In a cute little analysis, Richard Florida and U of T’s Martin Prosperity Institute have mapped local government fragmentation by American state (see the map above). It is sobering to see that Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas have more local governments than all of Canada (over about 4,000). (It is unclear, however, whether they are including special-purpose local governments in the total, or are only counting general-purpose municipal governments.)
Hardly a month goes by without a report that a particular city is the best place to live, work, invest in, or visit. Rankings and ratings make for an easy news story. Reporting in numerical terms that Vancouver provides a quality of life superior to that of Johannesburg, or that Cleveland is a better place to do business than Paris, satisfies a contemporary appetite for cut-and-dried empirically grounded “facts.” And local media coverage of a city’s changing position in rankings has become a regular event that politicians and public officials dare not ignore.
How good are these rankings? How do they work? Are they well designed? How should they be interpreted by policymakers? This project sought to answer all these questions.
Featured in the Atlantic Cities blog.