Tuesday, August 19, 2008

City Expansion

Though this editorial appears not to agree with the folks who are considering expansion of their city boundaries, the essential concept of expanding spheres of influence is one that has been traditionally used by municipal governing entities to plan for the future, and as such it is a wise strategy to employ.

The concentration on the central core of cities as the hub of business, also mentioned by the editorial as the concept that should drive public planning, is no longer the idea driving the reality of business location and municipal growth, which is occurring much more in the suburban rings, or as William Bogart, the author of Don’t Call it Sprawl: Metropolitan Structure in the Twenty-First Century, notes:

“The dominant intellectual approach to describing cities during the twentieth century was the monocentric city model. In a monocentric city, all commercial and industrial activity takes place in the central business district, while the rest of the city consists of residential areas. This description was reasonably accurate as recently as 1950 in most cities…

“Even by 1960 observers such as Jane Jacobs and Jean Gottman had discerned a new structure for metropolitan areas, although popular interpreters of their work have neglected this insight. This new structure was called the polycentric city, in recognition of the multiple centers of economic activity that now comprised the metropolitan area. While some people have recognized this change for more than forty years, it still has surprisingly little impact on the design of public policy…Local governments and private individuals devote great resources to reverse the exodus of businesses from the downtown. Some of this activity is appropriate, but much of it has an impact resembling that of King Canute’s orders to the tide.” (p. 9)