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Old 11-14-2010, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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I've noticed when we debate the boundaries of regions, we have two camps - the state line 'purists', who think that say, the Bootheel of Missouri is part of the Midwest, and then the people who don't think so much in borders and believe that a state can be part of more than one region. To you, which is more logical?
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Old 11-14-2010, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Southern Minnesota
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State lines do matter, but they don't tell the whole story. It would make sense to say the western border of Nebraska is where the Midwest ends, but it would be silly to call the Missouri Bootheel or Portsmouth, Ohio Midwestern areas (they are obviously in the South). It varies.
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Old 11-14-2010, 11:05 AM
 
Location: metro ATL
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^Agreed.
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Old 11-14-2010, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Atlanta
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The issue with state lines that exists is how much do the politics/culture differ as to where each state places funding for that city/region. How much do they walk to the beat of the same drum? Some are very similar, while some are different.

Look at the issues NJ and NY have always had with transportation issue across the Hudson that continue today. They are easily in the same region, but there are differences that make them not always get things done or get along on many projects.
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:42 PM
 
10,167 posts, read 17,117,165 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iPwn View Post
I've noticed when we debate the boundaries of regions, we have two camps - the state line 'purists', who think that say, the Bootheel of Missouri is part of the Midwest, and then the people who don't think so much in borders and believe that a state can be part of more than one region. To you, which is more logical?
Good question and thread topic!

My answer would be an unqualfied...sometimes!

Seriously, if I had to say one or the other, I would side with the camp that goes with that state boundaries DO matter.

Backtracking a little, though...the inter-state divisions become more important to mention in large states like Texas and California and/or those with unmistakable demographic contrasts (Florida, Virginia, New York, etc).

Back to the original question though, if it is either/or, then yes -- IMHO -- state lines do matter in the realm of drawing concrete regional boundaries.

Here is an example (obviously, Texas! LOL). There are clearly parts of Texas that share more of a cultural affinity with the true desert SW of New Mexico and Arizona than they do with even other parts of West Texas. And the Upper Texas panhandle is more akin to the true Plains Midwest (Kansas, Nebraska, etc) than the rest of the state.

BUT? Even in those areas, the residents (according to regional identification surveys) will more noteably identify with the South over that of the neighboring regions.

For instance, in the El Paso, Texas, area (about as non-Southern and solidly interior SW as it gets), almost 20% still said they lived in the South. In the Upper Texas panhandle, a plurality self-identified with the South.

Contrast that with that the percentages in, respectively, New Mexico and Kansas (the closest alternative states/regions) bordering residents went almost completely with West/Midwest (again, respectively).

So it seems that clearly something is at work here. That is to say, that even in the "least Southern" areas of Texas, natives still have a strong affinity -- or think they do -- with the American South. Whereas, just across the state lines? Kansans go with Midwest, and those from New Mexico go with West.

To sum it up (sorry for the ramble here! LOL), yes, state lines matter because -- if for no other reason -- it seems to matter for those who live within.
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kazoopilot View Post
State lines do matter, but they don't tell the whole story. It would make sense to say the western border of Nebraska is where the Midwest ends, but it would be silly to call the Missouri Bootheel or Portsmouth, Ohio Midwestern areas (they are obviously in the South). It varies.
I'm not following your logic with these examples. The MO bootheel did scream "South" when I visited there, but Nebraska's western panhandle screams "West" when I was there. Just like in TX, Houston screams "South" while El Paso screams "West".
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:28 PM
 
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I'm starting to believe state lines don't matter in theory. I am a firm believer in the megaregion theory and I believe these areas share distinct identities. The areas not in megaregions more than likely follow the state lines. However, in cases like the Texas pan handle, MO bootheel, etc. The megaregion theory may not apply. In this case I echo kazoopilot and Akehnaton. Basically, I'm saying the current boundaries we see today may not be accurate to cultural/regional associations.
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:15 AM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adavi215 View Post
I'm starting to believe state lines don't matter in theory. I am a firm believer in the megaregion theory and I believe these areas share distinct identities. The areas not in megaregions more than likely follow the state lines. However, in cases like the Texas pan handle, MO bootheel, etc. The megaregion theory may not apply. In this case I echo kazoopilot and Akehnaton. Basically, I'm saying the current boundaries we see today may not be accurate to cultural/regional associations.
i agree, i think sometimes they're on target, but sometimes they're far off. most often they seem slightly off.
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Old 12-20-2010, 10:53 AM
 
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I think it can easily change cultures within one state. Even Iowa, which as a reputation for probably being a very conforming and uniform state in its entirity is actually pretty different between the northwest portion of the state and the eastern portion of the state. The east has more cities, is more dense, more diverse, more democratic.

If that state can vary to a noticible degree, there are plenty of other states that can have MUCH more different identities.
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Old 12-20-2010, 01:26 PM
 
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I agree with the other posters here that it definitely depends. It seems that state lines DO make a difference but it's just one factor among several.

It does seem that, for example, Texans from all corners of Texas seem to have a strong sense of "Texan" identity -- I can't think of another state that has such a strong affinity within state lines as Texas. But on the other hand El Paso does seem to be a textbook case of city in one state (Texas) that seems a better fit for its neighbor (New Mexico). On the other hand, the "Little Texas" region of New Mexico really does seem like a virtual colony of West Texas, and I think most residents wouldn't be too shy to admit that they have more in common with Lubbock than with Santa Fe.

Far eastern Colorado (the Eastern Plains) is often brought up as an example of somewhere that's culturally more akin to its eastern neighbors in Kansas and Nebraska than in the Front Range metro areas or the mountains further west. I think there's truth to that, but at the same time the eastern plains region far more economically tied in with Denver than somewhere like Wichita or Lincoln -- in fact the western tier of both KS and NE are definitely more economically connected to Denver than the reverse. Part of the reason why it's fuzzy is simply that eastern Colorado and Western KS/NE have such a small, far-flung population. So that's a case where cultural affinities seem to flow one direction but economic affinities seem to flow the other way.
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