Planning for Public Health

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Ohio State Law Journal

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The creation and annexation of cities is an intentional act of politicians that can form man-made enclaves comprised of homogenous socioeconomic groups. Concentrating resources concentrates power, resulting in a trajectory to upward mobility that is steeper for some than others. While localism is touted as a government theory that gives the power to the people in order to ensure a tailored living experience, the ability of a city to draw its own boundaries to ensure that the beneficiaries of the tax base are those in power strips power from marginalized populations that live outside of these artificial barriers. A reverberating effect of local statutes that permit cities to be created with ease and with minimal oversight is the public health crisis that often results from a lack of public service, strained police/community relations, and a dearth of optimal public education and employment opportunities. This Article examines the theories and processes cities adhere to when constructing laws that govern the annexation and creation of cities, and examines the public health implications of such processes and theories. Despite critiques of a purely localist approach, this Article recognizes solutions at the federal level are quickly diminishing.
Although the conclusion sets forth a state-level compromise, the danger of this approach is also explored given recent public health emergencies that have resulted in cities, such as Flint, Michigan, due to state power. The problem has no simple solution, however. The refusal of municipalities to acknowledge that there is a problem with socioeconomic and racial segregation through seemingly objective city planning methods is the central issue that should, at a minimum, be acknowledged by those elected to represent their constituents.


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Recommended Citation

Courtney L. Anderson, Planning for Public Health, 79 Ohio St. L. J. 619 (2018).



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