At the center of this investigation is the great modernization
effort of a West German state, Bavaria, in the 1970s and 1980s, by
means of a reform of the smaller units of local government. The
reforms were meant to abolish all autonomous local governments
serving populations of fewer than 3,000, thereby reducing the
number of local governments in Bavaria from more than 7,000 to less
than 2,000. Based on interviews, surveys, and statistical research,
this study chronicles fifteen communities and their challenges,
developments, and social changes from post-1945 up to the present.
While this book explores the decline of the iconic village
community, it also reveals the survival of medieval towns in a
contemporary world, and despite the modern desire for comprehensive
and well-integrated services, there remains a seemingly perennial
appeal of small town and village life.
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