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Old 07-08-2012, 08:37 AM
Location: Chicago
5,799 posts, read 6,488,469 times
Reputation: 5273


Which metropolitan areas in the nation are the most disjointed and which are the most cohesive?

First off, this is not a "vs." thread. I'm assuming no good or bad. No better, worse, nor best, worst. just an assessment of how these metro areas function.

My spin? (strictly in the category of IMHO)


BAY AREA: There may be nothing like it. Areas with two major cities (Mpls/StP, Dal/FW, etc.) are disjointed. when you have three....San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, you've hit the jackpot. Then manage to put the biggest body of water inside any metro area, San Francisco Bay, and throw in vast changes in elevation and you have a pretty split up place. The Bay Area doesn't even have suburbs...just subregions that join the mix with the three cities: Marin and the North Bay, East Bay, the Peninsula, Silicon Valley/South Bay, the inland region beyond the Berkeley Hills, Wine Country, etc. The one thing that seems to join them all (if one exists) is the incredible aura of the region.

DETROIT: Sadly this is one that falls in the category of city/suburban divide made tragic by the inclusion of race and poverty. This would be the one example of detrimental I would come up with. Hard to find good things when city and suburbs are at such odds with each other.

NEW YORK: NYC itself divides into many different worlds of each borough. And in boroughs like Queens and Staten Island, numerous neighborhoods are more like towns and villages. The split of the metro area into New York/New Jersey is a factor as are the distances between Long Island and those portions of the metro area on the mainland. In so many ways, Manhattan really is an island on to itself.

LOS ANGELES: Much like New York. LA itself as a city is not very unified and has those same "towns within th e city as New York. The valley is cut off from the basin and the harbor is far flung. All this transfers to the LA area which is sprawling and not overly interconnected. Public transportation issues down through the years have kept much of the divide. Metro LA doesn't so much as ends as it mixes with other parts (like San Diego) of Southern California.

WASHINGTON: It's unique because the city is district. Maryland and Virignia suburbs differ and once (like Detroit) race and poverty was an issue. the closeness of Baltimore affects cohesion.


CHICAGO: for a large metro area, it tends to be pretty cohesive. Chicago is the ultimate "concentric ring" city as it grew outward from the Loop core. There is a strong relationship between city and suburbs and suburbanites readily use the city's offerings. Low marks would be that the metro area crosses state lines into Indiana and Wisconsin, but they are minimal when compared with so many bi-state metro areas (StL, Cin, Phil, NYC, KC)

MILWAUKEE: A smaller version of the city to its south; more cohesive due to its smaller size and entirely being in Wisconsin. Milw's core is easily accessible from throughout the metro area.

INDIANAPOLIS: Combined city/county with a much more homogenous population than Miami/Dade, along with far less complexity.
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:18 AM
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I agree.
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:33 AM
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Metropolitan transit agencies are the common thread among cohesive metropolitan areas. With that, the most cohesive are...

- The DC metro lets you know that you are in the DC metro, and creates the defining characteristic between what is considered part of the metro, and what is not(though it may be part of the larger less cohesive greater region).

Boston, same as above

Philly- DelVal is slightly different in that it is a tri-state so it is less cohesive on a regional level. Its broken down officially into three metropolitan divisions anchored by Philly, Wilmington, and Camden; Trenton should be the fourth, but gets incorrectly associated with NYC. The Philly metro itself(Philly, MontCo, Bucks, DelCo, and Chester) is very cohesive for the same reasons as the metros above. SEPTA is its defining characteristic, The rest of the Delaware Valley is not as cohesive.

SF bay has cohesion via Bart, but it doesn't serve SJ, which is a major economic player, it loses points for that.

Less cohesive metros have multiple agencies running their transit or none to speak of

NYC- not very cohesive
Chicago- again, multiple agencies so not very cohesive
LA- I don't know enough about, but it seems fairly disjointed.

The rest of the Sunbelt metros are not really cohesive at all.
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