“Elimination of Illusions of Urban-rural Governance”, Exploration and Free View,2016 (6): 47-50.
Urban is a complicated artificial environment. To understand the urban governance needs to grasp the nature of urban.From the perspective of public management, urban is the geographic space that gathers most superior public service resources. As early as 2000 years ago, a sage of Ancient Greece said that urban existed for superior life. The reason why urban is able to improve the quality of life isthat the public service in the urban is more facilitated.
Throughurban planning, the municipal government makes some space for public goods to form a superior public service system. Through taxation revenues, the government charges more fees from the citizens and legal persons in those particular space. Such infrastructure and public service construction in particular space is in essence institutional construction. The government provides higher level public service, and the citizens pay more for that.
There are two missions for urban governance. First, provide superior public service system, enhance mutual support, increase attraction to industry and commerce and meet higher requirements for public service. Second, establish sustainable funding mechanism and steadily improve public service system.
Compared with urban, there are fewer and less centralized public services in rural areas. Instead of providingas facilitated or superior public services as those in cities, the mission of rural governance is to set the baseline of public service,making sure the peasants to enjoy the indispensable public services. Basic public service is the right of the citizens as well as the responsibility of the government.
It is necessary for urban-rural governance to distinct basic public service and optional public service and to clarify the scope and standard of basic public service. Currently, the essential issue of urban-rural governance lies in the lack of baseline of basic public service and corresponding intergovernmental responsibility regulation in rural areas, other than the discrepancy of public service between cities and rural areas.
Based on the re-understanding of urban, it is clear that the integration of urban and rural public service is a pseudo-proposition because of the national discrepancy between public service supply in cities and rural areas. Urban-rural governance needs to give consideration to both efficiency and fairness. At the same time when the government meets the requirements of urban citizens for superior and more facilitated public service, it should guarantee the developmentrights of peasants and rural areas. The government should specify the standard of basic public service in rural areas and provide necessary financial support to make sure that the rural citizens enjoy indispensable public services. On the contrary, if the public service resources are allocated equally in urban and rural areas, the resource utilization efficiency will be reduced, which may result in the failure of public governance.
The root of public service improvement in rural areas is to strengthen the institutional construction of equal empowerment, baseline criteria, transfer payment, space planning and deliberative democracy, guarantee the basic public service of both urban and rural citizens, optimize the spatial distribution of basic public service facilities in rural areas,enhance deliberative democracy at the grassroots level, and respect the preferences and choices of local citizens.