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View Poll Results: Ranked by overall influence, which is correct:
Kalamazoo, Saginaw, Flint 3 23.08%
Kalamazoo, Flint, Saginaw 4 30.77%
Saginaw, Kalamazoo, Flint 0 0%
Saginaw, Flint, Kalamazoo 0 0%
Flint, Kalamazoo, Saginaw 6 46.15%
Flint, Saginaw, Kalamazoo 0 0%
I think Ann Arbor and/or Lansing rank BELOW any of these: Kalamazoo, Saginaw, Flint (Please include your ranking) 0 0%
I do not agree with the above urban area groupings/assumptions RE: Battle Creek, Bay City, and/or Midland 0 0%
Voters: 13. You may not vote on this poll

 
 
Old 05-21-2021, 05:17 AM
 
Location: Louisville
5,017 posts, read 5,260,846 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michigan91 View Post
That's OK. I am just arguing against the idea that MBS has become less cohesive. It's a little off-topic.
I think it's a fair point. I've definitely spent time in all three cities over the decades but I am least familiar with them so it was more of an impression than anything. Thanks for your feed back.
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Old 05-21-2021, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Central Mass
3,887 posts, read 3,998,905 times
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The question is, what is meant by influence.

Politics? It's
1 - Detroit
2 - the rest of the state.

Social/cultural influence?
1a - Detroit
1b - Ann Arbor
2 - Lansing
3 - GR
4 - Flint
5 - MBS

(you could argue #2 cultural influence on Michigan is Chicago)
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Old 05-21-2021, 08:11 AM
 
Location: Harrisburg, PA
909 posts, read 727,297 times
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Scorpio I think influence is most strongly correlated with economy, politics, culture/tourism, logistics in that general order. That's my take, there is no correct answer.

I would disagree with your assessments placing GR so low. It is the clear #2 in Michigan. Maybe it does not have the big universities as the others. GR definitely has a much larger economy and is much larger in scale, which easily propels it to the #2 spot IMO. I wasn't really open to debating the top 4 cities in Michigan. Though if you feel Lansing or Ann Arbor rank below Flint, Kalamazoo, or Saginaw - that I would like to hear. I would almost instantly disagree with it, but maybe someone feels that way, and I would be interested in their take.

You made no mention of Kalamazoo or Battle Creek either which are part of this thread.

What is your overall ranking including all factors/criteria, not just social/culture? Interested in discussing the # 5/6/7 spots.
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Old 05-21-2021, 08:16 AM
 
Location: Louisville
5,017 posts, read 5,260,846 times
Reputation: 8965
Quote:
Originally Posted by g500 View Post
mjlo, wow, legendary response. If nobody else responds to this thread, you made it worthwhile. My updated ranking goes:

1. Detroit
2. Grand Rapids
3. Lansing
4. Ann Arbor
5. Flint
6. Kalamazoo
7. Saginaw (includes Bay City)
8. Midland
9. Traverse City
10. Battle Creek
11. Muskegon



2010 Urban Area Population: (national rank, name, population)
11 Detroit 3,734,090
70 Grand Rapids 569,935 (excludes 299 Holland, MI 99,941, 27.4 miles away, which would boost GR to #61 at 669,876)
106 Flint 356,218
118 Lansing 313,532
125 Ann Arbor 306,022
173 Kalamazoo 209,703
253 Saginaw 126,265
363 Battle Creek 78,393
390 Bay City 70,585
450 Midland 59,014

Combining Saginaw+Bay City 196,850

Total Taxable Income by MSA 2016: (national rank, name, total in thousands of USD)
15 Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI 21,778,439
56 Grand Rapids-Kentwood, MI 4,588,506
99 Ann Arbor, MI 2,404,431
115 Lansing-East Lansing, MI 1,866,897
162 Flint, MI 1,175,932
166 Kalamazoo-Portage, MI 1,154,316
243 Midland, MI 619,948
252 Saginaw, MI 555,846
340 Battle Creek, MI 364,691
379 Bay City, MI 305,405

Combining Saginaw+Bay City 861,251

Bonus:
214 Traverse City, MI 760,214.00 (Why is this so high for how small it is? Must be some old money up there)
312 Muskegon, MI 421,430.00
I've been a student of Michigan demography for a long time so naturally these kinds of conversations interest me.

Traverse City is artificially small on paper. Even the census reporter tool puts it's urbanized cluster at 46k people, when in reality there are about 70k people living within a 10 mile radius of its downtown. It anchors an immediate region of about 150k people, and is the financial and cultural center for the northern 3rd of the lower peninsula, as well as portions of the eastern UP. That's a market of about a million people. As you see it has the 4th busiest airport in the state, in like with a metro of about 500k. It also has the retail offerings of a metro that size. Per it's economy because of it's position as the financial/corporate center for the northern part of the state it does have higher than average incomes. The Grand Traverse region is also home to some very elite summer visitors(plenty of major celebrities, politicians, corporate power brokers have giant summer homes along the bays). It is probably one of the more over achieving population centers in the Midwest.

Do you use the Census reporter tool for checking the most updated estimates on urban areas and MSA populations? Based on your interests I would think you do but I can't remember if I've seen it in your posts. Lots of great info.

https://censusreporter.org/profiles/...rbanized-area/

I've spent time in the Susquehanna Valley for work so i'm familiar with the clusters of cities and it's understated urbanity. Per your larger conversation about combining urban areas I think it's relevant. The question Id have is what do you think is the best threshold to consider some separate vs combined? IMO if there's no break in the contiguous development it should not be separated even if a satellite is pulling orbit from the main UA. The distance between cities I gave was downtown to downtown, obviously the development would end further out and they may actually appear closer than that.

For instance the Grand Rapids metro is about as confusing as Harrisburg and it's neighbors. The separation between the boundaries of The GR and Holland urban areas is about 6miles. The separation between the Holland and Grand Haven/Muskegon UA is about 7 miles. The separation between the MKG and GR urban areas is about 20 miles. Together they form a triangle and there's substantial infill happening in the middle of it:

The influence Grand Rapids has on the other two areas is more significant than it would otherwise appear on paper. Quite a bit of the revitalization investment happening in Muskegon is due to is proximity to Grand Rapids. Ironically a significant employment base in Muskegon actually commutes into Ottawa County via Grand Haven. Muskegon on its own would be struggling more similar to a place like Battle Creek or Bay City and may actually be even less significant of a UA than it appears on paper.

Conversely Detroit has several exurbs that have developed into their own urban clusters, but not enough to be fully joined with the main urban area. When you look at the region as a whole Detroit absolutely dwarfs and dominates the southeastern corner of Michigan with several satellites that feel like a part of it but not on paper. Detroit's ua is large enough that it now almost connects to Flint's UA and the cities are 70 miles from downtown to downtown. Also I think the invisible urban boundary between Detroit an Ann Arbor gives AA a look of being larger than it is, when in fact quite a bit of it's activity and growth can be contributed to proximity to Detroit. I know several people in the western Wayne suburbs that have started moving further out into AA territory. Detroit is portrayed as a metro of about 4.3 million people when in reality it's closer to 5.5 million when you add all these factors together. To me it's just another reason why there's no one metric that is the best comparison technique. They all have their good and bad qualities.
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Old 05-21-2021, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Harrisburg, PA
909 posts, read 727,297 times
Reputation: 1084
mjlo, another excellent post. Sorry can't type a better response, I am on my Kindle.

I will still probably keep my list in Post #7. I'm glad we had this discussion because I was originally leaning KalamazooBC/MBS/Flint. I now realize that is incorrect. I really feel it is Flint/Kalamazoo/Saginaw+Bay City

Traverse City really flies under the radar. As you mentioned it is not even an urban area (barely not) but an urban cluster. Definitely outperforms for its size. I did notice that the Traverse City micro-MSA is very generous (contains four counties and a large amount of land). This happens sometimes - other examples are Salisbury, MD and San Luis Obispo, CA (large county), also Charlottesville, VA a bit, and can inflate the numbers. You kinda get a bit of a CSA vibe. Idk. It's all based on the commuting data. I just think you can pick up a lot of land sometimes this way depending on how/where the county lines fall (just enough to pull in a county based on commuting patterns, or grab a county with a ton of rural land which boosts some stats like income, maybe). I'm ranting now (:

1. Detroit
2. Grand Rapids
3. Lansing
4. Ann Arbor
5. Flint
6. Kalamazoo
7. Saginaw (including Bay City)
8. Midland
9. Traverse City
10. Battle Creek
11. Muskegon

Runner-ups: Holland, Jackson, Benton Harbor, Marquette, Monroe

Agree on AA. This happens to every city that orbits a major metro. It gets overshadowed, and you have to wonder - how independently it grew on its own vs. as the result of bedroom communities orbiting the big core.

Speaking of the Detroit metroplex, Dearborn definitely has major recognition, but is solidified within Detroit's urban area. Warren and Livonia to a good extent also.

Surprised Grand Rapids doesn't pick up Holland. 27.4 miles 44 km. Unfortunately it appears Muskegon is too far 39.6 miles (63 km).

We didn't discuss Marquette at all. Largest city in the UP (aka the Lost World Jurassic Park). Just kidding (: UP reminds me of the northern tier of Pennsylvania - nowhere land. I think overall Marquette is far too small but is worth mentioning.

Thank you for sending me that link. I had seen and used it before, but could not find it for the life of me. I'd rep you if I could. Your posts were fantastic. Sorry I can't leave a longer response it takes forever typing on Kindle.
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Old 05-21-2021, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Louisville
5,017 posts, read 5,260,846 times
Reputation: 8965
Quote:
Originally Posted by g500 View Post
Scorpio I think influence is most strongly correlated with economy, politics, culture/tourism, logistics in that general order. That's my take, there is no correct answer.

I would disagree with your assessments placing GR so low. It is the clear #2 in Michigan. Maybe it does not have the big universities as the others. GR definitely has a much larger economy and is much larger in scale, which easily propels it to the #2 spot IMO. I wasn't really open to debating the top 4 cities in Michigan. Though if you feel Lansing or Ann Arbor rank below Flint, Kalamazoo, or Saginaw - that I would like to hear. I would almost instantly disagree with it, but maybe someone feels that way, and I would be interested in their take.

You made no mention of Kalamazoo or Battle Creek either which are part of this thread.

What is your overall ranking including all factors/criteria, not just social/culture? Interested in discussing the # 5/6/7 spots.
I think Scorpio demonstrates an interesting point about perception though. 40 years ago Grand Rapids even as the 2nd largest metro in Michigan may have actually been that irrelevant in terms of influence. Especially to people who are on the coasts who don't have more than a pop culture understanding of the state. Grand Rapids didn't really start getting on the national radar until about 25 years ago. Prior to that it really was an unremarkable manufacturing center, just another small place that ended in Rapids. As always branding and perception lag reality. GR is the most out of the way major city in Michigan, people traveling through the state aren't likely to experience it unless they are specifically going to it.

A lot of people(especially on the coasts) haven't payed attention enough to know that over the last 30 years it has become the medical research hub for the western half of Michigan. That it's home to 3 billionaire families that have propelled it from economic obscurity into a modern biotech economy. That it anchors the 4th largest university in the state after UM, MSU, and Wayne State. People may not realize that because it doesn't play division 1 sports. Grand Rapids is home to 4 $10billion+ corporations and several more 3-$10billion companies. There are 2.3million people living within a 60 mile radius of downtown Grand Rapids and it IS the city for the western half of Michigan, and a destination for people from Indiana, Chicago and parts of Wisconsin.

Grand Rapids is a smaller city and late to the party, but there's no question it's level of influence. People from Lansing go to Grand Rapids to for shopping and other amenities, not the other way around. It's influence in Michigan is rapidly growing. There's no questioning it's position IMO simply because it's brand hasn't been as historically loud as Lansing or Ann Arbor. It is the undisputed anchor for the western half of Michigan which is still an area of almost 3 million people.

How much should perception factor into "influence"?

Last edited by mjlo; 05-21-2021 at 10:06 AM..
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Old 05-21-2021, 10:52 AM
 
7,537 posts, read 6,306,393 times
Reputation: 6859
Quote:
Originally Posted by djmilf View Post
University of Detroit Madonna.
Geesh...it's University of Detroit MERCY!

What a knuckle head!
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Old 05-28-2021, 11:00 AM
 
189 posts, read 93,542 times
Reputation: 256
Quote:
Originally Posted by g500 View Post
mjlo, another excellent post. Sorry can't type a better response, I am on my Kindle.

I will still probably keep my list in Post #7. I'm glad we had this discussion because I was originally leaning KalamazooBC/MBS/Flint. I now realize that is incorrect. I really feel it is Flint/Kalamazoo/Saginaw+Bay City

Traverse City really flies under the radar. As you mentioned it is not even an urban area (barely not) but an urban cluster. Definitely outperforms for its size. I did notice that the Traverse City micro-MSA is very generous (contains four counties and a large amount of land). This happens sometimes - other examples are Salisbury, MD and San Luis Obispo, CA (large county), also Charlottesville, VA a bit, and can inflate the numbers. You kinda get a bit of a CSA vibe. Idk. It's all based on the commuting data. I just think you can pick up a lot of land sometimes this way depending on how/where the county lines fall (just enough to pull in a county based on commuting patterns, or grab a county with a ton of rural land which boosts some stats like income, maybe). I'm ranting now (:

1. Detroit
2. Grand Rapids
3. Lansing
4. Ann Arbor
5. Flint
6. Kalamazoo
7. Saginaw (including Bay City)
8. Midland
9. Traverse City
10. Battle Creek
11. Muskegon

Runner-ups: Holland, Jackson, Benton Harbor, Marquette, Monroe

Agree on AA. This happens to every city that orbits a major metro. It gets overshadowed, and you have to wonder - how independently it grew on its own vs. as the result of bedroom communities orbiting the big core.

Speaking of the Detroit metroplex, Dearborn definitely has major recognition, but is solidified within Detroit's urban area. Warren and Livonia to a good extent also.

Surprised Grand Rapids doesn't pick up Holland. 27.4 miles 44 km. Unfortunately it appears Muskegon is too far 39.6 miles (63 km).

We didn't discuss Marquette at all. Largest city in the UP (aka the Lost World Jurassic Park). Just kidding (: UP reminds me of the northern tier of Pennsylvania - nowhere land. I think overall Marquette is far too small but is worth mentioning.

Thank you for sending me that link. I had seen and used it before, but could not find it for the life of me. I'd rep you if I could. Your posts were fantastic. Sorry I can't leave a longer response it takes forever typing on Kindle.
Does this mean that you have separated Grand Rapids and Holland? The western boundary of the GR urban area and the eastern boundary of the Holland urban area is about 6 miles?

I mention because I went to school in the area and it is definitely anchored and dominated by GR. The corridor on I-196 between GR and Holland is the fastest growing area of the state additionally. On a side note, I used to go on jogs that would go from the GR urban area to the Holland urban area, so it seems funny to me that they aren't treated as one urban area.

Also wanted to add that I love the topic!

Last edited by bartonro; 05-28-2021 at 11:29 AM..
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Old 05-28-2021, 05:39 PM
 
Location: Harrisburg, PA
909 posts, read 727,297 times
Reputation: 1084
Quote:
Originally Posted by bartonro View Post
Does this mean that you have separated Grand Rapids and Holland? The western boundary of the GR urban area and the eastern boundary of the Holland urban area is about 6 miles?

I mention because I went to school in the area and it is definitely anchored and dominated by GR. The corridor on I-196 between GR and Holland is the fastest growing area of the state additionally. On a side note, I used to go on jogs that would go from the GR urban area to the Holland urban area, so it seems funny to me that they aren't treated as one urban area.

Also wanted to add that I love the topic!
Yeah Holland and GR are in that very gray area. Personally I would just ever so barely separate them. It is so friggin close though. 27.4 mi 44 km core to core walking. I honestly can see it either way.

Also to add to this thread, my Top 200 Urban Area List (in my blogs) currently ranks the following nationally:

15. Detroit (was as high as #13, at one point)
53. Grand Rapids
96. Lansing
108. Ann Arbor
119. Flint
139. Kalamazoo (excludes Battle Creek)
161. Saginaw (includes Bay City, excludes Midland)
This list changes all the time, I update it daily. Let me know if you think the ordering seems okay.

I need to say that this thread helped me better understand Michigan's tertiary cities and helped greatly with my Top 200 list. I was all out-of-whack originally.
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Old 05-28-2021, 08:13 PM
 
189 posts, read 93,542 times
Reputation: 256
Quote:
Originally Posted by g500 View Post
Yeah Holland and GR are in that very gray area. Personally I would just ever so barely separate them. It is so friggin close though. 27.4 mi 44 km core to core walking. I honestly can see it either way.

Also to add to this thread, my Top 200 Urban Area List (in my blogs) currently ranks the following nationally:

15. Detroit (was as high as #13, at one point)
53. Grand Rapids
96. Lansing
108. Ann Arbor
119. Flint
139. Kalamazoo (excludes Battle Creek)
161. Saginaw (includes Bay City, excludes Midland)
This list changes all the time, I update it daily. Let me know if you think the ordering seems okay.

I need to say that this thread helped me better understand Michigan's tertiary cities and helped greatly with my Top 200 list. I was all out-of-whack originally.
I agree with the MI order and that Kalamazoo and Battle Creek are separate. I could be wrong, but I believe the growth pattern of Kalamazoo is southward, not towards the Battle Creek urban area. Meaning the areas haven't been getting any more connected in the last couple decades.

I would also agree in excluding Midland from Saginaw/Bay City, but I don't know nearly as much about how that region connects.

Splitting Muskegon from GR/Holland makes some sense, though Muskegon and Holland are fairly connected. 20 years ago, I probably would have agreed on splitting GR and Holland also, but the amount growth in the I-196 corridor has closed the gap so much that to me, they are easily one now. The areas growing the fastest around GR are the western suburbs, which are now blending in with each other and with Holland. Compared to Ann Arbor/Detroit, Ann Arbor has UM that helps Ann Arbor stay a little more isolated from Detroit. Holland has Hope college, but that hardly acts as any insulation from GR. Hope this helps.
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