One of the most significant innovations to take place in local government in the 1980s has been the introduction of microcomputers and associated software across a wide spectrum of municipal functions. Use of computers in local government is not a new phenomenon---a decade ago one in five municipalities in Australia owned a computer and a further one in five utilized a computer bureau service (Davis and Walker 1980). At that time, however, computing was a 'central' mainframe-based facility functionally linked to a limited array of financial-administrative activities and accessible to only a small elite within the EDP session. We now have a clear break with this earlier pattern. Microcomputers are being introduced at 'departmental' levels enabling practitioners to use a growing range of analytical packages. Therein lies the raison d'être of this book. Two principal factors have accounted for the diffusion of this innovation into local government, namely technology push (i.e. the opportunities provided by new technology to solve a range of existing local area problems) and market need (whereby practitioner needs are made known within the marketplace and new technology, either products or processes, are devised in response; Voss 1984).
Microcomputers for local government planning and management / Peter W. Newton and Michael A. P. Taylor (eds.),