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  #41  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 7:29 PM
iheartthed iheartthed is offline
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Originally Posted by homebucket View Post
Without any knowledge of that area, that looks rural to me.
Yeah, it does to me too. But it's located in the same county (Passaic) as this: https://goo.gl/maps/B166XnRKztRMAwNT7

At least half of Passaic County's land area is barely more than rural. But much of the county's population exists in the denser areas.
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  #42  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 7:39 PM
kittyhawk28 kittyhawk28 is offline
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Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
To respond to the OP, the northeast metro areas are not completely built out like they are in California (particularly NY Metro). This is in a "core" NY Metro county, but is this really "sprawl"? https://goo.gl/maps/oHgsk8vup4aCHCXw6

Much of (maybe most of?) the land area in NY Metro barely exceeds the definition of rural, but most people in NY Metro live in some of the most densely populated environments on Earth.
I'm unsure the exact density limits Census Bureau sets for counting an "urbanized area" at the moment, but it seems to be just over 1000 people/sq mile, which to me seems to be why the Northeast sprawls so much on the map. The density requirement for urban area classification used to be at least 2000 people/sq mile, with a special exception for the Northeast for areas of having 1500 people/sq mile. By the 90's though, this loosened to at least 1000 people/sq mile, with this particular tidbit relevant to the Northeast's development patterns:
"Places are important geographic components of UAs. Except for extended
cities, all incorporated places and CDPs either are included in a UA in their
entirety, or excluded from it completely. A place is included in the UA if it
has a qualifying core. This qualifying core is an area with a population density
of at least 1,000 people per square mile that contains at least 50 percent of
12-8 Urban and Rural Classifications
the place’s total population and is contiguous with other qualifying urbanized
territory that also meets the population density criterion. As a result of the
whole place qualification rule, places with overall densities of less than 1,000
people per square mile may be in the UA."
Source: https://www2.census.gov/geo/pdfs/ref...M/Ch12GARM.pdf

That might be why the Northeast looks like it sprawls so much; because of the way the Census Bureau structures its density requirements for urban area classification, it ends up artificially inflating the Northeast's urbanization area far more than it otherwise would be in reality. Small towns that have requisite core densities, but surrounded by variably lower densities of rural farmland, might still be classed as "urban" under these guidelines. This trend isn't as strong out West in California, where densities of suburban development are much more higher, uniform, and contiguous than those of the Northeast. For example, if the Census Bureau brought back the 1500 people per square mile density qualifier, I believe much of the area between New York and Philly in central NJ, in places like West Windsor township with just over 1000 people/sq. mi., would no longer be classified as "urban" and NY and Philly's urban extents no longer appearing as if near contiguous as they once were. Little would change for the area between LA and San Diego though; places like Fallbrook and Temecula have much more uniform population densities far above 1500 people/sq. mile.
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  #43  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 7:44 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
To respond to the OP, the northeast metro areas are not completely built out like they are in California (particularly NY Metro). This is in a "core" NY Metro county, but is this really "sprawl"? https://goo.gl/maps/oHgsk8vup4aCHCXw6

Much of (maybe most of?) the land area in NY Metro barely exceeds the definition of rural, but most people in NY Metro live in some of the most densely populated environments on Earth.
Yeah, it's important to note that MSAs are mostly based upon commutes, rather than how "urban" an area is. So where you get these backwoodsy rural areas within a 2-hour drive of NYC...they end up being considered "metropolitan."

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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
Yeah, I don't get the endgame for the ultra-sprawl towns in CT (or the Northeast in general). The ones that have outstanding schools and relatively near amenities (Wilton, Weston) will probably do OK. A lot of people were talking about the pandemic as the sprawl savior but that talk already died down. It's again the in-town, more coastal locations that have the greatest demand. The Dariens of the world. Even when the schools aren't flat-out outstanding. Places like Fairfield.

Once you leave Fairfield County, however, it seems really dicey. Some of the districts already have 50%+ enrollment drops in a pretty short period of time. Are there that many households of child-bearing age who want to live in a 1960's house on five acres with well/septic and no amenities?
Maybe the future looks more like Western Massachusetts (where I went to college). Lots of rural small towns full of liberals, but younger people really only move to the walkable ones like Northampton and Great Barrington, while the total backwoods areas slowly empty out (shrinking by like 5% per decade). Lots of the areas are picturesque enough that they'd appeal to some rich person as a second home (the number of second homes is apparently now at an all-time high). This means that the real estate market stays fairly robust, but in terms of day-to-day population the towns just die.

Actually, my mom is almost one of those folks, other than not liking backcountry. She's 71, and was living in Northampton until she fell and shattered her shoulder in 2014, and decided to move here so we could help her. But she missed Massachusetts, so she bought a tiny condo in Northampton like three years ago. She only spends like 4 weeks there a year though - huge money suck for her. I've tried to convince her to AirBnb it when she's not in town, but she can't stand the idea of other people touching her stuff.

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Originally Posted by Austinlee View Post
I agree. Even locally here, I don't want my parents 3,500 sq ft house on 2.5 acres with 5 car garage stalls 40 minutes outside the city when they pass on. I would sell it and probably buy a nice lower maintenance historic townhome in the Mexican War Streets or Bloomfield or something and live more simply.
My inlaws have this crazy house in the South Hills that my father-in-law designed. It's up on a huge hill and surrounded by woods (though less surrounded than when they built it). It's completely and totally inappropriate for them (they're pushing 80 - and he has trouble with stairs now) but he's so emotionally attached to the house he refuses to move and has jokingly told us to burn the house down when he dies so no one else can ever ruin it.
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  #44  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 7:53 PM
kittyhawk28 kittyhawk28 is offline
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Yeah, it's important to note that MSAs are mostly based upon commutes, rather than how "urban" an area is. So where you get these backwoodsy rural areas within a 2-hour drive of NYC...they end up being considered "metropolitan."
Honestly the Census Bureau needs to change how it determines MSA's. It should be based on some combination of degree of contiguous or adjacent urbanization + commuting patterns. Otherwise you get ridiculous classifications that the Greater LA stretches till Las Vegas (which it doesn't, but then again population figures aren't as inflated as they would be in the Northeast's inclusion of rural areas due to the fact barely anyone lives in the desert areas except for the bedroom communities like Palmdale or Victorville tied to and surrounding LA)
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  #45  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 8:00 PM
Crawford Crawford is offline
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Originally Posted by kittyhawk28 View Post
Otherwise you get ridiculous classifications that the Greater LA stretches till Las Vegas (which it doesn't, but then again population figures aren't as inflated as they would be in the Northeast's inclusion of rural areas due to the fact barely anyone lives in the desert areas except for the bedroom communities like Palmdale or Victorville tied to and surrounding LA)
You have it reversed. The Northeast population levels aren't inflated, the land is inflated. Practically no one lives in the backcountry, but most of the land is backcountry. In the East, these areas are extremely sparse, but in the West these areas are literally empty.

If the Census raised the density cutoffs, the population wouldn't really be affected, the density would. Westchester County, NY is a good example. Nearly half the county lives in multifamily. Yet most of the county land is backcountry.
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  #46  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 8:01 PM
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My parents have a similar setup. I don't know anyone in my age cohort or younger who wants to live like this.
I sometimes wonder if some of you have any relatives.

I have 9 first cousins (11 including myself & my sister) who still live in Chicagoland (8 others have moved elsewhere around the nation).

4 of them live in full-blown exurbia WAY the fuck out in the cornfields.

4 of them live in regular old suburbia.

And 3 of us are in the city proper.


I don't really understand the appeal of giant houses on giant lots in the literal middle of nowhere either, but I'm not naive enough to be able to pretend that shit doesn't appeal to at least some people in my age cohort.
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Last edited by Steely Dan; Jan 20, 2022 at 8:15 PM.
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  #47  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 8:08 PM
kittyhawk28 kittyhawk28 is offline
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
You have it reversed. The Northeast population levels aren't inflated, the land is inflated. Practically no one lives in the backcountry, but most of the land is backcountry. In the East, these areas are extremely sparse, but in the West these areas are literally empty.

If the Census raised the density cutoffs, the population wouldn't really be affected, the density would. Westchester County, NY is a good example. Nearly half the county lives in multifamily. Yet most of the county land is backcountry.
Pretty sure a non-zero amount of people live in rural Northeast. Places like Litchfield County or East Stroudsbourg are very much rural, but have hundreds of thousands of people still, yet are classified in the NY metro due to a tenuous commuter link. Contrast this with places like Riverside County; at most, maybe 20,000 people give or take live east of Coachella Valley (all in the border town of Blythe). That's because no one lives in the barren desert, since you can't exactly farm there. In the Northeast, there's still a sizeable number of small family farms and rural plots, and while population wise individually isn't much, it does build up when you account for all the rural tracts included in NY's metro, much moreso than it would in LA.
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  #48  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 8:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
I sometimes wonder if some of you have any relatives.

I have 10 (11 including myself) first cousins who still live in Chicagoland.

4 of them live in full-blown mcmansion exurbia WAY the fuck out in the cornfields.

4 of them live in regular old suburbia.

And 3 of us are in the city proper.


I don't understand the appeal of giant houses in the literal middle of nowhere either, but I'm not naive enough to be able to pretend that shit doesn't at least appeal to some people in my age cohort.
I can find it acceptable if they have animals and stuff, but just a stupid huge McMansion? Gross.
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  #49  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 8:18 PM
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I can find it acceptable if they have animals and stuff, but just a stupid huge McMansion? Gross.
It doesn't matter if you, or I, or anyone else finds it acceptable.

THEY find it not only acceptable, but even preferable.

It's just always interesting to me how some of the die-hard urbanists on this forum seem to never cross paths with anyone who might not be exactly like themselves (the same goes for some of the more overzealous suburbia defenders too).
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  #50  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 8:24 PM
iheartthed iheartthed is offline
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
My parents have a similar setup. I don't know anyone in my age cohort or younger who wants to live like this. Just the thought of all the regular maintenance gives me headaches. Never a free weekend in the warm-weather months.

If someone really loves the sprawl, autocentric lifestyle, better to buy new so nothing major breaks for at least a decade. What's the point of all this acreage, and a giant garage, and empty rooms?
One of the best things about living in NYC is not having to ever mow a lawn or shovel a walkway. I haven't done either since I left home to go to college, and I don't want to ever do either chore again in my life.
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  #51  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 8:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
It doesn't matter if you, or I, or anyone else finds it acceptable.

THEY find it not only acceptable, but even preferable.

It's just always interesting to me how some of the die-hard urbanists on this forum seem to never cross paths with anyone who might not be exactly like themselves (the same goes for some of the more overzealous suburbia defenders too).
Good thing I'm a die-hard ruralist
mobile homes>McMansions.
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  #52  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 8:27 PM
Crawford Crawford is offline
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
I sometimes wonder if some of you have any relatives.

I have 9 first cousins (11 including myself & my sister) who still live in Chicagoland (8 others have moved elsewhere around the nation).

4 of them live in full-blown exurbia WAY the fuck out in the cornfields.

4 of them live in regular old suburbia.

And 3 of us are in the city proper.


I don't really understand the appeal of giant houses on giant lots in the literal middle of nowhere either, but I'm not naive enough to be able to pretend that shit doesn't appeal to at least some people in my age cohort.
I think these are different typologies, though.

I get the McMansion sprawl life. I hate it, but I get the appeal. Everyone has kids, people are in same life stage, it's generally affordable for professionals. And it isn't that high maintenance, given that homes are new(er), lots are small, few trees, and everything looks like crap anyways after a decade or two.

Backcountry areas in the Northeast aren't similar. Lots are huge, and heavily wooded, homes are old and expanded over time, topographies vary, and are often very rocky. Driveways often gravel, and can be a quarter mile or more. And almost always no city water or sewer, limited snow removal, etc. There are often horsebackriding trails and other odd easements for public access through "your" woods.
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  #53  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 8:35 PM
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I think these are different typologies, though.
your parents live in a NE backcountry area?

if memory serves, i thought they lived in mcmanison sprawl out by bloomfield in metro detroit.





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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post

Backcountry areas in the Northeast aren't similar. Lots are huge, and heavily wooded, homes are old and expanded over time, topographies vary, and are often very rocky. Driveways often gravel, and can be a quarter mile or more. And almost always no city water or sewer, limited snow removal, etc. There are often horsebackriding trails and other odd easements for public access through "your" woods.
i also have a bunch of 2nd cousins from a different branch of the family who live over in rural SW michigan on giant pieces (10+ acres) of wooded land, some along small lakes, zero services, an unbelievable shit-ton of property maintenance, 30 minutes to the closest thing you could call a "store", etc.

they all love it and can't understand why my wife and i would willingly shoe-horn our family into a small chicago multi-family apartment building with no land, and pay 5x as much money to do so.

different strokes for different folks.
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  #54  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 8:38 PM
Chisouthside Chisouthside is offline
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For real, stretches between SF and Sacramento, especially closer to Davis reminded me of driving through the midwest as mountains arent really visible and its nothing but farmland
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As for Norcal, I don't think Sacramento and the Bay Area are developed enough in between to be considered a megalopolis. There's 5 segments (3-6 miles each of nothingness) of wilderness and farmland and wetlands in between on the I-80 corridor that isn't developed: between Vallejo and Fairfield, Fairfield and Vacaville, Vacaville and Dixon, Dixon and Davis, Davis and Sacramento.
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  #55  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 8:39 PM
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your parents live in a NE backcountry area?

if memory serves, i thought they lived in mcmanison sprawl out by bloomfield in metro detroit.
There's no real backcountry in Metro Detroit. They live in a neighborhood of 1-2 acre homesites, built from the 1960's, in Bloomfield Township. So kind of in between the two typologies.

My brother lives in a full-on McMansion area, though. I don't think he has crazy maintenance, since he bought new, and his lot is small and (almost) barren.

I'd say my parents have much more maintenance issues than my brother, but nowhere near as much as if they were living in a 5-10 acre spread in Connecticut. They have city water, sewage, trash, snow removal, etc. There's still a crapload of work in the fall, with leaf removal, and every summer weekend, but I guess you can pay someone.
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  #56  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 8:50 PM
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There's no real backcountry in Metro Detroit. They live in a neighborhood of 1-2 acre homesites, built from the 1960's, in Bloomfield Township. So kind of in between the two typologies.
that sounds a lot like where my in-laws live in exurban milwaukee, though i think it was more built-out in the 70s.

they are in their 70s now and have talked several times about the turnover currently taking place in their subdivision, with lots of decades-long neighbor-friends either downsizing or retiring to the sunbelt, while younger families with children are moving in.

so that kinda shit definitely does appeal to some people in our age cohort.
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  #57  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 9:00 PM
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For real, stretches between SF and Sacramento, especially closer to Davis reminded me of driving through the midwest as mountains arent really visible and its nothing but farmland
They are towards the west, unless there's a lot of smog/fire season. You can see the Sierras on a windy day for sure (winter more than summer).
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  #58  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 9:12 PM
Chisouthside Chisouthside is offline
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oh for sure you can still make them out but compared to being in the southbay where theyre super prevalent it's almost like driving from chicago to nebraska
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They are towards the west, unless there's a lot of smog/fire season. You can see the Sierras on a windy day for sure (winter more than summer).
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  #59  
Old Posted Jan 20, 2022, 9:24 PM
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  #60  
Old Posted Jan 21, 2022, 5:47 AM
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Originally Posted by homebucket View Post
As for Norcal, I don't think Sacramento and the Bay Area are developed enough in between to be considered a megalopolis. There's 5 segments (3-6 miles each of nothingness) of wilderness and farmland and wetlands in between on the I-80 corridor that isn't developed: between Vallejo and Fairfield, Fairfield and Vacaville, Vacaville and Dixon, Dixon and Davis, Davis and Sacramento.
If there were to be a mostly unbroken chain of development between the Bay Area and Sacramento, it wouldn't be along the 80. Rather, it would be counterclockwise around the delta and then northward. It's not hard to imagine development gradually moving southeastward from Antioch and Byron connecting with Mountain House and then Tracy, Tracy to Lathrop and Stockton, Stockton to Lodi and Galt, and then completing the connection, between Galt and Elk Grove. All of these areas are among the fastest growing in metropolitan Northern California.

It's similar to how greater LA and greater SD are already connected not along the more famous coastal route and the 5, but rather, clockwise around the mountains, especially along the 15 corridor.
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