for the executive), the parliament, and the local government, and examines whether trust [...] Read more.
This study explores the complex relationship between trust, corruption, and tax compliance in fragile states. It examines factors influencing public trust in three government branches: the ruling party (a proxy for the executive), the parliament, and the local government, and examines whether trust in these arms of government impacts tax compliance. We conducted this investigation using Afrobarometer survey data from Guinea, Mali, Sudan, and Zimbabwe as case studies. The study found that restoring public trust and promoting tax compliance are tangible outcomes arising from a steadfast commitment to electoral integrity, transparency, and accountability. This interplay becomes more vital within the framework of state fragility, where institutions are highly strained. The study highlighted that the existence of rampant corruption reduces trust in the ruling party, parliament, and local government council. Furthermore, the joint interaction between corruption and lack of trust significantly undermines the willingness of taxpayers to adhere to tax administration laws. These insights emphasise that combating corruption becomes not only a governance step but also vital to state stability. Thus, African governments should prioritise electoral integrity and combat corruption through enhanced accountability to pave the way for improved governance, enhanced trust, and a more stable path toward a global powerhouse. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Local Governance, Wellbeing and Sustainability)
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21 pages, 2516 KiB  
Article
A Quantitative Study on the Factors Influencing Implementation of Cybersecurity Laws and Regulations in Pakistan
by Syed Asad Abbas Bokhari
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(11), 629; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12110629 - 10 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2387
Abstract
The phenomenon of law implementation has received limited attention, despite the clear evidence that it is influenced by various factors prevalent in the country, and these factors can have an impact on and obstruct the effective implementation of legislation. The primary objective of [...] Read more.
The phenomenon of law implementation has received limited attention, despite the clear evidence that it is influenced by various factors prevalent in the country, and these factors can have an impact on and obstruct the effective implementation of legislation. The primary objective of this study was to analyze the critical factors that impact the implementation of cybersecurity laws in developing nations, such as Pakistan. The prevalence of corruption, a major hindrance to the implementation of cybersecurity laws and regulations, emerged as the most influential factor in Pakistan. Additionally, factors such as discrimination, illicit conduct, expertise, ambiguity, and public confidence significantly influenced the implementation of cybersecurity laws in Pakistan. A survey was conducted among managers from banking and IT firms to collect data samples on the factors that could potentially impact the implementation of the law. The findings from a sample of 172 respondents revealed that corruption, discrimination, illicit conduct, and ambiguity appeared to have a significant negative influence on cybersecurity law implementation, whereas expertise and public confidence emerged to have a significant positive influence on the implementation of cybersecurity laws in Pakistan. This study suggests that the government of Pakistan should consider various measures such as providing training, improving capacity building, fostering institutional cooperation, strengthening legislative conviction, and promoting global collaborations to enhance the implementation of cybersecurity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Local Governance, Wellbeing and Sustainability)
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33 pages, 5709 KiB  
Article
The Tick Issue as a Reflection of Society–Nature Relations: Localized Perspectives, Health Issues and Personal Responsibility—A Multi-Actor Sociological Survey in a Rural Region (The Argonne Region, France)
by Philippe Hamman and Aude Dziebowski
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(11), 591; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12110591 - 26 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1181
Abstract
Ticks are acarids that can transmit diseases, such as Lyme borreliosis, to human beings. They have often been considered from an ecological perspective (the environments in which they live) or from a medical one (diagnosis and treatment), while relational approaches to human–tick encounters [...] Read more.
Ticks are acarids that can transmit diseases, such as Lyme borreliosis, to human beings. They have often been considered from an ecological perspective (the environments in which they live) or from a medical one (diagnosis and treatment), while relational approaches to human–tick encounters that integrate the social sciences have remained less common. This article opts for a socio-territorial approach and a cross-analysis of different groups of actors faced with tick risk in a rural environment during their professional or leisure activities: foresters, farmers, hunters, environmentalists and hikers. The paper is based on observations and about thirty sociological interviews conducted in 2021–2022 in the rural Argonne region (France). The survey reveals the interconnection and tension between three types of approach to tick-related issues, i.e., a localized approach (based on a knowledge of place as well as everyday uses), a health-centered approach (medical knowledge as transformed and shaped by the respondents’ own experiences of tick-borne disease) and an emphasis on taking personal responsibility instead of collective preventive health initiatives or awareness campaigns (as to the location of “tick areas” or of protective measures). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Local Governance, Wellbeing and Sustainability)
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17 pages, 321 KiB  
Article
Local Governments Facing Turbulence: Robust Governance and Institutional Capacities
by Miquel Salvador and David Sancho
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(8), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12080462 - 19 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1612
Abstract
Crisis environments, which are becoming systemic, pose significant challenges to local governments. The present study sought to present an academic contribution by introducing an analytical framework designed to scrutinize the institutional capabilities of local governance bodies in effectively responding to the emergent structural [...] Read more.
Crisis environments, which are becoming systemic, pose significant challenges to local governments. The present study sought to present an academic contribution by introducing an analytical framework designed to scrutinize the institutional capabilities of local governance bodies in effectively responding to the emergent structural nature of crises within contemporary contexts. The study centered its attention on the concept of robust governance and accentuated a collection of factors that facilitate proficient public administration: contingency planning capacity, analytical capacity, organizational management capacity, and collaborative capacity. The paper presented a broad analysis of academic literature on the subject and it defined an analytical model for assessing local government capacities to deal with crises. One of the achievements of this work was the identification of key indicators that elucidate the institutional capabilities of local government bodies in addressing crisis environments. Through the examination of these indicators, the suggested analytical framework offers a comprehensive methodology for evaluating the readiness of municipal authorities in dealing with crisis situations. Furthermore, it enables comparative analysis of local government systems in analogous contexts, facilitating the identification of exemplary strategies for enhancing crisis management. The analytical model needs to be validated in further empirical studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Local Governance, Wellbeing and Sustainability)
14 pages, 2150 KiB  
Article
The Inner Functioning of Local Governance Networks in Centralized Countries: A ‘Brave New World’?
by Patrícia Silva, Luís F. Mota, Raúl Carneiro, Raquel Valentim and Filipe Teles
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(5), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12050289 - 8 May 2023
Viewed by 1902
Abstract
Local governance networks are increasingly seen as the big idea to cope with issues that are complex enough in scope and scale to require a diversity of expertise and resources. While conventional narrative has posited that local networks are optimal for addressing a [...] Read more.
Local governance networks are increasingly seen as the big idea to cope with issues that are complex enough in scope and scale to require a diversity of expertise and resources. While conventional narrative has posited that local networks are optimal for addressing a range of policy problems, and enhancing democratic participation, scarce attention has been devoted to understanding their inner working. A relevant gap in the literature pertains to the impact of central government intervention in igniting such arrangements on the diversity of actors, the intensity of interactions among actors, or their coordination practices. Such assessment is particularly relevant in centralized contexts. This article seeks to map and characterize the inner working of local networks in such a context—Portugal. The empirical analysis highlights the crucial role of central government in igniting local networks and in ensuring higher levels of formal intensity of collaboration to reduce transaction costs. Keeping such arrangements under the radar of central government, however, may curtail the diversity of actors, policy areas, and curb stakeholders’ commitment in local governance arrangements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Local Governance, Wellbeing and Sustainability)
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14 pages, 3319 KiB  
Article
Public Trust in the Time of Pandemic: An Analysis of Social Networks in the Discourse of Large-Scale Social Restrictions in Indonesia
by Caroline Paskarina
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(3), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12030186 - 18 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1614
Abstract
This article discusses public trust in the Indonesian government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, explicitly focusing on the discourse surrounding large-scale social restrictions (LSSR). In a time of uncertainty, the public requires timely and actual information, most of which is gathered through online [...] Read more.
This article discusses public trust in the Indonesian government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, explicitly focusing on the discourse surrounding large-scale social restrictions (LSSR). In a time of uncertainty, the public requires timely and actual information, most of which is gathered through online media, with Twitter being one such medium. This article applies social network analysis to examine how information about the restrictions is shared and discussed on social media platforms and how this discourse may impact public trust in government institutions in the first phase of pandemic handling. Although LSSR is the government’s policy, this study shows that the interpersonal network plays a more significant part in distributing information, indicating a legitimacy crisis of formal and authoritative sources of information. The negative sentiment voiced by critics did not show public rejection of the implementation of LSSR. On the contrary, what was implied by those critics was public doubt against the consistency and firmness of LSSR implementation—because of this, restoring public trust requires planned information management to communicate risks to those who are affected by LSSR implementation, as well as managing negative sentiments that arise as a response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Local Governance, Wellbeing and Sustainability)
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Review

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15 pages, 362 KiB  
Review
Advancing Sustainable Bio-Waste Management through Law and Policy: How Co-Creation Can Help Pursue Fair Environmental Public Policies in the European Context
by Ireneu Mendes, Pedro Rocha and Alexandra Aragão
Soc. Sci. 2023, 12(10), 572; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci12100572 - 12 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1532
Abstract
Alongside production and consumption, bio-waste management is central to the food systems debate. To achieve sustainable food systems—an essential component of the Sustainable Development Goals and the world they envision—public authorities must address the shortage of current bio-waste-management policies and strive towards a [...] Read more.
Alongside production and consumption, bio-waste management is central to the food systems debate. To achieve sustainable food systems—an essential component of the Sustainable Development Goals and the world they envision—public authorities must address the shortage of current bio-waste-management policies and strive towards a new paradigm of bio-waste management, where environmental justice primarily informs policy design and decision making. In order to achieve fair environmental policies, particularly in the context of food systems and bio-waste management, it is essential to understand what drives public policy in these matters. In the present review, we seek to contribute by closing a gap in the literature by proposing a set of bio-waste-management drivers in the European context. Moreover, we focus on the “policy and legislation” driver, hoping to examine its main components and understand both their limitations and the opportunities they provide. Finally, we explore the role that co-creation can play as a facilitator of a public-governance paradigm that promotes sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Contemporary Local Governance, Wellbeing and Sustainability)
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