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Friday, March 21 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
FR-PS3 [POSTER] Commandeering Suburbia: Should Shrinking Cities Annex Their Neighbors?

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As suburbanization has lead to cities “hollowing” out over the past several decades, cities have undergone significant fiscal strife as the number of taxpayers has substantially decreased. As suburbs flourish, the urban core may go into decline; as these suburbs are able to derive benefits from the central city — such as stadiums, museums, and transit – without directly contributing to the public subsidies that these institutions need to survive; while also imposing negative externalities of traffic and pollution onto the cities. For these reasons, strong public interest in mergers, such as annexation and city-county consolidation, has recently returned after a forty-year hiatus. Milwaukee and Indianapolis performed mergers in the 1960s; Louisville and Kansas City (Kansas) recently underwent mergers in the early 2000s; while Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are now currently exploring the option. Many others, including St. Louis and Chattanooga, start the process and fail to complete it, usually because voters reject it at referendum. This poster will display information on these eight rust belt cities, all chosen for geographic proximity and other similarities. This poster will also graphically represent and compare the changes in total population, inner-core population, economic development, and property values over the past fifty years to see if annexation made a difference, with attempts to solve the questions: What are the common characteristics, as well as the mitigating factors, that make merger efforts succeed or fail? Why do the benefits materialize or not? Most importantly, can this strategy be successfully used to turn around shrinking cities?


Austin Zwick

University of Toronto

Friday March 21, 2014 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Navarro Ballroom (Westin 2nd Floor)