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AccraGhana
Apr 10, 2007, 10:32 PM
Someone mentioned how arbitrary numbers are for metro areas and I tend to agree. The method used to start and stop counting people as part of a metro or consolidated metro area is probable the worst method except for all others. It’s a metric that leaves much to be desired as older Northern Metro areas are not that comparable to many Sun Belt metro areas.

The fact that people are willing to drive 60 miles from their home to downtown Atlanta makes them part of metropolitan Atlanta. However, on the other hand, because not enough people who live 60 miles from downtown Detroit are willing or need to drive to central Detroit means that they are not counted as part of Metro Detroit. Thus, you have a case were people live equal distance from their respected core cities; yet, they are included in the metro count of one and excluded from the count of the other.

The majority of the large Northern Metropolitan areas were populated before all the super highways. They have much greater densities than the typical Sun Belt metros, but there are exceptions like Miami and many California Metros. Metro Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and others consume thousands of square miles to produce those high numbers. If you superimposed those same square miles over many Northern Metro areas, you would find that many of these Southern Areas would fall in their population rankings.

For example, the Detroit area is an international area. The Detroit-Windsor Detroit-Windsor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windsor-Detroit) area has a combined population of right around 6 million people and likely covers fewer square miles than Metropolitan Dallas or Houston. Thousands of people cross the border every day going back and forth for work, entertainment, shopping ect. Windsor Ontario is as much a part of Metropolitan Detroit as Fort Worth is party of Metro Dallas. Moreover, if one added Toledo Ohio to metro Detroit, to make the area as large as that of metro Dallas or Houston in square miles, that would make the Detroit area around 6.6 million people.

In light of this, rankings are really meaningless to a large degree. What’s more important are the trends. It’s obvious that the trend is toward warm weather living. Many areas are booming also because of immigration from Mexico and not simply migration. Eventually the issue for me comes down to quality of life.

simms3
Apr 10, 2007, 10:46 PM
Have to disagree, dont have the numbers in front of me, but while several sun belt metros do hog much land, so do northeastern msa's. Boston's stretches from ME to RI or CT. New York's is HUGE as well. Those cities sprawl just as much, but they do have denser and more urban intown neighborhoods and inner cores. There are some exceptions, Atlanta's metro size is probably one of the largest in the US, but people living 100 miles away literally DO commute to ATL for work, thats insane and thats part of the reason why traffic is miserable.

The Southern cities are growing in density and overall area size, and soon will trump the northern cities. It is inevitable with all the northerners moving down. Hell my mom and her parents moved from Chicago to Jax, and my dad's family comes from Philly and Boston and most have moved to Jax as well. Plus we have the immigration just as the northern cities do. We are only going to grow in every respect, including density so just hold on and chill out, you guys will be handed yours soon, don't worry.

AccraGhana
Apr 10, 2007, 10:58 PM
I never said that Northern Areas do not have sprawl. The part of Northern Metro areas that are not land locked, and grew during the era of Sunbelt growth, have similar patterns of sprawl. Sprawl was the post 50’s trend in non-land locked areas. However, pre 1950, most large Southern Metros did not have even a third of the population that they now house. So most of their growth was sprawl growth and that is why the cover such a larger area than most Northern Metros whose population was mostly populated pre 1950. Again, that makes the comparisons apples to oranges in my opinion. A person living 60 miles from Detroit, but working in Toledo is, for all intents and purposes, no different than a person living 60 miles from Atlanta. Who cares if the people work in the large cities or not? They both have equal access and distance from the city.

sprtsluvr8
Apr 10, 2007, 11:07 PM
Rankings of cities are valid and important to people if their city is highly ranked. If their city is ranked near the bottom or outranked by a city they feel is inferior to theirs, the rankings are "meaningless".

Detroit is a fine city, Atlanta is a fine city. One is growing, one isn't. The one that isn't growing has people in this forum that enjoy magnifying any negatives of the one that is growing. This is yet another example of it.

AccraGhana
Apr 10, 2007, 11:16 PM
I don’t live in Detroit, but I am from the Detroit. Emotions aside, the objective truths remain the same. If one superimposed the square miles that constitute many southern Metros over large Northern Areas, the Southern Areas would lose their rankings. If you take a 100 square mile radius from every major Northern Metro and compare it with a 100-mile radius from Southern Metros, most Northern Metros would grow significantly in population while most southern Metros will not. That is the objective truth.

I don’t really know if I actually want to see Detroit population boom. I would certainly like to see its economy doing better, and then maybe I could move back. I think the quality of life starts to diminish once you reach around 4 million people. I think that is especially true in the Sun Belt as the infrastructure can’t keep up with the population growth and traffic becomes a nightmare and people spend hours commuting daily.

sprtsluvr8
Apr 10, 2007, 11:31 PM
Any city is exactly what you make of it. Many people in Atlanta do have long commutes, but many people don't. It's short-sighted to assume that we are all the same, all living in a giant suburb, and all unaware of sprawl. So what if Atlanta's metro stretches further than Detroit's? I don't ever see the suburbs and I don't have a huge commute, and there are many people here just like or similar to me. The population boom hasn't lowered my quality of life at all, and if someone chooses to commute an hour each way to work then that is their choice. Maybe they see it as a tradeoff for something else that they want, so their quality of life isn't diminished at all.

AZheat
Apr 10, 2007, 11:59 PM
I also find it confusing. The only factor that makes any sense to me is that when two cities have esssentially grown into one they should be counted as one mass of population. I think they've split up the Bay Area and also LA into more than one metro even though they're both completely made up of cities and suburbs that have grown into a single giant city. I see no point in muddying the question with irrelevent facts about where people commute.

AccraGhana
Apr 11, 2007, 1:41 AM
Any city is exactly what you make of it. Many people in Atlanta do have long commutes, but many people don't. It's short-sighted to assume that we are all the same, all living in a giant suburb, and all unaware of sprawl. So what if Atlanta's metro stretches further than Detroit's? I don't ever see the suburbs and I don't have a huge commute, and there are many people here just like or similar to me. The population boom hasn't lowered my quality of life at all, and if someone chooses to commute an hour each way to work then that is their choice. Maybe they see it as a tradeoff for something else that they want, so their quality of life isn't diminished at all.

Well, I dismiss personal experience...unless you can prove to me that you are the microcosm for the area, your personal experience in meaningless to my point. Furthermore, I am not downing Atlanta at all. All I am saying is that comparing areas based upon commuting patterns leaves much to be desired. Hey, if you live in a place that gets crazy snow and ice in the winter....you don't want to be commuting 60 miles a day in the middle of winter! Just because a person is not willing or need to do that makes some part of metro areas and others not...while both are equal distance apart from the core cities. Cleveland, Akron and Canton should all be one area. Cinncinatti-Hamilton Dayton should be one area. There are a lot of areas with cities that have merged together that don't get counted as one large area because people don't cross commute at high rates to the other areas. Many don't need to as they move to the city where there job is.

LMich
Apr 11, 2007, 1:48 AM
If you don't like MSA and CSA, you can use Census-defined Urbanized Areas that measure physical spread. One picks up where the other leaves off. I think in a nation as auto-centric as our own, commuting patterns are definitely important when measuring the influnce of a central urban area.

I believe that MSA/CSA, when combined with UA's, give a pretty comprehensive and accurate picture of the social and physical spread of a city.

AccraGhana
Apr 11, 2007, 2:04 AM
What I am confused about is the functional practicality of the measures. If development is contiguous and unbroken then broken up by 10 miles of un-urbanized area, followed by more contiguous development of another supposed metro how does that alter ones life?

I think this information is really only functional to marketers. The concept of “City” is really played out and metro area is kind of played out as well. In this area of high mobility those traditional metrics are less meaningful. Marketers are just looking for ball park figures of populations but they are more concerned about demographic trends.

LMich
Apr 11, 2007, 2:35 AM
Both measures have their faults, but it's quite a high bar to set ask for a flawless measure of the influence of a central urban area. You're expecting far too much.

Since you're not pleased with any measure, or any combination of measures, what would your measure of a city be, seriously? I'm not sure I get your point. Is is that there is no way to accurately measure a cities size and influence?

sprtsluvr8
Apr 11, 2007, 4:56 AM
What I am confused about is the functional practicality of the measures. If development is contiguous and unbroken then broken up by 10 miles of un-urbanized area, followed by more contiguous development of another supposed metro how does that alter ones life?

I think this information is really only functional to marketers. The concept of “City” is really played out and metro area is kind of played out as well. In this area of high mobility those traditional metrics are less meaningful. Marketers are just looking for ball park figures of populations but they are more concerned about demographic trends.


I have read your last two posts several times and I just can't find a real point. Do you think you're referring to Atlanta with this description of "10 miles of un-urbanized area" statement? It doesn't. And I was responding to your comment on quality of life...I don't understand how I can speak about anyone else's quality of life...mine is the only one I'm familiar with. But you dismiss personal experience?

AccraGhana
Apr 11, 2007, 11:33 AM
My point is that I do not understand the practical functionality of the metrics. Who does it benefit to know the “influence” of a core city or metropolitan area? Moreover, cities are also ranked. Does the fact that Atlanta proper has a smaller population than Indianapolis or Columbus really mean anything, given that metro Atlanta has triple the population of those metros? Cities are also ranked for their size. Some cities annex land and their population comprises over half the population of their metro totals. Again, such rankings become apples to oranges comparisons. Metropolitan numbers are becoming just as spurious and or amorphous in contrasting and comparing regions.

Lmich, like I said before, the current methodology is the worst methodology there is, except for all others. The fact that I don’t have a better methodology does not dismiss or exonerate the glaring flaws of the current methodology.

LMich
Apr 12, 2007, 12:14 AM
You don't understand why influence is important? In most cities, those that work in the central city/cities have to pay non-residents tax, they get their TV and radio news from their central city affiliates, they regularly use city infastructure, etc...

I hope I'm not the only one that sees why it's very important to see who's tied to a city and its resources to determine federal funding. Many times, non-resident employees in central cities and central urban areas spend more time and money in their work city than their city of residences.

sprtsluvr8
Apr 12, 2007, 1:53 AM
Atlanta can't annex anymore...the areas around it are incorporated cities. The majority of people living in those and other suburban towns wouldn't be living there if not for the draw of this city, whether for job, sports, clubs, shopping, entertainment, cultural activities, or whatever else might catch their interest. People move to the suburbs to be near an urban area without actually having to live in the city. Obviously they are influenced by the city.