City Eco Unit

Last year I wrote a post called Province of Toronto, where I briefly talked about the outdated nature of how cities are organized and governed in Canada. I was effectively arguing that, in today’s global economy, our dominate economic unit needs to be the city—not the province. 

This isn’t something that gets talked about a lot, but I feel strongly that we should be looking at it. We’re unnecessarily crippling the economic, social, and cultural potential of our cities because we, to put it bluntly, haven’t gotten around to reorganizing our governance structure.

Well, this evening, I happened to stumble upon a great post by The Urbanophile called, Are States an Anachronism? In it, he cites a book by Richard Longworth called Caught in the Middle (that is now on my Clear reading list), which argues that states, as an economic unit in the US, are not only outdated, but hugely detrimental to the economy.

More specifically, he outlines the following concerns (taken directly from The Urbanophile blog):

  1. States do not represent communities of interest.
  2. Arbitrary state lines encourage senseless border wars.
  3. Many state capitals are small, isolated, and cut off from knowledge about the global 21st century economy.
  4. Metro areas are the engines of the modern economy, but the rules for municipal and regional governance are set by states, and often in a manner that is directly contrary to urban interests.
  5. States can’t to much to help, but they can do a lot to hurt.

For a complete explanation of each of the above points, I would encourage you to check out the full blog post, here. As I said before, this isn’t a topic that’s top of mind for most people. But it’s an important one. Our global competitiveness is at stake.

Photo Credit: One Urban Economic Unit/shutterstock