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Old 03-23-2015, 07:36 PM
 
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Lancaster, Pennsylvania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Been through the state many times, but always amazed how in Pennsylvania you run across one medium sized city after another.
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Old 05-05-2015, 08:15 AM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
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Originally Posted by Yuptag View Post
Lancaster, Pennsylvania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Been through the state many times, but always amazed how in Pennsylvania you run across one medium sized city after another.
Lancaster city is more of a gem than it often gets credit for--it has a sense of place and amenities that would be the envy of most cities its size.

But overall, you're definitely right. Pennsylvania has a treasure trove of small cities and boroughs with some truly remarkable urban fabric. It's just a matter of encouraging more investment in these places.
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Old 05-05-2015, 08:56 AM
 
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I have wondered why PA has so many (ten) cities in the 50k-100k (ish) size class, with York/Wilkes-Barre and Allentown/Erie defining the (ish) - and excluding State College, the largest borough, as an outlier.
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Old 05-05-2015, 04:57 PM
 
Location: Philly
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Originally Posted by Duderino View Post
Lancaster city is more of a gem than it often gets credit for--it has a sense of place and amenities that would be the envy of most cities its size.

But overall, you're definitely right. Pennsylvania has a treasure trove of small cities and boroughs with some truly remarkable urban fabric. It's just a matter of encouraging more investment in these places.
Once the largest inland city, it has some remarkable architecture. Pennsylvania was the keystone state in more than just motto
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post
I have wondered why PA has so many (ten) cities in the 50k-100k (ish) size class, with York/Wilkes-Barre and Allentown/Erie defining the (ish) - and excluding State College, the largest borough, as an outlier.
Tight city limits and municipal fragmentation.

Pennsylvania built its cities quite densely, especially in the eastern part of the state, allowing a high population within a relatively small area. As it was relatively easy to incorporate boroughs, a lot of which elsewhere would have become outlying city neighborhoods stayed apart from the city in the 19th and early 20th century. Once incorporated as boroughs, a majority had to vote in favor of annexation, which rarely happened. Then with the rise of suburban development, it became all-but impossible to annex land from townships.

To give an example, if Lancaster was in the south or west, the city limits would likely take up at least half of the county. Even in New England cities tend to be around the same size geographically (or larger) than towns, while PA cities mostly have smaller square mileage than townships.
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Old 05-06-2015, 12:03 PM
 
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I don't doubt that PA is an extreme case of municipal fragmentation, but the ten middle size cities (except for Bethlehem and Allentown) are not so close to each other as ever likely to have merged. Even Scranton and Wilkes-Barre are 20 miles apart center to center. And even if the middle-city city limits grew to their natural sizes, one presumes Pittsburgh and Philadelphia would as well, so the relative ranking would be close to the same. In Iowa, which has a similar large number of mid size cities (and, arguably lacking even one higher ranking metropolis - tough to say that Des Moines is different in kind from Omaha, Quad Cities, or even Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, in the sense that the 2 major league PA cities are different from the next tier), it seems one each grew up on each different rail link from Chicago to the Missouri River. Or, in NY State the middle tier cities (each ~2x as large and 1/2 as numerous as the PA counterpart) grew up at intervals along the one clearly superior transport link. That theory doesn't explain why Reading is as large as it is when both wagon road and railroad favored Lancaster. Allentown seems too large for its historic transport links too (although it nowadays is much better connected than Reading). Conversely, Williamsport and maybe Johnstown seem too small for the key positions each had during the Victorian era.
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Lancaster, PA
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Personally think that some of these cities might see a real resurgence.

For example, Lancaster is in the midst of a real housing boom. The houses there move fast, and go for almost asking price in the nice neighborhoods (west end). I was really surprised by this.

I'm also seeing more tech companies like BrandYourself (based in nyc) buying old warehouses (affordable) and bringing in talent (lots of restaurants/coffee shops there already), and seeing Loft conversions everywhere....and it's one of the few cities left where you can afford to actually buy a home and have walking access to all of these things...and an amtrak train 2 hours to nyc.

Now that Whole Foods is building in Lancaster next year, I'm not sure how that will affect things...but some of the small cities are actually ones you can still have an "American life" in - own a home, still have a little extra money to go out to eat, cheap eats (and expensive ones for special occasions), and community.

I think as people get squeezed out of other markets, places like these become a bit more attractive. Hope to see places like Lancaster continue to grow!
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