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Old 01-14-2013, 07:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
if it has the typical qualities of a suburb, its a suburb. doesn't matter if its bigger or smaller than the city. if its just made up of a bunch of strip malls and single family homes, has little or no walkability, etc...then its a suburb. doesn't matter if the population is 1 thousand or 1 million. if it has few or no urban elements I don't see how you could call it a 'city.' regardless of its size.
Defining a suburb as any populated are you don't like is certainly one way to do it.

Anyway, no matter what set of definitions you come up with, they are either going to be so inclusive as to be useless, or have as many exceptions as examples. You've got to manage to include industrial suburbs (mill towns), college towns (which may or may not be suburbs; Alfred, NY isn't but New Brunswick, NJ is), streetcar and train towns, other independent small towns, post-war bedroom communities, centrally planned places like Columbia, MD, older cities engulfed by the suburbs of other cities (Aurora, IL; Alexandria, VA, Newark, NJ), small towns engulfed by suburban growth (Phoenixville, PA; Pottstown, PA). And you have to consider that the uses and functions of all those places have changed and will change and will be mixed.
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:49 PM
 
Location: Caribou, Me.
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For it to be a suburb, I think there has to be that continuous pattern of people, where it's difficult to tell where the dividing lines are between the major city and the cities/towns around it. And suburbs are quite dependent on the central city for many things.
So many of the small towns around Portland, Maine which used to be truly separate places have now "morphed" into suburb status.
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maineguy8888 View Post
For it to be a suburb, I think there has to be that continuous pattern of people, where it's difficult to tell where the dividing lines are between the major city and the cities/towns around it. And suburbs are quite dependent on the central city for many things.
So many of the small towns around Portland, Maine which used to be truly separate places have now "morphed" into suburb status.

which is in contrast to more traditional towns that are separated from each other by plenty of greenfield, the modern subdivision just goes on and on without end. from the air it looks like a giant blob of sprawl that goes on and on seemingly forever all the way to the horizon and beyond without a break. this kind of growth pattern reminds me of an out of control cancerous tumor that doesn't stop growing until it consumes and destroys everything in its path.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:09 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:56 AM
 
Location: Currently living in Reddit
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This is probably an undefinable question. The Chicago/Aurora example is one pattern where the bigger city pushed out until it met up with the smaller one. Stamford, CT is a different example. What was a essentially an urban bedroom community to NYC that eventually became an employment hub itself, with more commuting to Stamford than commuting out (which was probably also true for White Plains).

And while people from Westchester/Rockland (NY) and lower Fairfield (CT) counties may self-identify as "New Yorkers", meaning NYC, you have a place like Quincy, MA which abuts Boston but while they're Red Sox fans, don't identify themselves as Bostonians.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:20 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sskink View Post
This is probably an undefinable question.
Bingo.

Someone upthread mentioned my current residence of Norristown, Pa. as a suburb of Philadelphia. Norristown, as a county seat, would exist whether Philadelphia was 20 miles away or not; surely no one in 1784 commuted to Philadelphia for work. Probably until after World War II few people commuted to Philadelphia for work and Norristown itself was a commercial, retail and employment hub until the 1950s. However, given the collapse of industry in Norristown and changes in transportation, if one defines "suburb" purely by commuting patterns, one may make the argument that Norristown a suburb of Philadelphia.

Phoenixville and Pottstown is stretching it.

Someone on the Pittsburgh thread mentioned Butler as a suburb. That made me LOL.

So ... If the area in question was not settled as a suburb or even a satellite development, when does it get to be a suburb? Do you define suburb solely upon commuting patterns, or are there other factors that come into play?

And then there's the whole suburb as political subdivision vs. sub-urban development ... Not to mention that some people call "suburb" whatever it is they don't like.

Pass the popcorn!
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:17 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post

So ... If the area in question was not settled as a suburb or even a satellite development, when does it get to be a suburb? Do you define suburb solely upon commuting patterns, or are there other factors that come into play?
As a city grows, it starts from what is now the center and then develops outward. At some point development reaches past the city limits. Once it reaches and surrounds the old town, the old town is now part of the metro. Whether it's a suburb or not depends on how independent it is.

Maybe rather than commuting patterns, continuous built-up land should be used.

As for commuting patterns, a lot (if not most) commutes aren't into the center city, so measuring by amount commuting into the city might not work well. Often, those in outer suburbs commute to inner suburban job center, while those in the inner suburbs are more likely to commute into the city.

Sometimes economic connections might be relevant; the census classifies Fairfield County, CT as its own metro rather than a suburb of NYC; its job center is stronger than other counties so it has relatively less residents commuting out of the county. But most of the jobs wouldn't be there if it were being close to NYC and have good road and rail links; the area certainly feels an extension of the NYC metro a few older, small cities (such as Stamford and Bridgeport) mixed in. The county has several old cities . Is the suburban development a suburb of these cities rather than NYC?

Quote:
And then there's the whole suburb as political subdivision vs. sub-urban development ... Not to mention that some people call "suburb" whatever it is they don't like.
I'm mostly interested in development types, I find poltical boundaries can be a bit of a distraction, unless there's some government-specific discussion.

I've also heard the reverse; while this forum has lots of people who don't like suburbs, in other places I've heard people call communities they don't like "cities". Older communities that are well-off and have good schools get labelled suburbs, while more struggling ones get grouped with "cities".
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:54 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
Bingo.

Someone upthread mentioned my current residence of Norristown, Pa. as a suburb of Philadelphia. Norristown, as a county seat, would exist whether Philadelphia was 20 miles away or not; surely no one in 1784 commuted to Philadelphia for work. Probably until after World War II few people commuted to Philadelphia for work and Norristown itself was a commercial, retail and employment hub until the 1950s. However, given the collapse of industry in Norristown and changes in transportation, if one defines "suburb" purely by commuting patterns, one may make the argument that Norristown a suburb of Philadelphia.

Phoenixville and Pottstown is stretching it.

Someone on the Pittsburgh thread mentioned Butler as a suburb. That made me LOL.

So ... If the area in question was not settled as a suburb or even a satellite development, when does it get to be a suburb? Do you define suburb solely upon commuting patterns, or are there other factors that come into play?

And then there's the whole suburb as political subdivision vs. sub-urban development ... Not to mention that some people call "suburb" whatever it is they don't like.

Pass the popcorn!
^^This.

Some points to lift up:

There are several suburbs of Denver, which, while not as old as Norristown, are about as old as Denver and also county seats, e.g. Littleton (Arapahoe County, of which Denver was once a part); Golden (Jefferson County and the territorial capital of Colorado); Castle Rock (Douglas County); Boulder (Boulder County); and newer to the "suburb" fold Brighton (Adams County), though eastern Adams has long been suburban Denver.

People did not drive into Pittsburgh from my hometown of Beaver Falls back when I was a kid. In fact, a trip to Pittsburgh (~ 30 miles)was quite the proposition that required a lot of planning. By the time I was in college in the late 60s, a few people commuted to the U of Pgh from BF. Now, well, I don't know if anyone there works at all, they all got laid off when the steel industry collapsed. Seriously, my brother worked in Pittsburgh when living there. I doubt many drove into Denver from the farther out burbs until roads and other transportation cut the trip down to under an hour. One time, we had to deliver a couch to our daughter in SE Denver. We borrowed an old pick-up truck, and DH was afraid to take the highways, so we drove some surface roads. It took about twice as long, about 1 1/2 hrs. (After we dropped off the couch, we drove home on the interstate!) In fact, Louisville did not really start to grow until 1) Storage Technology (now defunct) established itself there, and 2) Boulder started restricting building permits.

I agree, Butler is not suburban Pittsburgh, though southern Butler County, e.g. Cranberry Twp, is. I know a guy out here from Sharon, PA who says he's from Pittsburgh. I expressed great astonishment at that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I'm mostly interested in development types, I find poltical boundaries can be a bit of a distraction, unless there's some government-specific discussion.
I've seen your viewpoint expressed by many on this forum. However, when actually discussing suburbs, it does seem to come down to political boundaries. Since we're not supposed to dredge anything up from previous threads, you'll have to just take my word for it.
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:02 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I agree, Butler is not suburban Pittsburgh, though southern Butler County, e.g. Cranberry Twp, is.
Oh, absolutely.
Quote:
I know a guy out here from Sharon, PA who says he's from Pittsburgh. I expressed great astonishment at that.
Did he know you were from the area as well? I just assume that people who aren't from Pennsylvania (and some who are) wouldn't know Norristown from a hole in the ground, and I tell them I live "around Philadelphia."

Although, really, Sharon isn't even "around" Pittsburgh. Around Youngstown, yes, but we digress ...
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:42 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,992 posts, read 102,554,590 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
Oh, absolutely.

Did he know you were from the area as well? I just assume that people who aren't from Pennsylvania (and some who are) wouldn't know Norristown from a hole in the ground, and I tell them I live "around Philadelphia."

Although, really, Sharon isn't even "around" Pittsburgh. Around Youngstown, yes, but we digress ...
Yes, he knew I was from the area. Around here, I say I'm from "Pittsburgh". When I meet a fellow Pittsburgher, we get into our specific towns.
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