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Old 09-05-2013, 01:54 PM
 
3 posts, read 3,330 times
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Hello all. We've been thinking of moving to the Boston area so I've been doing a lot of reading in this forum. I have seen many posts about areas of Boston proper but not much about the suburbs, or maybe I am and not realizing it.

Coming from the DFW metroplex, which takes in well over 9000 sq mi, my perspective on suburb may be a little skewed. Which towns are considered suburbs? How far out does the Boston metro area extend before becoming less suburban and more rural? It's really hard to tell by the maps and seems to not be very far. Looking at the map, towns like Marlborough, Concord and Framingham seem comparable to the distance we are now from the city center but reading about those towns gives the impression that they are pretty far out and possibly more isolated than the sprawling, never ending city I'm used to.
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:27 PM
 
Location: New Hampshire
2,257 posts, read 6,762,232 times
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Welcome to the Boston forum!

As a general rule of thumb, Route 128 (I-95), which forms a ring around the city, is often considered the boundary between the "inner" suburbs and "outer" suburbs. The housing stock on the inside of 128 is largely older (pre-1970s and older), yards are typically smaller (although potentially larger than what you might expect, coming from Houston), and neighborhoods are more densely populated and walkable.

This is not a hard-and-fast rule. For example, parts of Lexington, Newton, Brookline, and Milton have very large lots and enough green space to make you believe you're much farther from the city. On the same token, all of these towns have at least some sections that are dense, walkable, and urban or semi-urban. They also tend to be relatively well-connected to public transit.

The next major salient boundary for Greater Boston residents is I-495, which forms the second ring around the metro area. Most of the towns between 128 and 495 would be called "suburbs of Boston" in common parlance, even if some of them are more rural in character than others. Most of these towns have compact New England town centers with a tight cluster of pre-War neighborhoods, but newer development tends to involve large, forested lots.

Again, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. Cities like Brockton and Framingham are old and have large populations. Framingham is definitely not isolated - it is located right along the Mass Pike between Boston and Worcester. There is no lack of suburban sprawl in this area.

Marlborough is slightly farther from Boston, but plenty of people commute into the city from there. It's a sizable town and also quite close to Worcester, so I wouldn't really consider it "isolated," either. Concord, on the other hand, does have a more isolated "feel," but it's not excessively far from the city. This is achieved by large lots outside of the town center and lots of protected land in the area northwest of Boston, including farms.

I also think it's important to remember that when people talk about "rural" in the Boston area they aren't really talking about farms as far as the eye can see. Agriculture's hey-day in this part of the country was a long time ago. Most of the existing farmland is northwest, northeast (North Shore area), or southeast (cranberry bog country). There isn't really a hard line where the "city limits" end and farmland begins as in other parts of the country (partly because there is no "unincorporated" land here - everything falls within the jurisdiction of a town whose lines were drawn 200-400 years ago. County governments are either nonexistent or have basically no power).

Last edited by Verseau; 09-05-2013 at 02:43 PM..
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:50 PM
 
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To the North, Boston ends at the Canadian/Maine border, to the West, it is California and Las Vegas, to the South, it is Florida and to the East, it is a large pond then England. We really have a big ego
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:02 PM
 
Location: a bar
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:10 PM
 
387 posts, read 732,683 times
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Quote:
Hello all. We've been thinking of moving to the Boston area so I've been doing a lot of reading in this forum. I have seen many posts about areas of Boston proper but not much about the suburbs, or maybe I am and not realizing it.
The main Massachusetts forum is almost entirely composed of posts about the Boston suburbs. The Boston forum is for posts about the actual city of Boston, not the burbs. (I know some forums handle things differently.)
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:16 PM
 
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Cliff Calvin, that was an AWESOME post and I am still laffin at that. Where did you get that?
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:18 PM
 
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Thank you, Verseau. This is most helpful. The "imaginary" borders in a city, known to those that live there, are far more accurate than anything you could find on a map.

Bob Lanta, I like you. You think like a Texan.

Cliff Claven, I am a dragon slayer.

Donewithpretty, Didn't even realize there was separate board for Massachusetts, just clicked on the Boston link under the header. Thanks!
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:29 PM
 
Location: a bar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Lanata View Post
Cliff Calvin, that was an AWESOME post and I am still laffin at that. Where did you get that?
Your post reminded me of an old postcard which read "A Bostonian's view of the country" (or something along those lines) that I remembered seeing years ago. The postcard had a prominent view of downtown Boston in the foreground, followed by the western neighborhoods, Brookline, then far off in the distance Worcester and the Pacific Ocean.

So I did a could search for that image with no luck, but found this.
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Old 09-05-2013, 04:28 PM
 
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Cliff Calvin,

Thank you and I also remember that Bostonian's view.
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Old 09-05-2013, 04:45 PM
 
Location: Northeast
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Good pic Cliff Calvin! Funny stuff. There's no easy answer to that question grits1223... I think Verseau summed it up well
being a lifetime MA resident here.
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