Iron River is a community in Michigan's relatively depressed Upper Peninsula. In reality, it is five different cities, villages or townships with a total population of around 10,000 huddled in one relatively compact urbanized area. The depressed economy of this ironmining community led to suggestions that these legal units merge. In this microcosm, there erupted at this time, the same bitter arguments about consolidation which are common when one of America's great cities attempts to annex suburbanites. The smaller suburban units rang with familiar arguments about being swallowed up in a big city, the same arguments one would hear if Chicago proposed to merge with a few of its suburbs. Thus, what appears to most outsiders as one social and economic community, and certainly is so for many purposes important to its residents, is splintered among five governments for what seem logical reasons to local residents. Those logical reasons which reformers too often have regarded as irrelevant or even pathological, are at the heart of the problem of resistance to integration in small as well as large communities. Before we can talk very confidently about the future of any urban complex, we must try to understand why what seems to be a single city to outsiders is viewed so often by inhabitants as a variety of units that require legal separateness.