Networks of Local Governments: Examining Community Conferences as Mechanisms for Achieving Interlocal Cooperation

Kelly LeRoux, University of Kansas

Document Type Article

This paper was presented at the Creating Collaborative Communities Conference held at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, October 31-November 1, 2005.


This paper examines community conferences, a type of voluntary association of local governments to determine the effectiveness of these organizations in brokering several types of regional cooperation including service-sharing arrangements. Network analysis is used to model patterns of service arrangements among eighteen urban communities to examine the link between service sharing and their affiliation through the community conference. Findings suggest that community conferences are effective in providing some forms of unduplicated services, particularly social welfare functions, and for achieving regional political representation. However, they are less effective mechanisms for coordinating and integrating municipal services.