For years, people have talked about a phenomenon called “suburban sprawl” – what happens when cities tend to blend into each other along a stretch of road, making it difficult (if not impossible) to tell when you have passed into a bordering community. This is often said of the Chicago to Milwaukee corridor – both large cities seem to have become one huge metropolis. Drive around the Phoenix area and you’ll get the same sensation as well (are we in Chandler or Tempe or Gilbert?)
Well, with city budgets being so lean nowadays, one wonders if communities will start partnering even more to provide services such as public safety, water, street maintenance, etc. Sure, this is already going on out there (particularly when a small city can’t afford its own public safety or water departments), but I think we’re going to start seeing it spread like wildfire (pardon the pun).
Beyond this “sharing” of resources, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see some cities (and counties) merge together entirely – creating mega-cities or huge regional entities. It’s already happened in places like Louisville, Kentucky. Their “Metro Council” – which resulted from a 2003 merger with Jefferson County, Ky. – contains a total of 26 districts and 26 elected representatives.
What do you think of the “super sizing” of cities in the United States? Is it a good response to budget constraints, or are communities creating unnecessary bureaucracies that will make consensus difficult?