Taking Back Our Public Services


After decades of neoliberal privatization of public services, some cities have started to them back under municipal control. A new motion design documentary shows examples of cities reversing water privatization to regain public control. The video below explores water 'remunicipalisation' in Buenos Aires and Paris, looking at the challenges and benefits of reclaiming public water.

The video is made as part of the municipal services projecta research project that explores alternatives to the privatization and commercialization of service provision in electricity, health, water and sanitation. They have recently published a book on remunicipalizaton of water services around the world. As the abstract of the book reads:

Cities worldwide are experiencing the failures of water privatisation. Unequal access, broken promises, environmental hazards and scandalous profit margins are prompting municipalities to take back control of this essential service. Water ‘remunicipalisation’ is a new, exciting trend that this book explores at length. Case studies analyse the transition from private to public water provision in Paris, Dar es Salaam, Buenos Aires and Hamilton, as well as look at a national level experiment in Malaysia. The journey toward better public water illustrates the benefits and challenges of municipal ownership, while at the same time underlining the stranglehold of international financial institutions and the legacies of corporate control. The book situates these developments within larger debates about ‘alternatives to privatisation’ and draws lessons from these experiences for future action in favour of public services.