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Old 01-08-2014, 07:30 AM
bg7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pantin23 View Post
OK, my bad, and also, how old is your suburb (is it more like a streetcar era suburb (which it sounds like)), or a post WWII Suburb.

Also, for goodness sake!! YES I know that there are plenty of historic suburbs (with more of a town feel and a true community). Also, from the sound of it, it sounds like wherever you are isn't exactly the type of suburb I'm complaining about, to get one thing clear, I DO agree that plenty of these suburbs, especially this sort of town oriented suburb, such as that in Philly, with more of an walkable layout have a great sense of community. Sadly though, the majority of modern era suburbs (postmodern suburbs), aren't exactly like this, and tend to sprawl with relatively identical tract houses, as opposed to the more compact town oriented suburbs in places like Philadelphia.
It was founded as a town (not incorporated proper) in the 1660's. Bought for beads and blankets. It developed into a suburb after the rail line was put in (1849). By the mid 1850's the commuting population was already recognized as a sizeable group in the local paper of the time. Before the word "suburb" was really being used in America, but at about the same time it started to be more commonly used in the UK.

Informational post for others: "autocentric suburb" - this term is not copyrighted and can be used by anyone who wishes to discuss an autocentric suburb. Use freely.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:21 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
The last sentence is your opinion. Others disagree, obviously. If someone thinks otherwise, the answer to your questions is irrelevant.
Well, excuse me! This has been debated many times before on this forum. Many people on this forum use "suburb" as a pejorative, with little context. So while a single family house on a lot larger than what a poster thinks is "appropriate" (what a judgmental word!) is "suburban" even if it's within the city limits and in walking distance of downtown Pittsburgh, or Denver, or Minneapolis, or wherever (trying to pick some places where you might see this.), we also have those horrid "suburban" schools, bastions of racism, drug abuse (LOL!), etc that are all outside of the city limits. Usage changes to suit the purpose.

Suburban is more than form!
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,435 posts, read 11,933,106 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
Employment centers started to disperse about 70 years ago, when the first post-WWII suburbs started to pop up, and the automobile made it possible to drive wherever the jobs were.
Yeah, pretty much this.

If you argue that suburbanization started when residential and employment centers began segregating, it goes back to the 1870s. However, from this period until after WW2, what you saw was not only the rise of exclusively residential areas, but a "doubling down" of industrial concentrations within cities. In most cities between the start of WW1 and the end of WW2, huge amounts of residential property was cleared, for example, to make way for expanded industrial plants.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
There were very few steel mills in Pittsburgh proper. The only one I can think of is the South Side works, which is now a shopping mall. In Beaver Falls, the big B&W works was on the far north edge of town. There was little housing nearby.
Pittsburgh also had a steel mill in Lawrenceville, and one in Hazelwood. Admittedly the Hazelwood site was actually part of the mill in the South Side however. There is a holdover from this in the surviving Hot Metal Bridge, which literally carried hot metal across the river on rail.

But Pittsburgh is a weird example, since we probably had the most dispersed industry of any metro except perhaps Boston. The topography of Pittsburgh meant there was little flat land along the rivers, except in the South Side, Lawrenceville, and Hazelwood, which became the "mill towns in the city." The East End had a lot of flat land, but it was on a plateau pretty far inland. The North Side had a lot of flat land near the river, but it grew up as a neighborhood much earlier, and thus was a mixed use area with residential and small-time manufacturing by the time steel took off in a big way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bg7 View Post
In addition, train suburbs pre-date streetcar suburbs as a phenomenon. So at least say "train & streetcar suburbs", not just the latter.
My understanding is the first classic suburbs which developed, in Connecticut, happened because people would literally jump off the train from New York and then walk to their homes in Greenwich (which took a few decades longer to become a haven for the rich). Still, you're right it was improper of me to lump them together.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:34 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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I do have to say, while I'm not a fan of #1 (which Katiana is arguing for), I do understand why someone would like said definition, as unlike the others it allows for hard and fast categorization. The other two have a lot of wiggle room and can easily morph into "stuff I don't like."

That said, there are metros #1 breaks down for. As I noted, there are very old "satellite" cities near New York (Hoboken, Jersey City, Union City, etc) and Boston (Cambridge, Somerville, Chelsea) which are hard to call suburbs. Indeed, my experience has been people who live there get insulted at the idea they are a suburb of the core city.

The Bay Area is an even more discrete example, because San Francisco doesn't really dominate it. Yes it's much older in terms of built structure than most of the surrounding areas, but there's not a heavy employment concentration in San Francisco - many people reverse commute. Arguably these days San Francisco is more of a suburb of Silicon Valley than the reverse, and Oakland is not a suburb of either.

Hampton Roads in Virginia is probably the most concrete example where it breaks down however. First you have a ring of four older cities of roughly the same size (Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, and Portsmouth). Then you have "suburban cities" (Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Poquoson) which incorporated as cities in large part to stop annexation by the older cities. Virginia Beach as a result is now the largest of the cities in the region, even though it's by no means the "center of gravity" of the metro.

Edit: On the other hand, you have places like Lincoln, NE, or Lexington, KY, which effectively (due to how city limits ended up) have little (in the case of the former) or no (in the case of the latter) built up areas outside of city limits.

Last edited by eschaton; 01-08-2014 at 08:58 AM..
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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I would say more or less #3. I tend to focus more on the land use aspect.
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:01 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
The Bay Area is an even more discrete example, because San Francisco doesn't really dominate it. Yes it's much older in terms of built structure than most of the surrounding areas, but there's not a heavy employment concentration in San Francisco - many people reverse commute. Arguably these days San Francisco is more of a suburb of Silicon Valley than the reverse, and Oakland is not a suburb of either.
That's a bit false. San Francisco has roughly a similar number of jobs downtown to Boston, though Boston has the Kendall Square area right near downtown in Cambridge. San Francisco also gets a substantial daytime population increase. The bottom left diagram shows San Francisco's job concentration:

Day vs. night population maps

Many smaller tech startups locate in San Francisco these days, rather than Silicon Valley.
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:05 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
That said, there are metros #1 breaks down for. As I noted, there are very old "satellite" cities near New York (Hoboken, Jersey City, Union City, etc) and Boston (Cambridge, Somerville, Chelsea) which are hard to call suburbs. Indeed, my experience has been people who live there get insulted at the idea they are a suburb of the core city.
Also breaks down for NYC for its lower density sections: Staten Island has more in common form-wise and demographics with places outside the city limits by demographics and form. Eastern Queens isn't as low density as Staten Island, and is more diverse, but compared to the rest of the city is rather low density; enough that it's often referred to as suburban. Perhaps since the density contrasts are larger in NYC than any other American city, the locals are more likely to label based on form. For example, this poster:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Infamous92 View Post
No. Even in the same metro they can be different. The suburban areas within NYC are different from the suburban areas towards the outer reaches of the NYC area.
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:12 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post

My understanding is the first classic suburbs which developed, in Connecticut, happened because people would literally jump off the train from New York and then walk to their homes in Greenwich (which took a few decades longer to become a haven for the rich). Still, you're right it was improper of me to lump them together.
For New York, many of the earliest rail suburbs (in the sense of communities built as bedroom communities meant for well-off city commuters) were within what is now the city limits and later got overwhelmed by much heavier development so the original development isn't obvious. Forest Hills, Queens is perhaps the best example. First, mostly houses (some attached) and built around the LIRR stations, an apartment building boom occurred later, especially after a subway station. Eastern Queens, like Nassau saw development follow the LIRR for the first three or four decades of the 20th century. Westchester has the oldest railroad suburbs as Long Island required a tunnel to be convenient to commute by train, which opened in 1905.
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:15 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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eschaton, while I hear what you're saying, the city limits do work as a defining criteria for some, maybe most metros. Denver is its own county. There are several other cities like that, e.g. St. Louis, and some Virginia cities. Omaha has annexed most of Douglas County, so that much of the suburban development is in Sarpy County and across the river in Iowa.
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:56 AM
 
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I think all three definitions are legitimate but because of the historical and topographical differences of US cities, no single definition fits all. It also matters in what context the term is used. If you are discussing political, tax or policy issues, definition #1 would apply more often. If discussing transportation issues, #2 would be more appropriate. When discussing density or personal preferences #3 would be more defining.

Two extreme examples might be NYC with its history back to the 1600s and its transformation from village to port to manufacturing to finance with a large number of equally historic satellite cities can not be compared to Olkahoma City, a much newer city that annexed huge amounts of undeveloped ground so all development, including suburban sprawl, is within the city limits.

Also massive metro growth has made former suburbs (streetcar suburbs) very urban and former satellite cities are now surrounded by the central city. Wide spread ownership of autos made many satellite cities into bedroom communities. And the surge in light rail and commuter rail is turning satellite cities and former industrial land into streetcar suburbs. Cities are not static, they evolve.

And as these endless forum discussion have shown, everyone's opinions are shaded by their personal experiences and where they live now and where they grew up. For every definitive statement made about
urban and suburban, someone will find an exception. And personally I like hearing about the exceptions and the historical reasons why they exist.
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