Monday, October 06, 2008

There's big and then there's big.

When I moved to Indy, I heard someone mention something about it being the "13th largest city in the US". So I checked, and lo and behold, it was so.

But wait... Is that list accurate? Because Atlanta's at, like, number thirty-three, and I've lived both places; you could lose Indy in Metro Atlanta... Ah, that's right: Metro Atlanta. Atlanta is a donut city; the city itself is actually fairly small, geographically, and consists mostly of business districts interspersed with single-family dwellings, and is surrounded by vast, uncounted miles of paved suburban hell, teeming with office buildings, industrial parks, malls, and commuters. The Atlanta-Marietta-Sandy Springs Metro Area recently passed Boston, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In Indy, comparatively speaking, you're not that far outside I-465 before the cornfields start. Which is kinda nice, actually. I live in a fairly urban and cosmopolitan neighborhood, and if I head west on 56th street, I'm to an outdoor pistol range in a city park in less than 30 minutes, and a mile or so past that, I see my first grain elevators.

14 comments:

staghounds said...

Something I've found different in other places, especially in densely popul;ated England, is the lack of suburbia as we know it. You're in the country or what we'd call town- not much in between.

Avenger29 said...

Atlanta and LA are too cities I never want to live in.

In contrast, many of the larger cities in the Midwest and western states are right pleasant to travel through. They sure don't feel like big cities, and that's a relief.

Billy Beck said...

It was about ten years ago that it occurred to me that Atlanta is the east coast's answer to L.A. The rank bullshit of the culture is a bit different in myriad details, but the general odor is discernible almost to the Tennessee border.

Tam said...

Yes, Peachtree Street through Butt... er, Buckhead has more than once been called the "Rodeo Drive of the East Coast".

Rob K said...

I think there are still some corn fields inside I-465. There's definitely some on the south side along the White River, since they can't use that for anything else.

My aunt lives in Buckhead. I know what you mean.

Nathan Brindle said...

I'd have to look, but I think they mean "13th largest metro area", which includes parts of the surrounding counties.

Indy proper (Marion County less the four "excluded" cities) is something like 20th or 21st largest.

Nathan Brindle said...

Rob, up here on the north side they grow corn and beans in the large free spaces around the TV station transmitter towers that are installed south of 86th and north of 71st on a line pretty much along Township Line Road.

Tam said...

Nathan,

It's the 13th largest city by population, and the Nine County "Indianapolis-Carmel Metro area" is 33rd.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indianapolis_Metropolitan_Area

(Almost the reverse of Atlanta, where the city itself is 33rd and the Metro Area is ninth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_Atlanta
There are actually people who work in the office towers along the northern arc of I-285 who commute daily from the southern suburbs of Chattanooga, TN.)

Tam said...

In fact, I used to work at a Stop'n'Rob right on the northern tip of I-285 (Roswell Rd. exit) and a lady would top everymorning to get coffee on her way to work. She was driving from Dahlonega (~65mi north of the city proper) to her job at Hartsfield Airport (~5 miles south of downtown). Every day. And that was in 1988 or so...

Old Grouch said...

Oh, Indy has sprawl, it just not as concentrated: Northward there's the Zionsville-Carmel-Fishers trio just north of the county line, beyond that Lebanon-Westfield-Noblesville-Pendleton (along SR32). When I was a kid, those were all farm towns with open fields in between. Now it's mostly McMansions interspersed with strip malls.

Westward there's Avon-Plainfield-Brownsburg corridor, with Danville farther west. Slower in developing because people don't like driving into the sun on their commute.

A lot of those folks could be living in the city proper, if the powers that be had put forth the effort to make city living more attractive to families (i.e., not tolerating lousy schools, spending money on neighborhoods instead of stadia). OTOH, if they were living in the city now, many of us who do live there couldn't afford it...

Anonymous said...

Been through Indy twice, lived in Doraville for 5 years. "Doraville, Touch of country in the city."
Bugged out because of urban devolution, the Olympics and the Moorehouse Mafia around '96.

From what little I saw of Indy it looked like a much nicer place to be. Corn was over 6' tall on my last pass through on 465 and it was very pretty, even at 75.

Gmac

Ed Foster said...

Used to have to fly in to Indianapolis on a regular basis, on business for Rolls-Royce (That's British for Allison if you're a Hoosier).
Seems to me that the extensive 'burbs running under the wing as we came in ran on for a number of miles, both in length and breadth.
More than once I tried to gestimate population density of all those scary Long Island-like neighborhoods. Near as I can figure, you could shoehorn Connecticut's population into an area 5 or 6 miles wide and 10 or 12long, due east of the airport.
Call me a Yankee, but I need a patch of forest every mile or so to avoid claustraphobia.
Still, about every third person I know here has a nasty crash with a deer every third year, including me, so maybe there's something to flat and busy. Different strokes...

Anonymous said...

Wow just WOW, Didn't catch the news you moved up here. Hope your not to homesick.
txgho1911

Tam said...

Ed,

At ~700/mi^2, the population density of the whole state of CT, taken as an average, is pushing double that of the 9-county Indianapolis metro area (440/mi^2).