'Its strength lies in combining theoretical insights with an impressive range of empirical material. The analysis is subtle and multi-layered...This is a timely and important book' - Political Studies 'Local governance have gained massive attention among scholars and practitioners during the past several years. Peter John's book fills a void in the literature by tracing the historical roots of local governance and by placing his findings in a comparative perspective' - Professor Jon Pierre, University of Gothenburg, Sweden 'Peter John has produced a fascinating and stimulating book in which he assesses current developments in urban politics and local government in Europe and suggests how these changes are leading to different patterns of sub-national territorial politics in the EU today. What he has to say is of important interest to all students of local government; comparative politics and of territorial politics more generally' - Michael Goldsmith, University of Salford 'this book offers a fascinating comparative analysis...themes such as New Public Management, globalisation, regionalism and privatisation will be relevant to numerous courses in government, politics, public administration and public policy' - West European Politics This text provides a comprehensive introduction to local government and urban politics in contemporary Western Europe. It is the first book to map and explain the change in local political systems and to place these in comparative context. The book introduces students to the traditional structures and institutions of local government and shows how these have been transformed in response to increased economic and political competition, new ideas, institutional reform and the Europeanization of public policy. At the book's core is the perceived transition from local government to local governance. The book traces this key development thematically across a wide range of West European states including: Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.