Suburban Land Conversion in the United States: An Economic and Governmental Process

By Marion Clawson | Go to book overview

10
AN OVERVIEW OF THE COMPLEX

As used in this book, "Northeastern Urban Complex" means all the Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas from just north of Boston, south to Washington, D.C., together with all more or less directly intervening rural counties. The Complex includes 34 SMSAs, 78 counties, and 109 cities with 25,000 population or more in 1960. Within its 31.5 thousand square miles, 34.2 million people lived1 (Figure 12 and Appendix Tables 2 and 3).

This analysis includes the whole of any county which was partly included in one of the 1960 SMSAs, as well as intervening more or less rural counties where urbanization is likely to extend in the next few decades -- where it is actually extending now, in several cases. The defined area thus includes one county in New Hampshire, all of Massachusetts except the extreme eastern and extreme western portions, all of Rhode Island and Connecticut, the southeastern corner of New York, nearly all of New Jersey, southeastern Pennsylvania, part of northern Delaware, some of Maryland, the District of Columbia, and a little of Virginia. The area, thus defined, is relatively inclusive as far as total population, employment, income, housing, and other measures of urban life are concerned; that is, it would be necessary to extend its boundaries a great deal farther to include substantially more people. This area includes much more than the direct urban land use zone. This was intentional, as well as almost inescapable because of the nature of the data. Let us begin by looking at land use within the whole area and then gradually narrow down our focus to deal in more detail with the strictly urbanized parts of the whole area.

Any study of urbanism in the northeastern United States inevitably invites comparison with Gottmann's Megalopolis.2 Gottmann states that this term was first applied to a Greek settlement which its founders hoped would become the largest of all Greek cities. Their hopes were not realized, and the term has now come to mean any very large city. Gottmann seems unaware that Lewis Mumford

____________________
1
As noted in Chapter 2 above, the Bureau of the Census followed county lines in defining SMSAs in 1960, except in New England, where towns were used. Since 1960, additional counties or towns have been added to some of the original SMSAs, and the 1970 Census will include these and possibly additional areas. However, in this chapter the 1960 definitions are used, partly because much information in the 1960 Census is not available in sample censuses or other sources for the period since 1960.
2
Jean Gottmann, Megalopolis -- The Urbanized Northeastern Seaboard of the United States ( Twentieth Century Fund, 1961).

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