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Old 03-09-2015, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Mexico City, formerly Columbus, Ohio
12,791 posts, read 12,767,534 times
Reputation: 5454

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDPMiami View Post
Like any statistical lists, it's kind of interesting but this is a bad metric for assessing "large" cities since it privileges a type of geometrical layout over others. As a result, cities like Miami which are built densely on a narrow strip along the atlantic seaboard are hurt.

Large cities like NYC and Los Angeles may or may not be hurt as well (Los Angeles is not exactly built in a radial fashion however it's not as narrowly built as Miami), but they're by far the biggest cities in the USA, they always come on top no matter what metric is being used.

UA is far better, because it doesn't privilege a specific geometry of city layout.
How was Miami hurt? Miami moved up 27 places from it's real-life ranking to this one. Your definition of "hurt" much be significantly different than mine. No, the city's entire population (according to other definitions) may not be represented (UA often includes development well outside of the city limits), but that's not the intention of this particular measurement.

The radial fashion is from the center of every city's downtown, which is usually at least close to the geographic center of development.
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Old 03-09-2015, 04:59 PM
 
Location: NYC
2,252 posts, read 2,455,793 times
Reputation: 1554
The reason this metric is flawed is because it's not actually taken from the "center" of each city. For example Denver's CBD is smack in the center of the metro area while Chicago's Loop is on the edge of it. I mean if the goal is just to derive the total population within 8 miles of CBD, that's fine. But that's a deceiving metric because cities grow in different patterns due to their geographic settings. It's fine to use CBD as reference point, but I think you have to take the same land area for each city, otherwise it's apples and oranges.
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Old 03-09-2015, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
2,945 posts, read 3,603,938 times
Reputation: 3248
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fitzrovian View Post
The reason this metric is flawed is because it's not actually taken from the "center" of each city. For example Denver's CBD is smack in the center of the metro area while Chicago's Loop is on the edge of it. I mean if the goal is just to derive the total population within 8 miles of CBD, that's fine. But that's a deceiving metric because cities grow in different patterns due to their geographic settings. It's fine to use CBD as reference point, but I think you have to take the same land area for each city, otherwise it's apples and oranges.
Beautifully worded.
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:03 PM
 
Location: Northeast Suburbs of PITTSBURGH
3,492 posts, read 3,309,015 times
Reputation: 2215
I like the overall logic and I think its a cool idea for a thread. However, my city (Pittsburgh) like others is geographically challenged. Instead of taking a geographic center and calculating the population within the area, I added up the municipalities adjacent having the most urban feel. Most of Pittsburgh's adjacent communities and suburbs are TINY, TINY compared to the massive suburbs/cities like Mesa, Aurora, and Sandy Springs making it pretty easy to get the size you desire. With this method:

For ~200 sq miles (Still not that far off your method)
Pittsburgh - 809,352

If Pittsburgh had city limits as large as your worst offender of sprawl - Charlotte.
Pittsburgh @298 sq miles = 1,063,308
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Old 03-09-2015, 06:25 PM
 
9,445 posts, read 4,329,143 times
Reputation: 4386
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
So wait, you use a completely different measurement to find one city's population and use that completely different measurement to declare that the ranking is wrong, especially when the city in question, Seattle, IMPROVED from its real life ranking, which actually does include water and other geographic features.

The reading comprehension here is abysmal.
I think the point is that what he/she is doing is a bit more "accurate" to the real world. Not to say what you've done isn't interesting. I actually think what you're doing in your OP is really interesting and is a step in the right direction for how to compare cities (way better than straight city limits, which like you mention, can be really inflated and created in very different ways among cities).

In basic terms, what you're trying to do is find the best normalization method for comparing cities accurately to one another. But I do think your model could be improved (which is what people are getting at).

If there was a good way to account for geographical limitations (mountains, water, etc.), you would basically come up with the ultimate method for comparing cities. Obviously, people have been mentioning the reasons in this thread enough, so I don't need to repeat why and for what cities would be most affected (e.g. NYC, Boston, Chicago, Seattle, Miami, San Diego, SF are some that come to mind for being most affected by this bias).

Unfortunately, I imagine there is no "easy" way to do this, though, so we might just be left with the type of analysis you did. The only way I could think to do this is to search in each direction and add in land until you reach 200 square miles...

An algorithm that I can think of off the top of my head would be to:
1) search in all directions from the city center (not necessarily the CBD, by the way)
2) when you find buildable land, add this to the total population;
3) if there is no buildable land (ocean, bay, river, national forest/park, mountains), skip this and move on to next search section;
4) Repeat iteration in all directions (north, then north east, then east, then south east, etc.) until total land = 200 square miles

You'd probably have to start with some sort of "bin" size for searching in (maybe based on zip codes? or suburban city limits? Not sure about the best way to do this...).

I imagine this would involve a lot more work than most people on C-D would want to do, though (I personally don't really want to do it...). But these results would be really interesting to see and wouldn't have the inherent bias your initial analysis had in it.
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Old 03-09-2015, 11:25 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis (St. Louis Park)
5,991 posts, read 7,930,814 times
Reputation: 4214
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
To all those people who don't like the ranking, feel free to make your own with whatever standards you want. None of them will be exact. None of them will be completely accurate and account for every single quirk of geography or development layout, but good luck trying. But for the love of god, please keep in mind that this is just a single way to measure something that is very difficult to measure. It's not misleading, it's not an attack, it's just an example of a different way to see something. If you can't understand that, or if the ranking gets your underwear in knots, then I don't know what else to say.
This is what happens when you try to take initiative and start an analysis......people try to cut it down, but not necessarily provide constructive insight or a way to improve it. I stopped trying a while ago.

Thanks for putting this together -- I find it stimulating!!
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Old 03-09-2015, 11:43 PM
rah
 
Location: Oakland
3,315 posts, read 7,895,546 times
Reputation: 2492
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fitzrovian View Post
The reason this metric is flawed is because it's not actually taken from the "center" of each city. For example Denver's CBD is smack in the center of the metro area while Chicago's Loop is on the edge of it. I mean if the goal is just to derive the total population within 8 miles of CBD, that's fine. But that's a deceiving metric because cities grow in different patterns due to their geographic settings. It's fine to use CBD as reference point, but I think you have to take the same land area for each city, otherwise it's apples and oranges.
Exactly. Cities aren't built on water. So why count water?

Sure it may be interesting to look at population within a fixed radius, but if you try and use it as a way to measure and compare the population of all cities, without taking geographic/developmental variances into account, you're going to get some misleading data...such as the numbers showing that the area around downtown SJ is more populated than the area around downtown SF...which is only true because half of the eight mile radius around downtown SF is water, unlike the area around downtown SJ. The actual urbanized land area where people live and work (not the empty water) around downtown SF is far more populated than that around SJ. You can find similar flaws with many other cities when using this method.

And I like how some people are upset that some of us have mentioned that this isn't the best method to measure cities. What, you expect be able to post questionable pseudo-scientific stuff on here with absolutely no criticism? Everyone has to agree with everything? In the "city vs. city" forum, no less? LOL
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Old 03-09-2015, 11:59 PM
 
52,717 posts, read 75,627,145 times
Reputation: 11636
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbcmh81 View Post
To all those people who don't like the ranking, feel free to make your own with whatever standards you want. None of them will be exact. None of them will be completely accurate and account for every single quirk of geography or development layout, but good luck trying. But for the love of god, please keep in mind that this is just a single way to measure something that is very difficult to measure. It's not misleading, it's not an attack, it's just an example of a different way to see something. If you can't understand that, or if the ranking gets your underwear in knots, then I don't know what else to say.
Basically and I believe that others see what you were trying to do with this information. I did find it interesting that Buffalo and Rochester would be in the top 50 and this is given their Downtown's proximity either right on or pretty close to a Great Lake, as well as the generalized reputation of both areas in terms of population.
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Old 03-10-2015, 06:23 AM
 
Location: Westside Grand Rapids
3,570 posts, read 3,047,808 times
Reputation: 5495
I'd like to see this done with the size challenged cities that anchor decent sized metro areas like Hartford, and Grand Rapids. Hartford is 18 sq mi. What would it's population be even at 100?
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Mexico City, formerly Columbus, Ohio
12,791 posts, read 12,767,534 times
Reputation: 5454
Quote:
Originally Posted by rah View Post
Exactly. Cities aren't built on water. So why count water?

Sure it may be interesting to look at population within a fixed radius, but if you try and use it as a way to measure and compare the population of all cities, without taking geographic/developmental variances into account, you're going to get some misleading data...such as the numbers showing that the area around downtown SJ is more populated than the area around downtown SF...which is only true because half of the eight mile radius around downtown SF is water, unlike the area around downtown SJ. The actual urbanized land area where people live and work (not the empty water) around downtown SF is far more populated than that around SJ. You can find similar flaws with many other cities when using this method.

And I like how some people are upset that some of us have mentioned that this isn't the best method to measure cities. What, you expect be able to post questionable pseudo-scientific stuff on here with absolutely no criticism? Everyone has to agree with everything? In the "city vs. city" forum, no less? LOL
No one is asking you agree with it. No one is asking that you think it's perfect, because it will never be. There is NO perfect way to do this, so people like yourself that are demanding perfection and are outraged are the ones who are being nave and unreasonable. The very fact that cities have different layouts and geographies makes every single comparison measurement questionable in some way. That includes metro, UA, CSA, city boundaries, distance or whatever else might be out there. Every single one includes water and geography to some degree, btw, so you're basically going out of your way to complain without being constructive. That all but guarantees that fewer people will take any initiative to do anything like this in the future, whether or not you might find a different measurement more palatable. I certainly will never bother again. All the fun has been ripped out of it, and yes, it was meant to be a fun little experiment, not meant to be taken as gospel truth.
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