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Old 09-21-2016, 08:01 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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I have noted both in this forum as well as city vs. city (and also the urban planning subforum) a big debate upon what "the city" actually comprises. As far as I can see people use a range of defintions:

1. The core municipality within a given metropolitan area. The positive of this definition is that it's easily definable. The negative is that city limits vary considerably, so a core city in the Northeast will be quite different for the most part from a core city in the Southwest. There are also examples like the Twin Cities in Minnesota where a metro has two core cities, or like Hampton Roads in Virginia where it's difficult to point to any dominant core city.

2. Another set of definitions defines a city as being the generally older mixed-use and pre-WW2 neighborhoods generally found around the urban core, basically using "the city" a synonymous as the core group of urban neighborhoods, and setting this grouping apart from the generally larger suburban grouping of neighborhoods found further out. The problem here is in the case of many newer metropolitan areas the actual "city" portion of a city would be vanishingly small - in some cases limited to the central business district.

3. A third set of definitions uses the term "city" to be synonymous with metropolitan area, or even consolidated statistical area. This is helpful for comparing say the overall economic power of different regions. But it tends to fail the smell test as to lived experience on the ground. For example, I've seen people on this forum claim that DC and Baltimore, which share a CSA, are in fact the "same city" when if you live in one you pretty clearly live your life largely separated from the other.

Regardless, I'm not saying any one is better than the other. I'm just trying to get a feel which one people are most apt to use.

Last edited by eschaton; 09-21-2016 at 08:22 AM..
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:10 AM
 
29,962 posts, read 27,470,347 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
For example, I've seen people on this forum claim that DC and Baltimore, which share a CSA, are in fact the "same City" when if you live in one or the other you pretty clearly live your life largely separated from the other.
I've never seen that...that's a VERY weird claim.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:33 AM
 
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As a native New Yorker, I've used "The City" to mean Manhattan alone, as well as the city as a whole, but NOTHING outside the city limits.

When I lived in Chicago, "Chicago" meant city proper. Chicagoland was the metro.


Boston is the only city I've lived in where I truly believe that the metro is the "real city", but even then, I really only include Cambridge, Brookline, Somerville.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:40 AM
 
Location: The Springs
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I had an acquaintance years ago that referred to SF as "The City". That's been the only time I've heard it used as such aside from NYC.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:44 AM
 
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This is something that I brought up in some other thread here recently - I think what you are talking about is the true urban boundaries of a city/region, but I don't know of a measurement that actually tries to capture that. The census urban area is not the same because it includes many areas which are suburban by pretty much anyone's standards.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:46 AM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
For example, I've seen people on this forum claim that DC and Baltimore, which share a CSA, are in fact the "same city" when if you live in one you pretty clearly live your life largely separated from the other.
Nahh.. I'd say it feels like you have easy access to 2 cities for the price of one, if you live in part of Maryland equidistant between DC and Baltimore.

But most residents of Montgomery County and Prince George's County consider DC to be their city.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:50 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
Nahh.. I'd say it feels like you're getting 2 cities for the price of one, if you live in part of Maryland equidistant between DC and Baltimore.
Or you're getting no city for the price of one.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:53 AM
 
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Anywhere in the greater Chicagoland area always refers to the City of Chicago as "The City". It's used on all the regional news outlets, etc.

People in the suburbs who are doing something downtown or going out would always say they're "going into the city".

Having few suburban or sprawl areas in the city and having such a difference in built area/density between the suburbs and places those people visit within Chicago makes it a pretty obvious distinction and difference between the two.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:57 AM
 
1,586 posts, read 1,546,853 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gladhands View Post
As a native New Yorker, I've used "The City" to mean Manhattan alone, as well as the city as a whole, but NOTHING outside the city limits.

When I lived in Chicago, "Chicago" meant city proper. Chicagoland was the metro.


Boston is the only city I've lived in where I truly believe that the metro is the "real city", but even then, I really only include Cambridge, Brookline, Somerville.
I was going to say pretty much exactly this, minus the part about Chicago (though I've lived there, too). But I want to elaborate: I really consider "the city" to be a contiguous urban area. In Boston there's no separation or significant decline in density between the city proper and Cambridge, Somerville and even Brookline, so all those places would be "the city."

In New York, Hoboken and Jersey City are very dense, but the fact that you have to cross a river from Manhattan and can't even get there via the subway (the PATH is too much of a niche line) keeps them from being "the city." Plus they don't really look like New York, which I find fascinating because they're right there.

In Chicago places like Evanston and Oak Park would potentially qualify, but you have to cross too many areas of decreasing density to get there. I once walked from Lakeview to Chinatown -- it was quite a walk, but I never left a genuinely urban area. Nobody's going to walk from Lakeview to Evanston even though it's approximately the same distance.
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Old 09-21-2016, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Jersey City
2,702 posts, read 994,736 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gladhands View Post
As a native New Yorker, I've used "The City" to mean Manhattan alone, as well as the city as a whole, but NOTHING outside the city limits.

When I lived in Chicago, "Chicago" meant city proper. Chicagoland was the metro.


Boston is the only city I've lived in where I truly believe that the metro is the "real city", but even then, I really only include Cambridge, Brookline, Somerville.
Transplant here, but ^^ this for me too.
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