Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Half the US population is in 146 large population counties in and around center cities

Thinking about how the politics and governance of "states" typically screws cities and urbanized metropolitan areas, such as how the State Legislature in Georgia is making it almost impossible to have votes on raising sales taxes for transit ("Fulton leaders hope to avoid repeat transportation sales tax defeat," Atlanta Journal-Constitution), the reporting of various election results in the primary process for the 2016 Presidential campaign and looking at national and state maps, such as the one for New York State showing the distribution of votes for Bernie Sanders vs. Hillary Clinton, it's easy to forget how much of the US population is centered around urban metropolitan areas.

Cities and metropolitan areas continue to be screwed in how the the federal and state electoral system is organized.

Half of the US population lives in 146 counties in the US.  Business Insider map via the Daily Mail ("The 146 counties where HALF of the U.S. population lives.. with the other 157 million Americans scattered across 3,000: Population clusters gathered around major cities including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Chicago")
New York Times graphic, Democratic Primary election results, New York State.  Total vote: Hillary Clinton, 1,054,083; Bernie Sanders, 763,469 

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At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RL: Saw that map of NYS on election night and knew things were out of whack but not to that degree. Thought it was interesting that, outside of New York City--where Sanders was born--Clinton pulled in Onondaga (McAuliffe is from Skaneateles near Syracuse), Monroe (RIT, Univ. of Rochester--big finance/MBA school, home of Kodak, Xerox, Bausch&Lomb) and Erie (home to Univ. of Buffalo and not much else I'm aware of) Counties. Would love to see the breakout state-by-state.

At 11:29 PM, Anonymous Christopher said...

Breakdown I've seen is generally Clinton does better in areas that look more like America looks in aggregate, while Bernie does better in areas that are predominantly white and low education. His results in NYS weren't much different than Wisconsin.

As for the question of cities and rural out of balance, I've always appreciated the approach that Japan took. They allowed cities over 1 million, I believe, to have the same rights as their version of states. This did two things: 1. helped to balance at the city/rural divide, and 2. encourage multi-city urban areas to merge together to form cities that met the minimum population requirements. As a result it increased efficiency by eliminating the number of small municipalities. Imagine if more metropolitan areas in the US were encouraged to merge together in such a fashion in order to achieve political balance with the urbanized areas.

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

1. your first para is a very nice and succinct summary of the data. THANKS.

2. VERY very interesting. I didn't know that. Here we could that by creating a metro-scaled govt., the way that some of the combo city-counties do (like Indianapolis) or Portland's special Metro govt. (sort of like how Toronto has functioned and the region governments in Ontario, e.g., Peel or York).

But man, I can't see the smaller places being willing to give up their individuality, which is couched partly in keeping out "urban problems."

But there is no question this would make a big difference.


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