The politics of Innovation
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This is a chronological narrative of the events that led to the Unicity scheme coming to fruition. It reviews the history of local government in the Greater Winnipeg region, focusing especially on the creation of the Metropolitan (Metro) government in 1960, the conflicts that emerged between Metro and the City of Winnipeg, and the various attempts at (and studies of) municipal reform leading up to the provincial government’s Unicity proposal. Finally, it outlines the political process that occurred at the local and provincial level, which led to the proposal and the adoption of Bill 36, the Unicity Act, in 1972. Local political culture and popular attitudes toward municipal government are examined in this narrative. The paper also examines how Unicity relates more broadly to the issue of reform and change in government institutions, looking at the history of urban reform in British and North American cities, and the theories of reform and innovation in urban governance. It utilizes a systems approach to looking at politics and urban change: social, economic, and political factors, and how movements for change in municipal governance are initiated, emerge, and adopted.