Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Guest Post: Redrawing the States

Matt Yglesias had an interesting post over the weekend about the Tappan Zee Bridge. What I found most interesting was this part at the end:
The fact that metropolitan areas in the northeastern United States are often divided among more than one state tends to complicate regional planning in an unfortunate way.
He's right, but I think the problem exists outside of the northeastern United States. Throughout history humans have been better at moving resources over water then over land. As a result we have tended to settle and build cities on rivers and in bays. In the US we also used rivers to help divide up the States. This left us with a number of cities that have suburbs in 2 or 3 different states. Many are in the Northeast (New York, DC, Philadelphia). But they also exist in the midwest (Cincinnati, St. Louis, Kansas City).

I don't know enough about countries in Europe but I imagine that the problem exists there as well, but they might not have the same complex federalism problems. Canada is really big and there are only a few major cities so its not really an issue. Heres a cool map showing the US divided by population:




7 comments:

  1. It's less of a problem in Europe. One would figure it's because a lot of the nations (think Germany, Italy) used to be made up of independent city-states and principalities, which naturally included the city itself and a reasonable area of influence around the city. Also, I suspect it helps they had a dozen centuries or so during which they could fix poorly functioning borders by redrawing them... with an army.

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  2. Here's a cool map of what the united states would look like if zeppelin-based air pirates ruled the skies:

    http://imgur.com/fKf1u

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  3. This is what happens when let Benevolent Social Planners draw your borders! Free market wins again.

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  4. Maine, New Brunswickians make surprisingly industrious air pirates, apparently.

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  5. I like how Chicago apparently tried to conquer Canada but then settled with Sault Ste. Marie

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  6. fwiw http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimson_Skies

    the name of the lead character from the video games is Nathan Zachary. I always thought that was cool.

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  7. Tappan Zee Bridge reminds me of Slappa Da Bass

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