Why do Canada and the United States govern cities differently?

Taylor, Zack. 2014. “If Different, Then Why? Explaining the Divergent Political Development of Canadian and American Local Governance,” International Journal of Canadian Studies, 49(1), pp. 53–79.

Twenty-five years ago, Goldberg and Mercer argued that differences between Canadian and American cities stemmed from distinct political cultures. Taking an alternative approach, this article surveys the historical development, through a series of critical junctures, of distinct institutional foundations of local government and intergovernmental relations in Canada. These institutional forms—greater reliance on general-purpose local government and more consolidated government in metropolitan areas—were the product of the incremental development of provincial capacities to manage municipal affairs absent in American states and have resulted in the more equitable provision of services and a greater capacity to manage urban economic and environmental change.