Have a look at the Beeston, Nottinghamshire thread. I dare someone to find one utility pole in any of those photos.
In much of the United States, especially western states, most utilities are underground in urban areas,. Here in Cleveland and its suburbs, though, it's definitely not the case. EVERYTHING -- electricity, telephone and cable television -- is overhead, even in very prestigous communities like Shaker Heights. If you're lucky, the lines will follow rear property lines, but that's normally not the case. Nothing is buried anywhere, except downtown, university campuses, and the newest subdivisions.
Municipalities around here tend to have very strict sign regulations, though - maybe it's to offset the wires everywhere.
Here's the Coventry neighborhood in Cleveland Heights.
Here's Little Italy in Cleveland.
... and oh-so-quaint-and-preppy-OMG-Bill-Watterson-lives-here-somewhere Chagrin Falls.
Let's compare that to another Rust Belt city. Here's Hertel Avenue in Buffalo.
or the hip Elmwood Vilalge area
or the blue-collar Kaiserttown area
Buffalo isn't cluttered with overhead utilities to the extent that Cleveland is, but in a few neighborhoods there will be lines in the front, along the right-of-way. Massive transmission lines and their tall supporting towers are common in outlying areas, though, thanks to the presence of Niagara Falls and its power plants.
By the way, like Cleveland, Buffalo doesn't have alleys.
I noticed that overhead utilities are very common in Toronto. I don't know what it's like in that city's suburbs. In any case, it's not as bad as Cleveland.
Two items of discussion:
1) Why are there so few underground wired utilities in the Cleveland area? "Because it's cheaper" is not an acceptable answer, sicne undergrounding is common in the rest of the country.
2) Are overhead utilities common where you are?