Big changes are on the horizon for EVE Online in the Dominion expansion and beyond. Alliance sprawl in 0.0 security (lawless) space is going to be curbed, in favor of a new paradigm where alliances claim less territory but can derive much greater value from what they hold sovereignty over. This is the focus of a dev blog from EVE Game Designer CCP Chronotis -- "The Streams Must Flow".
Streams in this case refers to EVE's various revenue streams which are going to be altered in the coming months, and how this will affect players in 0.0 alliances. In the past, supporting a large number of players required an alliance to draw upon the resources of many different solar systems, specifically high-bounty pirate NPCs and valuable ores in addition to a very high passive income from rare moon minerals. CCP is adjusting how those rare minerals are used in Tech II production, meaning more common materials will be used, so Dominion will allow alliances to upgrade their controlled space as a means of generating more income.
In some cases upgrading space will have a build cost for this improved infrastructure while other upgrades will require more from the players than a purchase. Activity-based upgrades will require a certain number of pirate NPCs killed or a specific amount of ore mined in that solar system before certain upgrades can be made. Chronotis says that in some cases, "the more the solar system's resources are actively used, the faster your resource development will be."
Some of the resources that alliances will be able to unlock include hidden asteroid belts and exploration content, but CCP Games has other ideas in the works for the future. Chronotis says that more exotic resources may be unlockable in the future, including comets and dark matter.
Ultimately, Chronotis says, the changes "will lead to the formation of micro-communities and diversity of life in each colony in effect and null sec being able to hold many more people which leads to a much more interesting political scene and ensuing drama."