MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

October 22, 2010

Welcome to The Near-Urban Neighborhood!

We have all heard the terms urban (and the deeper location of the inner city) and suburban, with the term “rural” on the extreme end. The former conjures up images of tall buildings, row houses, crowded streets, and lots of concrete; The latter images of individual house with pools in the backyard, lots of trees, grass, non-metered residential parking etc; And “rural” being cows and fields of grain.

As a practical example, New York City is composed of 5 boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx. To most people (especially Long Islanders) the “city” is Manhattan. The other four boroughs are the “outer boroughs” not really considered the city (some even consider Brooklyn and Queens to be parts of Long Island, technically geographically correct).

Moving further East, Nassau and Suffolk counties are Long Island. As such, Nassau and Suffolk are considered suburbs of New York City.

But as cities have expanded over the last 50-6o years these kinds of categorizations are no longer valid in a great many cases. For example, walking along Merrick Road in the towns of Valley Stream, Freeport, Merrick, or Bellmore in Nassau county you are technically not in an “urban” environment though with the tight concentration of houses and business, density of population, noise and pollution etc. while it’s nowhere near as New York City is, it is just as clearly not suburban and definitely not rural.

Even in MasterPo’s own neighborhood in Suffolk county (about 40 miles East of New York City) the setting is not as country-like as suburbia of the 1960’s and earlier.

MasterPo is placing a stake in the ground and coining a new phrase “Near-Urban” meaning less developed and dense than inside the geographic boundaries of a city but far from the rolling hills of the country side. A place you can see your neighbor, see into their yard, hear them come/go in the middle of the night but at the same time you don’t hear them flush the toilet at night nor have concrete from end-to-end.

Under this new term near-urban places like Nassau county and Western Suffolk County (up to about Oakdale/Smithtown) are near-urban, from Oakdale/Smithtown to Riverhead suburban, and further East rural (in spite of encroaching development there still are active farms on Long Island). These kinds of geographic distinction may be difficult for non-New Yorkers and non-Long Islanders to grasp but the same can be said for the areas around all the larger cities like Boston, Chicago, LA, Houston, etc.

This evolution shouldn’t come as a surprise. In MasterPo’s father’s day most of Brooklyn was still dairy farm land! The landscape of America changes as the generations change. Good or bad, right or wrong – probably both from different perspectives.

May you find your corner of the land to hang your hat.

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