For Release Saturday, November 19, 2011
It’s as obvious as the air we breathe, as basic as the fluid geography of a watershed, as clear as the connection between a new highway and the strip shopping centers and subdivisions that cluster nearby.
But then again, the air flowing over city limits and state lines is invisible. And most people don’t stop to think that what goes down the kitchen sink or runs off a muddy construction site eventually flows into rivers or lakes and sometimes into other people’s drinking water supply. Even the idea that road building shapes how we live, work and shop is a foreign concept to most people.
In other words despite city limits, voting districts and state lines on maps, in the real world of air and water, of urban transportation and economies, city regions function in ways our American political systems may not recognize. Although environments, economies and living patterns create very real urban regions, those geographic areas don’t exist in the basic structure of the government of the United STATES. Under the Constitution, states have powers; cities don’t.