Expensive fuel drives rethinking of community -- photo by Corey McKenna

By some reports, the cost of gasoline knows no limits. With China consuming ever more fuel to support a rapid-growing economy, a declining dollar and the constant threat of turmoil in the world, we will only see costs escalating.

Some families are driving less, or trading in their SUVs or gas-guzzlers for something more efficient, and some are moving to be closer to their work. Maybe now we will start thinking differently about our cities, indeed our region, and the urgent need to redefine our community.

For decades, urban affairs columnist and author Neal Peirce has trumpeted the underappreciated importance of "citistates," which he defines as "one or more historic central cities surrounded by cities and towns which have a shared identification, function as a single zone for trade, commerce and communication, and are characterized by social, economic and environmental interdependence."

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