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Old 06-26-2009, 12:11 AM
 
Location: Metropolis
1,144 posts, read 3,255,330 times
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Could these towns be considered Boston Exurbs?

Let's face it, sprawl is still happening. It is happening at a much lower extent however, which is a welcome development.

Barnstable county: I read that many locals say it has become a suburb of Boston. But some people as we all know sound alarm bells often prematurely.

Martha's Vineyard: 34 minute ferry ride seems plausible. There are ferry rides throughout the Puget Sound Area(Boston) which are longer. Makes sense the island lifestyle could be very appealing.

Windham county, CT: A contender because of spillover maybe, but there are accounts of many Rhode Islanders(Now part of Boston CSA) commuting there as well as Eastern MA.

Amazing how things have grown and I find this phenomenon usefull for marketing purposes.

Thanks for any feedback....
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Boston
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I hear you about suburban sprawl. In fact, due to the Boston area's unique zoning laws (large lot sizes/ low density regulations), its suburban area expands quite far (almost the same land area as Los Angeles which is a MUCH larger city with higher density suburbs). Sprawl is an issue in Boston. Just because the suburbs here don't look quite like their counterparts in the sunbelt or anywhere else, doesn't mean that they don't exist.

I wouldn't call any of those areas you listed Boston exurbs. The combined statistical area is accurate in that the Boston, Providence and Manchester areas all have some area of overlap (i.e. the Attleboro/Foxborough/Mansfield areas with Boston and Providence). However, it's a bit extreme to use the CSA info to get a feel for the actual size of the metropolitan area as some portions of the CSA are WAYYY too far away from others to make for reasonable commute. Of course it's extreme for one to commute from, say, North Kingstown, Rhode Island to Manchester New Hampshire (both part of the CSA) on a daily basis. You can say that they're on opposite ends of the CSA so of course it's unlikely, but the same goes for the fringes of the CSA to the principal city (in this case Boston). Not very many people will commute from parts of the Manchester area (i.e. Goffstown) all the way into Boston (and CERTAINLY not to Providence). Not too many people will make the daily commute from Wickford, RI all the way into Boston.

Because of this, the areas you listed are just about impossible to categorize as Boston exurbs.

Barnstable County
: Barnstable County is not a suburb of Boston. It's Cape Cod and it covers a large area. However, this is really the only county that you listed where you could make an argument that a FEW communities could POSSIBLY be considered exurbs. For example, people living in Sandwich can commute to Boston (Route 6, over the bridge and onto Route 3) with relative ease. People can and do do this. However, only the people living near the bridges along the canal have a reasonable commute. Once you head further East, the likelihood that anyone does this drops significantly. I doubt many people from towns like Dennis, Brewster, Orleans, Welfleet, Eastham, Chatham, etc would consider commuting to Boston daily (or even once a week) as it would be an absolute nightmare. Provincetown has a ferry to Boston seasonally, but it's a tourist thing.

The complaints are probably premature in Barnstable County (with the exception of those towns right on Route 6 close to the bridge). However, this county (really, it's all of Cape Cod) is and has been a tourist destination for literally centuries. The growth that has taken place there is much more a part of the area's continued attractiveness to tourists. So tourists with money are building and buying second homes on the Cape and retirees are moving at alarming pace. The whole county has seen its rural areas depleted and replaced with growth, but NOT because of the commute to Boston... mostly because of ever increasing popularity with tourists (and those tourists wanting to live there). That's why you probably hear complaints. The VAST majority of Barnstable County is certainly not exurban Boston. Realistically, I'd say the "exurbs" only extend as far South as Carver, Middleborough, Wenham and Plymouth and don't quite extend to Barnstable County even though Sandwich does have some commuters.

Martha's Vinyard
: Not even close on this one. The comparison to Puget Sound and Seattle is a little different as the 34 minute ferry rides you refer to from MV are to New Bedford and Wood's Hole... each of those communities is still an hour or more away from Boston. So combined with with ferry ride and then drive (or bus) to Boston, you're still looking at well over an hour and a half to Boston from MV and that's on a perfect day with no traffic (and the ability to drive your car right off the ferry or hop on a bus immediately). More than likely that's close to a 2+ hour commute each way... not one many people are willing to make. In Seattle, many of the ferry routes (i.e. Seattle/Bremerton) are longer than 30 minutes, but they go to/from central Seattle directly (again, in most cases) so there's little need for an hour + commute AFTER the lengthy ferry commute.

Like Barnstable County, much of the growth in MV is relative to tourism popularity. It's a beautiful sport and people want to vacation/ retire there so that's where your growth comes from. Many of those homes are vacant from October-May.

Finally, Windham County, CT: Like Barsntable, it's reasonable to believe that SOME commuters could commute from areas closest to the Massachusetts line could commute into Boston from here, but it's a VERY lengthy commute and I'd guess that few of those people would be willing to do it regularly.

Take a look at a map of the area. You can see that it's relatively easy for Rhode Islanders to commute to that part of CT because of 1) they share a border so some Rhode Islanders commute no more than a few hundred feet to this part of CT and 2), the Roads to/from Windham County to Providence are relatively large and direct (i.e. Route 44 and Route 6). Now, look at Boston's proximity to Windham County. Then look at the roads. It may not be TOO far as the crow flies (but it's still not very close); but the roadways to Boston are VERY roundabout. A person living in Windham CT would likely have to travel up Route I-395 all the way to right outside of Worcester and continue for another hour East on I-90 to get to Boston. Or, they could take Route 6 or 44 into Providence and then head up I-95. It's a total pain and it would take a LONG time to do. I don't see this area as being an exurb either as the amount of people willing to do this commute has to be just minimal.

To me, a good way to get a grasp on the "exurbs" of Boston is to look at I-495 and the commuter rail lines. The termini of the MBTA commuter rail stations usually (but not always) end in towns that really mark the end of metro Boston. Generally, a good way to look at it (of course, there are some outlyers) is that the communities within the belt of I-495 are suburbs (some exceptions) and those just OUTSIDE the beltway are exurbs. South of Boston this is very true. Route 495 dips WAY South (towards the Cape) at its interchange with route 24, so Route 44 from Rayham to Plymouth is a good line to use from that point until you hit the coast. South of Boston towns like Lakeville (which is a terminus on the commuter rail), Raynham, Taunton, Middleborough, Plymouth, etc really all act as exurbs. West of Boston, places like Milford, Franklin, Westborough, Northborough, etc all do the same. Along the Merrimack River, North of Boston, the 495 boundary is a little skewed due to Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill being so close, but once you head North of these communities it gets rural fast. Same goes for Newburyport.

I think it's a little too soon to consider Cape Cod, the Islands and Northeastern CT part of exurban Boston. Maybe in the future we'll be calling it the Boston area, but not yet. At least not in my book.
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Old 06-26-2009, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
1,684 posts, read 3,204,770 times
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I wouldn't consider these as exurbs either. Lawrence, Lowell, Haverhill, Brockton, and perhaps Framingham are more traditionally considered as exurbs.

The traditional meaning of the word exurb is a small city outside of a larger city's metro area that is separated by some small towns and/or rural areas. Think of an atom with protons and neutrons clustered in the center (i.e. the nucleus) and electrons revolving around the center but not touching the center. Well, the exurb is that electron.
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Old 06-26-2009, 02:30 PM
 
1,690 posts, read 3,210,291 times
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Default How about "satellite"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban Peasant View Post
I wouldn't consider these as exurbs either. Lawrence, Lowell, Haverhill, Brockton, and perhaps Framingham are more traditionally considered as exurbs.

The traditional meaning of the word exurb is a small city outside of a larger city's metro area that is separated by some small towns and/or rural areas. Think of an atom with protons and neutrons clustered in the center (i.e. the nucleus) and electrons revolving around the center but not touching the center. Well, the exurb is that electron.
I have to disagree: Exurbs are low-density, rural residential areas. The term was coined in a 1955 book called "The Exurbanites." The writer was describing Bucks County, Pa, as a choice for elite New York City people who wanted to live in the country. An exurb isn't just another rural area, it's a rural area with money, where people have urban lives but happen to live in the country. Places like Lowell, Lynn, Lawrence, Fall River, New Bedford, and Brockton are not exurbs, and they're not suburbs either. I would call them satellite cities, in your sense of electrons revolving around but not touching the center.
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Old 06-26-2009, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Cape Cod
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Must agree with IRFox on Cape Cod and MV.
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Old 06-27-2009, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Boston, MA
1,684 posts, read 3,204,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missionhill View Post
I have to disagree: Exurbs are low-density, rural residential areas. The term was coined in a 1955 book called "The Exurbanites." The writer was describing Bucks County, Pa, as a choice for elite New York City people who wanted to live in the country. An exurb isn't just another rural area, it's a rural area with money, where people have urban lives but happen to live in the country. Places like Lowell, Lynn, Lawrence, Fall River, New Bedford, and Brockton are not exurbs, and they're not suburbs either. I would call them satellite cities, in your sense of electrons revolving around but not touching the center.
You have a valid source there but its dated 1955 and the meaning of exurb has most likely changed since then. I take my definition from the publisher McDougal Littell's World Geography high school textbook in which it says "Smaller cities or towns with open land between them and the central city are called exurbs" (Chapter 4, Section 4 "Urban Geography", page 87). This definition most clearly matches the one I stated before. The publication date of this textbook is 2003. So in a sense, I might be wrong about my definition being a "traditional" definition but if it is stated in a current high school textbook, I assume it is safe to accept.
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Old 06-27-2009, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Metropolis
1,144 posts, read 3,255,330 times
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When you read recent articles about exurbs it seems to corolate as far flung rural areas that are "beyond the suburbs". Republican country etc.. Pike county, PA would be the exurbs of New York for example. Palmdale for Los Angeles, Huntley for Chicago, Brentwood for San Francisco and Laconia, NH for Boston are some examples.
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Old 06-27-2009, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Boston, MA
1,684 posts, read 3,204,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UrbanQuest View Post
When you read recent articles about exurbs it seems to corolate as far flung rural areas that are "beyond the suburbs". Republican country etc.. Pike county, PA would be the exurbs of New York for example. Palmdale for Los Angeles, Huntley for Chicago, Brentwood for San Francisco and Laconia, NH for Boston are some examples.
Just a small correction: Laconia NH is either a large populated town or a small city. I wouldn't consider it rural. You might have a valid point though. The thing is that metropolitan areas have been growing in the past decades. If the empty space between Boston and Lowell becomes heavily populated for example, then Lowell will cease to be an exurb or satellite city and will become a mere suburb of Boston. Then whatever else that is further away from Boston but still has people commuting to Boston would then be considered as exurbs.

Consider the Latin roots of the two words:

exurb = ex urbe "out of the city" or "away from the city"

suburb = sub urbe "beneath the city"
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Old 06-28-2009, 01:39 AM
 
4,080 posts, read 4,365,884 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban Peasant View Post
Just a small correction: Laconia NH is either a large populated town or a small city. I wouldn't consider it rural. You might have a valid point though. The thing is that metropolitan areas have been growing in the past decades. If the empty space between Boston and Lowell becomes heavily populated for example, then Lowell will cease to be an exurb or satellite city and will become a mere suburb of Boston. Then whatever else that is further away from Boston but still has people commuting to Boston would then be considered as exurbs.

Consider the Latin roots of the two words:

exurb = ex urbe "out of the city" or "away from the city"

suburb = sub urbe "beneath the city"
Laconia NH is the hub of Belknap county. It's over 100 miles from Boston, and is the largest city population-wise (about 18,000) north of Concord until you get to the Canadian border. Southern NH cities like Derry, Hudson, and Portsmouth are Boston exurbs. There's almost nothing but deep woods just outside of Laconia.....it has nothing in common with exurbs, and almost no one commutes from here to Boston on a regular basis for work. Laconia my not be rural, but you drive 10 minutes in any direction and it's a very rural area.
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