The Future of Municipal Incorporation in the USA

  • Russell M. SmithEmail author
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


New municipalities will continue to be established in the USA, but at a decreasing rate based on trends identified over the last half century. Municipal incorporation theory must acknowledge the presence of additional factors influencing incorporation activity. Stimuli, state laws, people, and geography all play a role in determining municipal incorporation outcomes. Additionally, the development of a NIM Typology can aid in the exploration of new cities, towns, and villages across the nation. The creation of new municipalities put two competing thoughts in direct conflict: local control vs. regional efficiency. Proponents of new municipalities showcase these new local government entities as the penultimate expression of democracy, self-determination, and localized control over government and governance. However, opponents will highlight the numerous issues raised by the further fragmentation of already balkanized urban and political landscapes, which leads to duplication of services, competition for limited resources, and declining efficiencies. Opponents will also point out the existence of other forms of boundary change that can take the place of municipal incorporation including annexation, special districts, and mergers/consolidations, which all offer alternatives to municipal incorporation proceedings. In the end, state laws will continue to influence patterns of municipal incorporation and the types of new cities that emerge from local government boundary change events.


Annexation Consolidation/merger Local control NIM Typology Regional efficiency Secession Theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.History, Politics and Social JusticeWinston-Salem State UniversityWinston-SalemUSA

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