The article seeks to explain the factors preventing the emergence of a broader city-regional view in land-use policy, in a Finnish urban region fragmented institutionally by several municipalities that have high independence in determining their own land-use policies. The ongoing municipal reform by the Finnish government acknowledges the importance of urban regions in global competitiveness and economic livelihood, and thus it encourages municipalities in urban regions to merge, in order to avoid their counterproductive mutual competition over investments and residents, and related municipal tax income. However, such pressure by the central government has often resulted in evasive manoeuvres and superficial city-regional rhetoric at the level of local governments, with a hidden motivation of maintaining the status quo of inter-municipal competition. As a theoretical framework to explain this phenomenon, the theoretical insights on path dependence and defensive routines are combined. Regarding empirical material, the article focuses on the case of Ristikytö in the intersection between three municipalities in Central Uusimaa, 35 km north of Helsinki.