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Old 10-03-2013, 12:00 PM
 
Location: The canyon (with my pistols and knife)
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The cities of the "Midlands" are, from east to west, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Kansas City. It seems to me like these cities are all seen as outcasts to some degree.

People who live in cities with New England and Great Lakes cultural influences tend to see the Midlands cities as beneath them culturally and socioeconomically. Philadelphia and Baltimore are considered to be vastly inferior to New York and Boston. Cleveland sees itself as more important to Ohio than Columbus or Cincinnati, and considers Pittsburgh to be a city of inbred hillbillies. Indianapolis and St. Louis (but not Milwaukee) are supposedly where people who couldn't cut it in Chicago end up. The Twin Cities of Minnesota are seen as cutting-edge compared to dowdy old Kansas City.

On the other hand, many Southerners tend to look at any major metropolitan area north of Washington DC or Louisville with suspicion, or even antipathy in some cases -- and this includes the Midlands cities.

With New England, Great Lakes and Southern cultures being seen as dominant, has this left the Midlands cities out in the cold? When people talk about the best cities in the United States, they typically include New York, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago and the Twin Cities, and the fast-growing dynamos of Atlanta, Miami, Dallas and Houston. The Midlands cities are often seen as mediocre in comparison, even though they all have plenty of assets and amenities themselves. Sometimes it seems like a no-win situation for the cities along or near I-70, being considered "unsophisticated" compared to the cities along I-80, I-90 and I-94, and "obsolete" compared to the cities along I-10, I-20 and I-40.

Am I the only one who thinks that sometimes the Midlands gets unfairly treated like the "Land of Misfit Cities"?
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Maybe they're a cultural 'no-man's' land, but of course, historically it wasn't always the case. Philadelphia, St. Louis, Pittsburgh were all major thriving centres. The Great Lakes doesn't have much to boast about though - only Chicago is really seen as a nationally important/interesting city.
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnutella View Post
The cities of the "Midlands" are, from east to west, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Kansas City.
i've heard that term used in south carolina (to describe the columbia area) and i've heard it used in the UK. Never heard it used to refer to these cities, though.
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:17 PM
 
Location: Englewood, Near Eastside Indy
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Originally Posted by le roi View Post
i've never heard that term before.
I never have either, I don't think it has anything to do with the subject matter though.
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:50 PM
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Location: Western Massachusetts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnutella View Post
The cities of the "Midlands" are, from east to west, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, St. Louis and Kansas City. It seems to me like these cities are all seen as outcasts to some degree.

People who live in cities with New England and Great Lakes cultural influences tend to see the Midlands cities as beneath them culturally and socioeconomically. Philadelphia and Baltimore are considered to be vastly inferior to New York and Boston. Cleveland sees itself as more important to Ohio than Columbus or Cincinnati, and considers Pittsburgh to be a city of inbred hillbillies. Indianapolis and St. Louis (but not Milwaukee) are supposedly where people who couldn't cut it in Chicago end up. The Twin Cities of Minnesota are seen as cutting-edge compared to dowdy old Kansas City.
Pittsburgh gets better press than Cleveland these days.
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by le roi View Post
i've heard that term used in south carolina (to describe the columbia area) and i've heard it used in the UK. Never heard it used to refer to these cities, though.
Midland is the term for the group of dialects which spans the area, although it's seldom used to describe the cities themselves.

As to the OP, I don't think people lump these cities together, although there are strong linkages in terms of architecture, dialect, and culture. Really, I think there are two different groups in popular convention:

Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and Saint Louis are seen as part of the rust belt, They are linked with northern Rust-belt cities (Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit, Milwaukee, etc...) despite not sharing many commonalities besides a history of deindustrialization and a generally high level of segregation.

In contrast, Columbus, Indianapolis, and Kansas City are seen as "displaced sun-belt" cities. All three (but particularly Indianapolis) have huge swathes of suburban-style neighborhoods within the city proper, and a fairly high level of urban renewal which destroyed many of the 19th century neighborhoods in the cores of the city. They're probably fine places to live if you're looking for a suburban life, but not so much if you want a traditional urban environment (although both Columbus and Kansas city do have some pockets)

As Nei noted, Pittsburgh's reputation is beginning to rise nationwide. I hate to be a cynic, but I think it has to do with this:

Pittsburgh - 65% white
Columbus - 62% white
Kansas City - 59% white
Indianapolis - 58% white
Cincinnati - 49% white
St. Louis - 44% white
Philadelphia - 41% white
Baltimore - 29% white

It's been noted that the popular cities for gentrifiers nationwide tend to be those which are fairly white, or at least have a small black population (Portland, Austin, Minneapolis, Boston, San Francisco, etc). DC is the only main exception to this. Demographically speaking, Pittsburgh isn't much like other Midland cities, because it never moved to around half of its population being black. The gap is greater when you consider if the city limits of Columbus, Kansas City, and Indianapolis were as constrained as Pittsburgh, they'd probably be majority-minority or close to it.
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:52 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Western Massachusetts
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post

It's been noted that the popular cities for gentrifiers nationwide tend to be those which are fairly white, or at least have a small black population (Portland, Austin, Minneapolis, Boston, San Francisco, etc). DC is the only main exception to this. Demographically speaking, Pittsburgh isn't much like other Midland cities, because it never moved to around half of its population being black. The gap is greater when you consider if the city limits of Columbus, Kansas City, and Indianapolis were as constrained as Pittsburgh, they'd probably be majority-minority or close to it.
Good post. Though, both NYC and Chicago aren't mostly white (and both have large black populations) and have seen gentrification, though they're much larger than the rest. And even with annexing, Kansas City has a very high violent crime rate. Ditto with Indianopolis, though not quite as extreme.
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Old 10-04-2013, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
Good post. Though, both NYC and Chicago aren't mostly white (and both have large black populations) and have seen gentrification, though they're much larger than the rest.
True. With Chicago it functionally matters little. Chicago is functionally two different cities. In the North, it's overwhelmingly white, with a sprinkling of Asians and Puerto Rican neighborhoods on the Northwest side now being gentried. The remainder of the city (outside the areas right around the Loop and the University of Chicago) is still an area where few gentrifiers ever even visit.

New York is a more complicated case. However, I think you can say even there generally white neighborhoods were preferentially gentrified before turning to Latino or Black neighborhoods with good transit access. Places like Williamsburg and Park Slope never had large-scale white flight before they became trendy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
And even with annexing, Kansas City has a very high violent crime rate. Ditto with Indianopolis, though not quite as extreme.
True. The city centers must be pretty crappy. In general though sun-belt type cities offer deceptive statistics, because so much of what would be considered "suburb" in some regions of the country are amalgamated in.
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:48 PM
 
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Washington DC, and San Francisco CA, are 2 examples of cities where the core city only comprises a small share (only 15% to 20%) of their respective metro's population. Maybe Boston MA and St. Louis MO would fit in this category too.

Contrast that with, say, NY City, whose 5 boroughs' comprise perhaps 40% of its metro population. Or Jacksonville FL, Oklahoma City, or Toronto ON. The presence of "suburban-like" neighborhoods contained within these places' city limits, greatly affects their rankings in socio-economic and crime indexes, when compared with other metro areas having very small, compressed city-limits.
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:55 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Western Massachusetts
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Unclear what you mean by "suburban-like" neighborhoods, but if you mean by population density, NYC doesn't very many suburban-like neighborhoods. Proportionally, only about 10% of NYC's housing stock is detached houses. Lower than any city you mentioned. Toronto used be similar in size to DC or San Francsico until annexed its inner suburbs. But that lowered its crime and socio-economic index, as the old city is wealthier than the annexed areas, which is populated mostly by recent immigrants.
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