Suburbs without a City

“The case highlights the power dimension of city-county consolidation, often overlooked by advocates of public choice as well as those favoring metropolitan consolidation.”

City-county consolidation is advanced as a good government reform to promote efficiency, equity, and accountability and, more recently, to reduce growing disparities between central cities and suburbs. Whether these objectives are realized is more doubtful than the fact that local reorganization embodies a real change in power relations. Altering boundaries changes the kinds of issues that are relevant to decision makers as well as the relative power of different populations. The authors analyze the recent city-county consolidation of Louisville and Jefferson County, Kentucky. The authors review how this came about and then focus on three critical realignments associated with merging the city and its surrounding county. These consist of shifts in territorial boundaries, management reforms, and political rules.

Published in Urban Affairs Review | H. Savitch | 2004