Originally Posted by TarHeelJ
So you don't think that this same thing happens in every other large metro? I'm using Atlanta as an example because I'm most familiar with it, but it obviously applies to many other cities as well. The suburbs didn't simply appear out of nowhere. They were towns/cities that predated the city of Atlanta by many years and they grew along with the city, eventually growing together. It doesn't matter that Boston is 400 years old and Atlanta is 200, a very similar thing happened in both places.
Sorry to harp on this TarHeelJ, but I think what people want to point out is that there are often no clear delineations between where one metro ends and another begins in the Northeast, whereas there's nothing else around Houston to confuse the borders. 60 miles from the center of Houston is still very much metro Houston, as there are no other cities in the area 60 miles out could be part of.
The Providence MSA starts less than 10 miles south of the city of Boston's municipal borders (Easton, MA). Not the MSA's borders, mind you, but 10 miles south of the City of Boston and you're technically not in the Boston metro anymore.
The Hartford MSA starts less than 15 miles west of the city of Providence's municipal borders (the CT state line).
The Springfield MSA starts exactly 10 miles north of the city of Hartford's municipal borders (Longmeadow, MA).
10 miles outside of Houston's admittedly massive municipal borders is what, downtown Pearland? Sugar Land? Certainly not an entirely different MSA.
Yeah, New England and the Northeast sprawl. But because of the age of the region, there are so many more established towns and cities that clearly demarcating where one metro ends and another begins used to be done on a per municipality basis, not county basis (to prevent, for example, Easton being part of the Providence MSA instead of Boston).