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Old 09-18-2016, 04:41 PM
Location: Alexandria, Commonwealth of Virginia
1,609 posts, read 1,106,207 times
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Here on City-Data, we often rank states vs. states, cities vs. cities, etc. But how would you rank your own state's internal regions based on general desirability (quality of life, arts, culture, cuisine, liveliness, economy, etc).

For example, take Virginia. I got a little bored and decided to make a map of regions for Virginia. I guessed a bit on some of these but, in general, these are how I see the regional splits of Virginia.

Northern Virginia: Some would say it ends at Prince William County. Others go down to Fredericksburg. In choosing what to add, I basically took the Media Market, took out Westmoreland (which is clearly Northern Neck) and then added Greene and Madison Counties to make the shape a little nicer. I think Greene is probably more in Charlottesville's sphere of influence while Madison is kind of a no man's land. But since Culpeper and Rappahannock were added to Washington's MSA in 2013, I think Madison's days of being outside the metro area are numbered.

Chesapeake: Rural, large black population, with little pull from either Richmond or Washington.

Hampton Roads: The easiest area to define. I was torn on whether to include Southampton County and Franklin, but opted against it. I think Williamsburg is also in the Hampton Roads extended area, but I see it distinct from the area, personally, since it traces its history to the 1600s, not to the naval expansion of military power during the late 19th, early 20th century.

Crownlands: Okay, I consider this area the hearth of Virginia. So this would include Jamestown, Williamsburg, Petersburg, Richmond and the vast majority of plantations during the early phase of Virginia's colonial history. I separate this from Hampton Roads because the regions have distinctively different histories. Crownlands traces its history to the Colonial Era where tobacco and indigo were king. This region is increasingly becoming 'The Richmond Metro', however, so a better name might just be 'Capital Region' or 'Greater Richmond.' I went with Crownlands because it sounds nicer.

Piedmont: Rural, lots of small towns, with sporadic medium-sized cities like Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Danville.

Shenandoah: The part of Appalachia that is still growing. This includes Blacksburg, Roanoke and Harrisonburg which have done rather well in recent years. Therefore, this area has a different feel from SW Virginia.

Appalachia: The part of Appalachia that is dying. This area has traditionally felt much more different than the rest of Virginia. And the culture is distinctively different from that of Roanoke.

In terms of desirability:
1) Northern Virginia: mostly economic, but for an urban experience, Northern Virginia is where you go
2) Piedmont: for those who want a calm side to life, this area is rural, bucolic, quaint and generally safe
3) Crownlands: Richmond is booming but the rest of the region is a mix of rich suburbs and dying industrial towns
4) Hampton Roads: Lots of defense jobs but has curiously slow growth. So I dinged it because if it was desirable, it should be growing like North Carolina
5) Shenandoah: The cities are booming, the rest is a mix of dying mountain towns and leisure resorts. In general, this region is a grab-bag. If you love the mountains, however, you can't find a more prettier part of Virginia than Shenandoah
6) Chesapeake: the lost corner of Virginia. Very few think of this Chesapeake/Northern Neck/Southern Delmarva area. There are no jobs, pay is low. But it offers a decent quality of life and some good food
7) Appalachia: There's little hope for Appalachia. Jobs are scarce, unemployment is high, population is declining, low education. Virginia should pump a lot of money here frankly.
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Old 09-18-2016, 06:36 PM
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Believe it or not, tiny Rhode Island has regions. If the state were part of Connecticut or Massachusetts, it would absolutely be considered one region, but we're still independent over here. The cool thing about Rhode Island is that as small as they are, the individual regions are actually pretty distinctive, even if I can easily commute more than halfway across the state to get to work every morning.

I couldn't find a perfect map of Rhody's generally accepted regions and I'm not going to make one, so you'll just have to make do with this very big map for a very little state, which was the closest I could find:


My rankings:

1. Newport County: Rhode Island's tourist mecca, with one of America's most historic cities in Newport (population 25,000, but one of the biggest cities in the 13 colonies), as well as a number of other stunningly beautiful seaside towns.

2. East Bay: Consists of just three towns: Bristol, one of the state's prettiest; Barrington, one of the state's most affluent commuter towns; and Warren, a funky town that's emerged in recent years as possibly the state's biggest restaurant destination outside of Providence. And this being the Ocean State, it's all on the water. You can't really argue with that.

3. South County: The Ocean State's beach destination, including some of New England's best shoreline and a number of charming villages. Plus as everyone in the state knows, Taylor Swift lives here.

4. Greater Providence: On the map as simply "Providence." This one is really hard to place. It includes some of the best things about the state (the awesome parts of Providence) but also some of the state's least-desirable areas, as well as some fairly bland suburbia. Providence is happening enough to keep it from going lower.

5. Block Island: It's somewhat sacrilegious to rank it down here, but Block Island is low key and, I understand, virtually deserted during the winter, which isn't true of the coastal areas you don't need a ferry to reach. Still, a beautiful, fun island destination that the Nature Conservancy has named one of the "Last Great Places."

6. West Bay: This is what the map just calls "Warwick," also sometimes referred to as "Warwick and the West Bay." Warwick is the state's second-biggest city (though if you close your eyes and think "city," you're not imagining Warwick, which is more a decentralized collection of suburbs) and has a good deal to offer, but most of this area just doesn't have the charms of the regions above. Don't get me wrong, there's some great stuff in the West Bay, and by some definitions, I live there (albeit right on the cusp of No. 3 South County).

7. Blackstone Valley: Honestly a bit of an underrated part of the state, with some charming woodsy neighborhoods and my favorite state park. But all you have to do is look at the map above to understand why you don't get as much of the "Ocean State" feel here as you do in the rest of the state. Out west, this region includes the state's least-dense towns.

Some tough calls here, because I really do like all these regions a lot. And whichever one you're in, you're never very far from the others.

Last edited by JMT; 09-19-2016 at 06:50 AM..
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Old 09-18-2016, 10:33 PM
Location: Savannah GA
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Here are Georgia's. Obviously from an economic standpoint, Metro Atlanta (where I'm from) dominates the state. And of course, Savannah (where I live) and the coast are cultural and tourism behemoths. But every region of Georgia has something to offer as far as cities, small towns, attractions, culture, unique geography etc goes.

I'll let others come along and rank them / fill in more detail. But I'm partial to the Historic High Country as well as the Presidential Pathways.

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Old 09-18-2016, 11:51 PM
Location: Texas
3,254 posts, read 1,631,010 times
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I am from Colorado and until recently was living there but now in Arizona again.


Those are the regions of Colorado

#1. Northwestern Colorado: The lions share of the ski resorts are in this part of the state. Very, very health and fitness oriented with a huge emphasis on high-nutrition foods and working out to the maximum. European Cars, condos, affluence. Has a big granola mentality.

#2. North-Central Colorado: Fort Collins and Boulder. Health-oriented, healthy, sports-oriented, extremely clean and safe, very community-oriented and organic. Nice scenery with lakes, foothills and mountains. Heavy university presence with lots of new companies.

#3. Metro Denver: The epicenter of amenities in the state: Lots of employers, hospitals, traffic, density, retail. Doesn't fit the Colorado stereotype with large swaths that are flat terrain and much of it has a very arid, unappealing scenery also.

Metro Denver is basically the economic powerhouse that is the backbone of Colorado. It has gained more jobs since 2010 then the 2nd largest metropolitan area has in jobs total.

#4. Northeastern Colorado: Largest city is Greeley. Conservative, traditional, family-oriented, not as transient, well-run and stable. One of the largest agricultural and mining areas in the country.

#5. West Central Colorado: Largest city is Grand Junction. The part of the state is isolated, clean, rugged, self-reliant and cold in the winter. Unique looking mountains like bookcliffs and lots of canyons and valleys.

If one is in Grand Junction they have good access to the resorts without the traffic and Grand Junction itself has a huge amount of retail, hotels for it's size.

#6. Southwestern Colorado: Durango, Ouray, Telluride. Isolated, lush, clean with fresh air. Feels less commercialized then the northern ski resort towns and much more off the path.

#7. Pikes Peak Region which is Colorado Springs area: Libertarian, fiscally conservative, generic culture with great scenery, outdated, introverted. Some of the nicest weather in the state winter's that are as mild as other parts of the front range and some of the best summers in the nation besides the daily rain and occasional flooding the summer that Denver doesn't get as much.

To the regions credit is does have a city in the mountains feel to it. It is also very lush by western city standards in the summer. One of the few larger cities in the nation where many people don't have air conditioning and the summer nights tend to be in the lower and mid 50s.

#8. Northeastern Colorado: Stuck in a time-warp, extremely conservative, very few newcomers into the area, middle-income. The area has rough winters also. Lots of abandoned homes from the 19th century and trucks from the middle of the century. Lots of large farms and feed lots.

#9. Southeastern Colorado: One of the poorest regions in America, one of the highest rates of illicit drug use in the country. Lots of social-problems and hardly any jobs outside of the large farms in the area. They do have very mild winters with very little snow though and hot summer with cool nights that gives the melons a unique sweet flavor.

Last edited by lovecrowds; 09-19-2016 at 12:00 AM..
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Old 09-19-2016, 12:44 AM
Location: Hampton Roads, VA.
867 posts, read 1,087,385 times
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Op, I would say your interpretation of Virginia is kinda off. Williamsburg has always been a part of Hampton Roads/Tidewater as it, along with Jamestown and Yorktown form the Historic Triangle of Virginia/America and North Hampton Roads/The Peninsula/Newport News-Williamsburg area. Hampton also professes to be the "oldest city" ...it is the location of the 1st Landing of Africans in English America. Hampton Roads IS the coastal and thus The COLONIAL area of Virginia. SMH.

You would have a better argument placing Lynchburg, Charlottesville, and some of what you have labeled as "Piedmont" into the Central Virginia area that you have labeled "Crowlands" with Richmond, though that is questionable as well. Danville is also generally considered Southside Virginia but whatever...

Lmao, judging from the ridiculous amounts of land/population awarded to "Crowlands"??? and northern Virginia and other "areas" in comparison to "Hampton Roads" (which should be atleast 1.7million)...it should be understood that Hampton Roads/Tidewater is also a "cultural region" and metro and not just some overinflated designated area. Also, while most people will move where the jobs are...aside from "work" that doesn't mean that people actually desire to live in the areas they may find employment in.

Last edited by 757Cities Southsider; 09-19-2016 at 01:28 AM..
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Old 09-19-2016, 05:12 AM
Location: The canyon (with my pistols and knife)
13,217 posts, read 17,948,587 times
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Originally Posted by Newsboy View Post
Here are Georgia's. Obviously from an economic standpoint, Metro Atlanta (where I'm from) dominates the state. And of course, Savannah (where I live) and the coast are cultural and tourism behemoths. But every region of Georgia has something to offer as far as cities, small towns, attractions, culture, unique geography etc goes.

I'll let others come along and rank them / fill in more detail. But I'm partial to the Historic High Country as well as the Presidential Pathways.

Here's how I'd rank those regions of Georgia:

1. Atlanta Metro
2. Georgia's Coast
3. Northeast Georgia Mountains
4. Historic Heartland
5. Historic High Country
6. Classic South
7. Plantation Trace
8. Magnolia Midlands
9. Presidential Pathways

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Old 09-19-2016, 07:44 AM
Location: Tennessee
425 posts, read 292,953 times
Reputation: 732

I am originally from Ohio, so I will rank the five regions.

1. Central: This region includes Columbus. The State Capital and Ohio State are huge economic drivers of this region. Anecdotally, many of my friends left Cleveland to go to school and establish careers here due to the growth.
2. Southwest: Includes Cincinnati and Dayton. This region seems to do well with jobs. I also like the area a lot. Closer to other regional cities that you can get to in a day's drive such as Nashville, Indy, St. Louis, etc. The Ohio River valley is very beautiful.
3. Northeast: Beautiful Lake Erie shores. Cleveland is a city on the rise but still recovering from it's manufacturing past where many jobs were lost. Very cold and snowy winters can be hard, but Summer and Fall are fantastic for weather.
4. Northwest: Toledo. Other than that I am pretty unfamiliar with the area. I have visited Tiffin, OH for college a few times and it seemed like farmland USA to me.
5. Southeast: The most economically depressed area of Ohio. Least job growth, lowest high school and college education rates. The Appalachian area of Ohio.

On a humorous note, this map is a more cultural representation of Ohio

Last edited by KY_Transplant; 09-19-2016 at 07:55 AM..
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Old 09-19-2016, 11:28 AM
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I do a breakdown of Michigan for population estimates and this is how I break the state up:

It's not perfect there are a few counties that are just hard to place. In terms of ranking them it really depends on what the criteria is. I'll rank them by population gain.

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Old 09-19-2016, 11:51 AM
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Default NJ regions

And here is NJ
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Old 09-19-2016, 11:52 AM
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Massachusetts has
1) Greater Boston (any town within 128, and on the watershed on inner Boston Harbor)
2) The North Shore (Lynn-Newbury), really quite diverse, from Lynn, one of the poorer cities in the state to Manchester, one of the richest, the only tie they have is the Atlantic Ocean
3) Merrimack Valley: includes all the mill towns along or along tributaries of the Merrimack River. Almost entirely working/middle class, except for Andover. Newburyport/Salisbury is sometimes lumped in with the Merrimack Valley sometimes with the North Shore,
4) Metrowest: Between Rt. 2 and 95, the richest part of the State.
5) South Shore: the southern areas along Massachsetts bay to the Cape Cod Canal, less urban than the North Shore
6) Cape Cod and the Islands, anything east of the Canal, vacationland.
7) South Coast: From the Canal to Rt. 95 along Buzzards Bay/Atlantic Ocean/Narragansett bay. Includes Fall River and New Bedford
8) Central Mass- anything between 495 and the CT River Valley
9) Western Mass: The Connecticut River Valley, were people actually live in the Western part of the state.
10) Berkshires: Anything between the NYS line and the CT Valley, almost entirely rural.
I have no clue what the Taunton/Brockton area would be called, its kind of a hole between the South Coast, South Shore and the Boston area.
NYS has
1) Long Island (Suffolk+Nassau County)
2) NYC
3) Hudson Valley, North of Westchester to Albany
4) Adirondacks: basically no one lives there, but pretty much Albany to Canada, west to almost Lake Ontario
5) CNY: Syracuse/Watertown area
6) Southern Tier: areas along the PA border
7) Western NY: Buffalo+Rochester metro regions the Finger lakes are generally considered a region, but are split between CNY and WNY.
These are more of a list than a ranking.
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