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Thread: Boundaries of your metropolitan areas?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian RPfresh's avatar
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    Boundaries of your metropolitan areas?

    I'm trying to get a grip on where metropolitan areas begin and end. Census maps are county based and aren't very useful. So, I am wondering if anyone would care to define, geographically, their own metro area. For an example, I'll use the Bay Area.

    This is probably broader than most people's ideas (well, definitely broader), but for me the northern California metropolis known as the Bay Area starts at the bottom of the Monterey Peninsula mini-area and tops out in Wine Country, I generally say Santa Rosa area. To the east are several corridors, on which I terminate the area at the following cities - Brentwood, Green Valley, San Benito, Livermore. To the West, of course, is the ocean.

    If that makes any sense that's more or less what I'm looking for. Arguing with me about that definition is an acceptable use of this thread, but I'd really like to know what those in major cities like Boston, NYC, LA, Philadelphia, Detroit, DC etc. feel are the edges of their areas (although I am aware that doing this in the Northeast corridor may be difficult). Thanks,

    Rylan

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Generally the Detroit Urban Area contains the urbanized portions of eight counties in two countries. These counties include about 4.7 million people living in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Livingston, St. Clair, and Monroe counties in the United States and about a half-million people living in the City of Windsor/Essex County in Canada. Some might include the urban portion of Sarnia-Lambton County to the North, but I don't. I consider it part of the Port Huron-Sarnia urban area, but there is little economic interaction between Sarnia and the main hub of Detoit.

    Detroit has an adjusted urban boundary that is used by USDOT to determine where federal funds can be funnelled. It is found in all of the counties. There are also abutting urban areas that touch the Detroit urban area for Ann Arbor, Port Huron, and another known as Brighton-Howell-South Lyon. In addition to these urban areas the urban areas of Monroe and the Northern Portion of Toledo Ohio's urban area is found in Monroe County. A small amount of Flint's Urban area is found in Northern Livingston and Oakland Counties. Econmically you can extend this to include the Cities of London Ontario, Toledo Ohio, Fort Wayne Indiana, Lansing, and Sagninaw Michigan, however there is rural separations.

    In short, I wish you luck. This is a messy question to ask, along the lines of some who have proposed a measurement for Urban vs Rural.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  3. #3
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Austin:
    Draw a squiggly circle starting south of Austin at San Marcos and then proceed N/NE to Bastrop and then N to Taylor and then NW to Georgetown and W to Liberty Hill, then S/SW to Marble Falls and S/SE to Dripping Springs and then back to San Marcos. Austin should be roughly centered in all that.

    Dallas-Fort Worth:
    All of Tarrant and Dallas Counties. Denton County - the S portion up to Denton. Collin County - S portion up to McKinney. All of Rockwall County. Johnson County - Burleson and Alvarado. Ennis County - S on I-35E to Waxahachie and S on US 67 to Midlothian. Sporadic cities surrounding the area are probably also included: Forney, Terrell, Weatherford, Granbury, Decatur.

    Oklahoma City:
    The following cities:
    Oklahoma City, Norman, Edmond, Midwest City, Del City, Choctaw, Spencer, Jones, Moore, Bethany, Mustang, Yukon, El Reno, Piedmont, Warr Acres, Nicholls Hills, The Village.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Chicago: North up to and including Kenosha, northwest out to Woodstock in McHenry County, then down and around the western edges of Elgin, St. Charles, Batavia, Geneva, Aurora, then southwest around the outer edges of Joliet, south borders of Mokena/Monee and around the NW Indiana cities of Merrillville and out and around Chesterton.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  5. #5
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rygor View post
    Chicago: North up to and including Kenosha, northwest out to Woodstock in McHenry County, then down and around the western edges of Elgin, St. Charles, Batavia, Geneva, Aurora, then southwest around the outer edges of Joliet, south borders of Mokena/Monee and around the NW Indiana cities of Merrillville and out and around Chesterton.
    I agree with Kenosha, why not Racine?
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  6. #6
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rygor View post
    Chicago: North up to and including Kenosha, northwest out to Woodstock in McHenry County, then down and around the western edges of Elgin, St. Charles, Batavia, Geneva, Aurora, then southwest around the outer edges of Joliet, south borders of Mokena/Monee and around the NW Indiana cities of Merrillville and out and around Chesterton.
    I would extend the western and southern boundaries a bit. I would say that once you get west of the Kenosha area, the line hugs the IL-WI border, including Antioch, Twin Lakes WI, Richmond, Genoa City WI, Hebron, then south to Woodstock, and following Route 47 down to places like Huntley, Pingree Grove, Elburn, Campton Hills, Sugar Grove, and Yorkville, then over to Plainfield and Shorewood, dipping down to Minooka, Channahon, and then east over to Manhattan, and east to Monee, and then in Northwest Indiana, where it goes a little bit south of Merrillville to include Crown Point, and then over to Valparaiso, and then up to Chesterton. Also, there are certain outlying cities that are not contiguous with the urban area and are kind of independent towns that are still somewhat influenced by the metro: Harvard, Marengo, Genoa, Hampshire, DeKalb/Sycamore, Plano/Sandwich, Morris, Wilmington/Braidwood, Peotone, Manteno, Kankakee/Bradley/Bourbonnais, and Lowell. An argument could be made for Michigan City as well.


    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    I agree with Kenosha, why not Racine?
    I think Racine is more tied to the Milwaukee area.
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Route 47 goes straight through Hampshire (I designed a subdivision there, worked on two comp plan sub areas on 47, updated their zoning and subdivision ordinance, and did plan review). Why do you include Pingree Grove, but not Hampshire? What about Burlington? All 3 of them are near I-90 and near the Huntley Outlet Mall in but I wouldn't consider any of them part of the Chicago metro area. You also included Elburn which isn't near any major freeway, but just along Route 47. I also did plan review in Plano, Minooka, and Manhattan, and I think they will be part of the metro area when we start building much more. Right now, I agree with Rygor's estimate. Maybe CMAP has an official definition?
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

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  8. #8
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    Route 47 goes straight through Hampshire (I designed a subdivision there, worked on two comp plan sub areas on 47, updated their zoning and subdivision ordinance, and did plan review). Why do you include Pingree Grove, but not Hampshire? What about Burlington? All 3 of them are near I-90 and near the Huntley Outlet Mall in but I wouldn't consider any of them part of the Chicago metro area. You also included Elburn which isn't near any major freeway, but just along Route 47. I also did plan review in Plano, Minooka, and Manhattan, and I think they will be part of the metro area when we start building much more. Right now, I agree with Rygor's estimate. Maybe CMAP has an official definition?
    Actually, Route 47 does not go straight through Hampshire. They have only a quarter mile of frontage along the west side of 47, just south of Reinking Road, but they have nothing developed along 47. I just looked at the Kane County zoning map. I also drive in that area all the time. The developed stuff in that area near the 47-20-72 junction is actually Pingree Grove. Most of Hampshire is about 3 miles west. Once Hampshire actually has substantial development that is contiguous with Pingree Grove and Huntley, then I would include them. Burlington is too far west and has less than 1,000 people. All those towns in western Kane County...Burlington, Maple Park, Virgil, Lily Lake, Big Rock...are influenced by the Chicago Metro, but I wouldn't necessarily consider them to be full-fledged suburbs that are metropolitan in nature yet. Elburn has over 5,000 people now, sizable subdivisions, retail stores like Jewel, Walgreens, and McDonalds, and a Metra station. It is closely tied to St. Charles, Geneva, and Batavia, so that's why I consider it to be included.

    Plano still kind of has a rural feel to it, like Sandwich. That's why I consider them to be more fringe places. And isn't quite as big and developed as Yorkville or Oswego yet. But you're right, these places will soon become suburbanized.

    Regardless, I think both Hampshire and Plano are expected to join the Chicago urbanized area as defined by the Census in 2010, so I guess we should include them in our definition of the Chicago metro area then.

    I think CMAP's definition is based on counties as well, so that probably doesn't help much, as I don't think the thread starter wanted just counties. I think the Census defines "urban areas" though, and I think somewhere between what Rygor described and what I described constitutes the Chicago urbanized area.
    Last edited by illinoisplanner; 16 Dec 2010 at 5:21 PM.
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Toledo

    Some of you will probably fire pot shots my way. That said, I will use the methodology that Wendell Cox uses.....urbanized areas.

    Toledo, Ohio & SE Michigan
    The urbanized area on the west generally ends on a line from Toledo Express Airport northward to the mid-sections of Sylvania Township. The Michigan state line abuts Sylvania Township but there is a significant difference between the Ohio properties (sub-divisions) and the Michigan properties (farms).

    The Metro Toledo sub-divisions in Michigan begin just east of US 23 and continue uninterupted until the major rail lines near I-75. Most of the Michigan subdivisions are located in Bedford Township (Toledo's largest suburb).

    A significant portion of Metro Toledo's eastern boundary is Lake Erie and Maumee Bay. Directly east of Toledo is the suburb of Oregon, a large city geographically but almost all of the population resides in the western portion. Oregon's density is only around 650/square mile. The east half of the city is farmland.

    Southeast and south built-up boundaries are in Perrysburg Township, Lake Township, and Walbridge. Southwest built-up area follows the Maumee River for a significant distance, through Maumee (inner-ring), Monclova Township (middle-ring), and Waterville, former stand-alone community, now an outer-ring because of the large number of new homes in near-the-river subdivisions.

    I consider my town of Swanton a bedroom community. Even though part of the metro, there is a significant stretch of farmland between my village and the western 'burbs of Toledo.

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  10. #10
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    I think the Buffalo MSA is officially defined as Erie and Niagara Counties, but when locals say "Buffalo Metro", I think they mean the City of Buffalo and its continguous suburbs, which includes Grand Island, the city and town of Tonawanda, North Tonawanda (in Niagara County), Amherst, Cheektowaga, and the City of Lackawanna. Because of the geography (Lake Erie and the Niagara River on the west) and historic features that promoted economic growth along their lengths (ie, the old "military road" to Ft Niagara, the Erie Canal, NYS developing state routes #5 and #20 east), most of the economic and residential development in Erie County is concentrated in the COB and to its immediate north and east while the southern and far eastern areas are much less developed.

    The "eastern suburbs" include parts of Amherst and Cheektowaga plus Clarence, Lancaster, and Elma. These are usually included in "the Buffalo Metro" but sometimes are referred to separately.

    The "Southtowns" are usually considered separately from the Buffalo Metro, particularly since these towns are in one of the favored areas for lake-effect snow, and get significantly more snow than the City and its northern and eastern suburbs. These towns include: Hamburg, Evans, Eden, Boston, Aurora, West Seneca, and Orchard Park.

    The easternmost towns in Erie County are definitely rural in character, and the towns south of Eden/Evans/Boston even more so. These include Akron, Angola, Colden, Newstead, Marilla, Sardinia, Concord, Collins, North Collins, Alden, and Brant. They have much more in common with the neighboring towns in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Wyoming, and Genesee Counties than they do with the "Buffalo Metro".

    In Niagara County, except for North Tonawanda, most residents are much more connected to either Niagara Falls or Lockport than they are to Buffalo. North of the Town of Wheatfield, east of Niagara Falls, and except for the City of Lockport, Niagara County is predominantly rural.

  11. #11
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    I don't know if it's a combination of historically having a large hinterland (sports, economic, government/military), as well as being terribly sprawled, but I feel there are 2 tiers to what constitutes the edge of Metropolitan St. Louis influence and built evironment.

    First, the built portion is roughly 60 miles in diameter. The Junction of I-70 w/ US61 and the western terminous of I-64 forms the western edge of the metro, and generally along a fuzzy line tracing the course of the Cuivre River between US61 and the Mississippi River to the north. The confluence of rivers does a good job quelching development directly to the north, but unfortunately it squirts out to the west and northwest w/ twice the fury.

    The southwest and south edge of the metro is more nebulous, as you see pocketed and scattered development in the foothills of the Ozarks, but if you draw a line from Pacific, MO on I-44 to Festus, MO on I-55, you account for the majority of the St. Louis oriented exurbia.

    It gets a little funny in Illinois, as many farming communites have been drawn into the regions economic sphere, but if you were to draw a line between Godfrey, IL (north of Alton) and downtown St. Louis, and swing it clockwise in an arc and back down to the Mississippi River, you would ecompass most of the "Metro East."

    --

    The second tier is much more vague, however there are signs (literally) that you are in St. Louis cultural hinterland before you reach the metro. You see signs like "Welcome to Imo's Country" which is the major St. Louis style pizza chain, Cardinals advertisements and stickers on cars, etc. There are tells in the general landscape that are too minute to go into, really, such as the landscape becomes more wooded as you pass from west to east on I-70 approaching the metro, and there are hills! as you enter the metro coming south on I-55 in Illinois.

    Sports, as well factor into this second tier. It is unknown to me how far southwest/south/southeast the Cardinals hinterland goes, but it extends over a massive geography in this direction encompassing several states, with affiliates in northern Mississippi and many fans in Tulsa. I generally don't start seeing Royals logos until around 100 miles east of KC,and see plenty of Cardinals stuff in the far northwest and southwest corners of Missouri. However, the Cardinals/ Cubs hinterlands famously overlap, and I'm able to listen to Cardinals affilates all the way to the outskirts of Chicagoland (likewise I can hear Cubs games pretty close to St. Louis).

    The Bears pretty much own Illinois outside of the Metro East, and I see Bears neon in bar windows 70 miles from downtown St. Louis. Likewise, the KC Chiefs overlap in Cardinals territory as well.

    Hockey is much more nebulous, and not much of an outstate sport in Illinois or Missouri, although I would imagine there are more Blues fans in outstate Illinois than in outstate Missouri beyond 100 miles or so. The Blues have minor league teams in Springfield (IL) and Peoria.
    Last edited by GratiotStreet; 17 Dec 2010 at 10:51 AM.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Simple at least in western Kansas: where the land use changes to wheat fields...

  13. #13
    Cyburbian RPfresh's avatar
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    Just wanted to say thanks for the replies. This is helpful so far.

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