1.3.1 General aspects of municipal policy

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Austria consists of 2.357 communities [Gemeinden], about 1.400 of which are rural. As a community, Vienna, the capital of Austria with about 1,7 million people, is an exception. With its periphery, the city comprises an agglomeration of about 2 million people, which is a quarter of the Austrian population. Only 5 other cities have more than 100.000 inhabitants, followed by 13 cities with more than 25.000 inhabitants.

In line with the Austrian Constitution the communities are organised as 'self-administrative bodies' [Selbstverwaltungskörper] which - because of the principle of subsidiarity - gives them the right to govern their own affairs. As a consequence larger municipalities can dispose of autonomous cultural and educational administrations. In smaller communities, though, cultural, educational and social affairs are often concentrated in one department.

Coordination

The interests of communities and cities are coordinated within the framework of the 'Austrian Federation of Communities' [Österreichischer Gemeindebund] and the 'Austrian Conference of Cities' [Österreichischer Städtetag]. Up to 2009 cultural education has not been on the agenda of either