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Old 04-28-2017, 02:07 PM
 
Location: DC Metro
1 posts, read 592 times
Reputation: 10

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As someone from New England, I always knew exactly how to answer the question, “Where are you from?”. Simple…I’m from XYZ. I attend XYZ town meetings, my mailing address is XYZ, I attended XYZ High School, and the census measures the population of XYZ every five years. Therefore, I am from XYZ.


You see, up North, there are clearly defined local boundaries, and the state and federal governments fall in line with those boundaries. Generally, school districts, zip codes, and census places don’t cross those lines. As a result, a strong local identity is fostered and you’re greeted with a “now entering” sign every six miles in each direction.


This is not the case in NOVA. The primary form of local government is county-based rather than town-based. Thus, communities are left to their own to determine their own identities. This leads to complex contradictions among the people and the government agencies that are forced to draw those boundaries somewhere.


My question to you all is this: If you were forced to develop a systematic way of determining local boundaries of unincorporated areas, which standard would you choose to follow? Primary zip code city? Secondary zip code city? Census-designated place (CDP)? Minor civil division (MCD)? Assume we can’t rely on the “word on the street”.


Case Study 1: What is Sterling, VA?


Three zip codes have Sterling, VA as its primary city. It’s a massive region of Loudoun County, stretching from the Potomac River to US 50. Surely, there’s very little “Sterling pride” shared between people living on opposite sides of this area. One could rely on the secondary zip code city names, i.e. Dulles and Potomac Falls. Perhaps, the only “proper” area of Sterling is where the mailing addresses and CDP match. Perhaps, when the Potomac Falls post office was established, that area had officially separated from Sterling. If we go by CDP boundaries, would we really consider “Oak Grove” and “Dulles Town Center” to be appropriate answers to the question, “Where are you from?”. Furthermore, there is no Potomac Falls CDP; instead, it is broken up into smaller CDPs that don’t necessarily need all their areas within the same zip code.


Case Study 2: Is South Riding Part of Chantilly?


If we choose to use primary zip code cities, consider the following. The new South Riding residential area has a strong identity but lacks its own mailing address. In fact, mail is addressed to Chantilly, an area generally considered to be in a completely different jurisdiction! Sure, hundreds of years ago, this may have been just fine, but do residents today really consider themselves part of Chantilly? Is South Riding a component of Chantilly or a town on equal footing?


Case Study 3: Are you from Providence, Virginia?


No one in their right mind would say they are from Providence, VA. However, it’s an example of a MCD, a legitimate local government subcomponent. It's governed as a constituent of Fairfax County. There are even government buildings and HOAs incorporating the name Providence into their name, but it persists only as an archaic, loosely-defined community in the minds of citizens. Citizens would almost always say they are from “Fairfax”, “Merrifield”, or “Oakton”.
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Old 04-28-2017, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Town of Herndon/DC Metro
2,282 posts, read 5,575,108 times
Reputation: 1170
Why would I want anything like that?

I lived in Philly-its nothing like here!
I lived in Providence RI-Its nothing like here or Philly!
I live in the Old Dominion, The Commonwealth. Sic Semper tyrannis!
I love where I live.
I don't want to remake it into something from somewhere else!

I think you need a trip around our lovely state so you can learn about our old history, our culture and how Northern Virginia is the bullseye of the Civil War

That said, as I have asked before, if Fairfax County was a state, Old Town Fairfax would probably to locale of Downtown

You should hit this museum:

City of Fairfax, VA : Fairfax Museum & Visitor Center
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Old 04-28-2017, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Falls Church, VA
540 posts, read 639,578 times
Reputation: 470
Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodsyUtopia View Post
Case Study 3: Are you from Providence, Virginia?


No one in their right mind would say they are from Providence, VA. However, it’s an example of a MCD, a legitimate local government subcomponent. It's governed as a constituent of Fairfax County. There are even government buildings and HOAs incorporating the name Providence into their name, but it persists only as an archaic, loosely-defined community in the minds of citizens. Citizens would almost always say they are from “Fairfax”, “Merrifield”, or “Oakton”.
I live in the Providence District. It is simply an administrative construct for representation to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The dumb part is that there is then a separate Fairfax County designation for "planning districts". For that one I live in "Jefferson". So, my local rec center is Providence, and the local golf course is Jefferson. Nobody says that they are from either.
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Old 04-28-2017, 03:44 PM
 
12,930 posts, read 6,184,694 times
Reputation: 10774
As for Sterling --- I'm being nitpicky but...if you have a PO Box, you get a different zip code for that...so...technically there are more than 3 zip codes Then, too add to the confusion---if you live in 20166, you can say you live in "Dulles, VA" if you wanted to. I don't know how that came to be---maybe it was a way for some to disassociate from Sterling Park

I'm an MA native so I know what you're talking about. Shortly after I moved to NoVA, I learned that Reston is not a separate incorporated town/city. This was all new to me.
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Old 04-29-2017, 03:14 AM
 
Location: West Springfield, VA
153 posts, read 120,174 times
Reputation: 216
Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodsyUtopia View Post
My question to you all is this: If you were forced to develop a systematic way of determining local boundaries of unincorporated areas, which standard would you choose to follow? Primary zip code city? Secondary zip code city? Census-designated place (CDP)? Minor civil division (MCD)? Assume we can’t rely on the “word on the street."
I'm a native New Englander as well. Your question lacks any real purpose. The sense of local identity in NoVa is quite distinct from the sense of local identity in New England, and it can't be defined by any theoretical New England-style boundaries. Granted, Virginia has incorporated towns within its counties (e.g., Vienna, Clifton, Haymarket, Leesburg, etc.), but these are few and far between. As an aside, Virginia's cities are independent from surrounding counties, which is unique.

Frankly, I prefer a county government and a county school system, and I'm not bothered by zip codes, supervisory districts, and planning districts with different names. In New England you have hundreds of tiny fiefdom-like cities and towns that are not inclined to cooperate with each other on regional matters. While that system of government might have worked 300 years ago, I find it a hindrance to meaningful economic growth in the globalized 21st century.
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Old 04-29-2017, 06:43 AM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
6,561 posts, read 10,857,077 times
Reputation: 5584
While I doubt the OP will be back and respond I was really baffled by his/her questions.
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Old 04-29-2017, 06:45 AM
 
Location: Centreville, VA
154 posts, read 328,908 times
Reputation: 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff22152 View Post
Frankly, I prefer a county government and a county school system, and I'm not bothered by zip codes, supervisory districts, and planning districts with different names. In New England you have hundreds of tiny fiefdom-like cities and towns that are not inclined to cooperate with each other on regional matters. While that system of government might have worked 300 years ago, I find it a hindrance to meaningful economic growth in the globalized 21st century.
I understand what you are saying but I disagree with regard to school systems. I do not like the county-wide school system and would prefer to have true local school districts with a local school board. One school board for 200+ schools in FCPS is not responsive to the individualized needs of local areas and treats widely divergent schools districts with the same rubber-stamp policies.
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Old 04-30-2017, 10:29 AM
 
4,229 posts, read 2,119,167 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigfoot424 View Post
While I doubt the OP will be back and respond I was really baffled by his/her questions.
Many transplants arrive here from areas where pretty much every square foot of land is part of some incorporated area or other, and municipal governments have actual importance. Things here are typically quite different which can be puzzling to newcomers. Confounding the problem of course are the many USPS-imposed mailing addresses that do not conform at all to the jurisdiction in which one actually lives. One can certainly adapt in time to the fact that "Falls Church" has multiple meanings and that "McLean" is just a colloquialism applied to the area around a particular intersection by a former publisher of the Washington Post, but there is not an obvious or logical reason for things to have been done in this way.
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Old 04-30-2017, 05:38 PM
 
12,930 posts, read 6,184,694 times
Reputation: 10774
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pub-911 View Post
Many transplants arrive here from areas where pretty much every square foot of land is part of some incorporated area or other, and municipal governments have actual importance. Things here are typically quite different which can be puzzling to newcomers. Confounding the problem of course are the many USPS-imposed mailing addresses that do not conform at all to the jurisdiction in which one actually lives. One can certainly adapt in time to the fact that "Falls Church" has multiple meanings and that "McLean" is just a colloquialism applied to the area around a particular intersection by a former publisher of the Washington Post, but there is not an obvious or logical reason for things to have been done in this way.
^^^^Exactly!

We had been living here for 5 years when our daughter was born. Fairfax Hospital (as it was called back then) had a Falls Church address. When I filled out the paperwork for her to get a copy of the birth certificate, I put down that she was born in Falls Church. When I got the birth certificate, it listed place of birth as Fairfax County.

At that time, we were living in Reston but a lot of our mail listed us as being in Herndon.
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Old 04-30-2017, 11:51 PM
 
1,784 posts, read 2,984,960 times
Reputation: 1270
Telling people where you live depends on the context of the conversation and how familiar they are with the area. I.e., how far do you need to "zoom in" ?

If I'm talking to someone while in a foreign country, I probably say "Near Washington, D.C."
Then we move on and say Northern Virginia.
Then you specify the county - Fairfax, Loudoun, PW, Arlington, etc.
Then a specific "city/town/CDP/etc.".
Then a particular neighborhood.
Then your actual street and/or the nearest through street that goes by your house.


This area is a gigantic suburban expanse where neighborhoods and towns blur together. But most people around here understand that.
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