The Fiscal Austerity and Urban Innovation (FAUI) Project

The FAUI Project identifies innovations by local governments around the world, documents their workings, clarifies where and why they are successful, and brings information about them to others world wide. Launched in 1982, the FAUI Project has become the most extensive study of local government in the world. It includes surveys of mayors, council members, and administrators in about 1,400 U.S. municipalities and detailed case studies of unusual innovations; related activities are underway in 38 other countries, from West and East Europe, to Korea, Japan, and Argentina. Our secret is not massive central funding, but decentralization; some $20 million was raised by separate teams following a common research design. Over 700 persons have participated--social scientists, policy advisors, local officials. We meet about three times a year in conferences, which often generate books; 50 books and over 300 articles have been published to date (listed in FAUI Newsletters, esp. #27). Participants communicate continuously by email and the FAUINET, fax, phone, Newsletters, short trips, and longer internships. Overlapping projects cover broad regions: Asia, Latin America, Western, and Eastern Europe. Key activities are listed in Clark and Hoffmann-Martinot, The New Political Culture (1998: 168ff.), Project Newsletters, and  the FAUINET. Many survey and official data are now available for up to 10,000 local governments over the internet, at no charge to researchers.