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View Poll Results: What is the minimum population a city can have to be considered a "real city"?
500,000 38 36.89%
1 million 24 23.30%
2 million 15 14.56%
3 million 4 3.88%
Other 22 21.36%
Voters: 103. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-29-2013, 05:07 AM
 
Location: Baltimore / Montgomery County, MD
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Layout and feel. Jacksonville has over 700K people but its not a real city, its flat out country.. meanwhile Baltimore has 621K people and is a real city.
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:54 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nineties Flava View Post
Being a real city doesn't have that much to do with the population count IMO, it has more to do with its layout and feel. If it's densely built with pedestrians in mind (not cars) and it has a well-defined city center that draws people from other parts of the city as well as people from other surrounding towns for work/entertainment then it's a real city IMO. Per my definition I'd consider Berkeley just as much of a real city as San Francisco or Oakland even though it's only 114,000 people; it's densely built and draws people from the surrounding region.
Agreed.

To use an extreme example, consider Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A population of just under 60,000, but virtually the whole thing is densely packed with rowhouses, in a tight, pedestrian-friendly street grid. So it comes across as a real city, albeit a small one.

On the other hand, Arlington, Texas has over 370,000 people. But it's an "all suburb" city, with no well defined urban core, and no mass transit at all. Hence it lacks any sense of place.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:05 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
11,884 posts, read 10,383,727 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nineties Flava View Post
Being a real city doesn't have that much to do with the population count IMO, it has more to do with its layout and feel. If it's densely built with pedestrians in mind (not cars) and it has a well-defined city center that draws people from other parts of the city as well as people from other surrounding towns for work/entertainment then it's a real city IMO. Per my definition I'd consider Berkeley just as much of a real city as San Francisco or Oakland even though it's only 114,000 people; it's densely built and draws people from the surrounding region.

EDIT: I also agree with annie_himself that real cities have self-contained economies.

This^
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:32 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
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Probably between 2-3 million. Think Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Denver, Vegas,...

I think that's the minimum required for a real city feel. Although New Orleans does it with somewhat less.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:34 AM
 
Location: Austin, Texas
3,093 posts, read 4,135,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nineties Flava View Post
Being a real city doesn't have that much to do with the population count IMO, it has more to do with its layout and feel. If it's densely built with pedestrians in mind (not cars) and it has a well-defined city center that draws people from other parts of the city as well as people from other surrounding towns for work/entertainment then it's a real city IMO.
That's a silly way to measure a "real city" imo, because it's based basically on characteristics of cities that grew before the automobile became popular. That can be one factor, but not the only factor.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:36 AM
 
Location: Missouri
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I grew up in a small city with around 50,000 people, some of the surrounding citires had more. To me 500,000 seems enough, maybe 1 million sometime in the future.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:39 AM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC (in my mind)
7,946 posts, read 15,042,083 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nineties Flava View Post
Being a real city doesn't have that much to do with the population count IMO, it has more to do with its layout and feel. If it's densely built with pedestrians in mind (not cars) and it has a well-defined city center that draws people from other parts of the city as well as people from other surrounding towns for work/entertainment then it's a real city IMO. Per my definition I'd consider Berkeley just as much of a real city as San Francisco or Oakland even though it's only 114,000 people; it's densely built and draws people from the surrounding region.

EDIT: I also agree with annie_himself that real cities have self-contained economies.
I don't completely agree because the pedestrian-centric "hipster" fad is relatively recent and prior to it people would have had no problem saying an auto-centric city was a "real city." Asheville, NC is much as you describe Berkeley. It's dense, organic, funky, and draws people, but I would still call it a town.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:49 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
11,884 posts, read 10,383,727 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bchris02 View Post
I don't completely agree because the pedestrian-centric "hipster" fad is relatively recent and prior to it people would have had no problem saying an auto-centric city was a "real city."
That's not true. You think everything is about hipsters .

Most people on the East Coast have been saying Phoenix and the like aren't "real cities" for a while now. Obviously a lot of people don't agree with that but in many ways I do.
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:55 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LauraC View Post
An article of incorporation distinguishes a city from a town.
Towns here are incorporated.
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Limbo
6,475 posts, read 6,184,293 times
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For me, a metro over 2.5 mil is sufficient, but I think that number comes from the places I have lived or visited -- all large places.

If I lived in some hamlet in the middle-of-nowhere, Iowa, I might consider the Des Moines metro 'large' just because I haven't lived or visited somewhere even larger.
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