I did not see this when I searched. . I see the developers are considering what to do. I agree with you, you can really upset people if you let them be assimilated without any consideration. Maybe if two builds with prestige of at least 10,000 each do meet, then maybe an option in the beacon belonging to the Mayor could say, merge with (name of other build) yes or no. Each build would have to agree just like becoming friends.
If the prestige is under 10,000 should that also require an option? The reason for my question is if there is just a beacon and a workbench, should that person also have the option? what if it is abandoned like so many are and in the way of a town expanding? I would say under 10,000 prestige you do get absorbed, but that is just my opinion.