PoliSci1020E February 29, 2012
Guest Speaker: Professor Andrew Sancton
City Boundaries: How they come to be, where they are, and why they matter.
Municipalities have their own legal origins. They do not fall into the category of
government headed by the Queen/Monarch. Unlike provincial and federal governments,
they are founded on the basis of corporations in 11 and 12 Century Britain. (E.g.
Similar to the Hudson’s Bay Company, but on a smaller scale.)
Established through the passing of Charters.
The BNA Act of 1867 declared that municipalities were under the jurisdiction of the
provinces (still are to this day).
Some municipalities in fact, to this day, refer to themselves as corporations (e.g.
Corporation of the City of London). This is because they function as corporations, even
though they are necessary for a successful city (needed for urban services such as: water,
police, hydro, fire rescue, etc.).
Boundaries in General
We tend to assume (and rightly so), that boundaries are static. However, it is important
to remember that boundaries are changeable and contestable.
People don’t like to touch boundaries because it is an extremely touchy and difficult issue
See Sancton’s book The Limits of Boundaries.
Cities are becoming so important that their constitutional statuses should be changed, so
that they can be more self-governing.
City boundaries are difficult to chart because they are constantly expanding.
The Death and Life of Great American Cities by influential writer, Jane Jacobs.
o Argues that cities are more important and impactful than provincial nation states.
o Didn’t pay attention to boundaries and specified government jurisdiction.
o Vouched for a currency unique to each city.
o Saw Singapore as an ideal municipality – it is a city that is its own country.
o Liked small