General Boston Discussion

Charlie_mta

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Interesting read, but it's about how Boston is hurtling away from Philly in the life sciences industries, not how Philly is hurtling towards Baltimore. Wrong URL?
I think a valid point was made about Baltimore. Boston is in the same size and type category as Philly and Baltimore, but Boston is very fortunate to be fundamentally different than they are.
 

KentXie

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I think something that is interesting is while Boston punch above it's weight in terms of life science, it is severely below average in terms of Fortune 500 companies which to me is likely due to its proximity to NYC. Just something interesting to note
 

DBM

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Using city limits like this always bothers me. Boston may be the 24th largest city by population, but that's only due to its constricted land area and much of its urban population is found within the inner suburbs. Even though it's the 24th largest US city by population, it's around 10/11 for metro, and a substantially larger urban area than the following "bigger" cities: Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, San Jose, Austin, Jacksonville, Fort Worth, Columbus, Indianapolis, Charlotte, Seattle, Denver, Oklahoma City, Nashville, and El Paso.

If Boston annexed its suburbs to match the square miles of some of these other cities it would be the 5th or 6th largest city in the US. That's its real weight, not just a "700,000 person city."
I've cited this factoid before on AB--and ultimately, that's all it is, a factoid--but I still think it's marvelously illustrative in terms of how regional planning in E. Mass. is absolutely crippled by how many independent municipalities that "should be Boston," given their density characteristics, are not.

The farthest point in Readville is exactly 10.0 miles from City Hall on a line. There are 23 independent municipalities, the Town/City Halls of which are equal or less than the distance to Boston City Hall, as compared to Readville, a neighborhood of Boston.

Quincy, Milton, Dedham, Brookline, Newton, Cambridge, Watertown, Waltham, Somerville, Belmont, Winthrop, Revere, Chelsea, Malden, Medford, Arlington, Winchester, Melrose, Woburn, Stoneham, Lynn, Saugus, Winthrop

Our invention of "New England-style" small-town democracy/governance is surely a wonderful thing, but, again, for the great regional issues--homelessness, housing, climate change, transit, etc.--it is utterly devastating.
 

Scott

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I'm confused. How could it be so successful and better than elsewhere if it is devastated?
 

DBM

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I'm confused. How could it be so successful and better than elsewhere if it is devastated?
I find your alleged confusion to be highly amusing, given that nowhere in my post did I say New England-style small-town governance/democracy was "successful," or "better than anywhere else." (But of course I stick to my assertion that the extremely balkanized nature of governmental power within the Route 128 belt has been devastating for regional planning.) Thanks for playing!
 

Blackbird

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I find your alleged confusion to be highly amusing, given that nowhere in my post did I say New England-style small-town governance/democracy was "successful," or "better than anywhere else." (But of course I stick to my assertion that the extremely balkanized nature of governmental power within the Route 128 belt has been devastating for regional planning.) Thanks for playing!
You did call it “a wonderful thing”. I personally read that as “it was a good idea at the time”.

In 1630, when Watertown was founded, there was very little state or country asssistance in planning, there was no existing infrastructure, and it was a very long journey to Boston, Salem, etc. with existing transportation. Perhaps then, it made sense for people in places like Watertown to really take charge of their own area and make it work.

But since 1630, a lot has changed and none of those factors I mentioned are still there. There’s also been a big shift in how cities are governed, with places like NYC, London, Tokyo, Toronto, etc. all merging with surrounding municipalities to form one big city government. And they haven’t undone it, which probably means that the model works.
 

Scott

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I meant that saying it is better than it's peers is a contradiction to it being devastated. Thank you very much
 

Blackbird

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Oh yeah. I definitely missed any instance of DBM saying our local governance is “better than it’s peers”.
 

Scott

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I missed where I responded directly to you or DBM.
 

Charlie_mta

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This idea has come up on AB before, but I like the concept of one county being formed for the Boston metro area, while all the individual city and town governments would remain intact. The new county could be assigned planning authority and hopefully some powers to implement planning elements (intense pearl clutching from the provincial cities and towns notwithstanding).
 

Blackbird

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This idea has come up on AB before, but I like the concept of one county being formed for the Boston metro area, while all the individual city and town governments would remain intact. The new county could be assigned planning authority and hopefully some powers to implement planning elements (intense pearl clutching from the provincial cities and towns notwithstanding).
I think it’d be confusing to do this in conjunction with re-instituting county government. What’s the problem with the municipalities becoming buroughs or wards under a unified city government? It’s not like we’d have to re-invent the wheel here.
 

Charlie_mta

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I think it’d be confusing to do this in conjunction with re-instituting county government. What’s the problem with the municipalities becoming buroughs or wards under a unified city government? It’s not like we’d have to re-invent the wheel here.
I was thinking of a more politically implementable system. Given the fierce turfism of the local cities and towns, I don't see a unified city government covering the metro area happening for another few generations, if ever.
Besides, I like the small city governments. I grew up in Cambridge, and with its separate city government and school system it felt like a small friendly town. Everyone knew everyone. My parents and relatives personally knew people in the city government, and I grew to know some of them as well. If Cambridge had been part of Boston, the government would have been magnitudes less accessible and responsive. I also suspect the public schools wouldn't have been as good. Also, the Inner Belt and NW Expressway back in the 1960s would have rolled through town, pretty much decimating it. Yeah, a small municipality has its advantages. It enables more effective grassroots mobilization around development issues, for one thing.
 

Blackbird

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I’m not 100% sure of the details, but I believe that the buroughs of NYC and London and the wards of Tokyo still have some local representation and control.

I don’t think consolidation would mean an absolute loss of that sort of thing.
 
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shmessy

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Interesting read, but it's about how Boston is hurtling away from Philly in the life sciences industries, not how Philly is hurtling towards Baltimore. Wrong URL?


(in particular - - these last 5 lines (column headers on the right are Philadelphia - Boston - United States) Philadelphia
2 yr College Grad.
5.5%​
4.6%​
8.3%​
4 yr College Grad.
27.1%​
47.4%​
30.9%​
Masters Grad.
7.5%​
13.7%​
8.4%​
Professional Degree
2.4%​
4.4%​
2.0%​
Doctorate Degree
1.4%​
3.1%​
1.4%​


Crime
Philadelphia, PABoston, MAUnited States
Violent Crime
50.8​
37.3​
22.7​
Property Crime
46.6​
35.8​
35.4​



Economy (note well, in the middle there - - Boston's lower sales tax rate and lower income tax rate - while at the same time outperforming all the job, income and growth numbers - - outperforms by alot on BOTH axis.
Philadelphia, PABoston, MAUnited States
Unemployment Rate
10.6%​
6.2%​
6.0%​
Recent Job Growth
1.2%​
4.3%​
1.6%​
Future Job Growth
28.4%​
42.5%​
33.5%​
Sales Taxes
8.0%​
6.3%​
6.2%​
Income Taxes
7.0%​
5.1%​
4.6%​
Income per Cap.
$24,811​
$39,686​
$31,177​
Household Income
$40,649​
$62,021​
$57,652​
Family Median Income
$50,434​
$69,616​
$70,850​


https://www.bestplaces.net/compare-cities/philadelphia_pa/boston_ma/health (Boston has more than double the physicians per capita)

Health
Philadelphia, PABoston, MAUnited States
Air Quality (100=best)
39.1​
43.3​
58.4​
Water Quality (100=best)
1​
1​
55​
Superfund Sites (100=best)
91.5​
95.9​
86.9​
Physicians per Cap.
243​
554​
210​
Health Cost
98​
83​
100​



Do we need more? The city comparisons are nowhere close. .........Philadelphia does, however have 3 times the population............ but so does Mogadishu.
 
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Java King

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Water Quality in Metro Boston is a one? I've always heard that MWRA water from the Quabbin was some of the best, right up there with NYC tap water. I don't mean that sarcastically at all. Both metro areas get their water from protected areas miles away.

"In summary, the top 10 cities with the best tap water in the USA safe for drinking are Louisville, Oklahoma, Silverdale, Greenville, Fort Collins, Manchester, Chicago, Stevens Point, New York City."
 

xec

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https://www.bestplaces.net/compare-cities/philadelphia_pa/boston_ma/overview

Thanks. That's a lot of useful information I didn't know about how Boston compares to Philly.

I'm sorry that Philly isn't doing too well. My first BF was a long-distance relationship with a local guy who went to Penn and decided to stay after graduation. I visited him a lot, so I got go know Philly pretty well, and I always thought it was a really great city that was only going to get better as time went on. I guess things aren't going the way I thought they would.

Going back to the reason for my initial post, though, do you have similar data comparing Philly to Baltimore?
 

xec

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Water Quality in Metro Boston is a one? I've always heard that MWRA water from the Quabbin was some of the best, right up there with NYC tap water. I don't mean that sarcastically at all. Both metro areas get their water from protected areas miles away.
For what it's worth, the ex-BF mentioned in my prior post is a hybrid civil engineer/MBA Cliff Clavin know-it-all type (but in a good way), and one of the things he'd go on Clavin-like rants about when he visited me was how good Boston's drinking water was and the great job the MWRA was doing. Of course, that was almost two decades ago, so maybe things have changed since then.
 

shmessy

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https://www.bestplaces.net/compare-cities/philadelphia_pa/boston_ma/overview

Thanks. That's a lot of useful information I didn't know about how Boston compares to Philly.

I'm sorry that Philly isn't doing too well. My first BF was a long-distance relationship with a local guy who went to Penn and decided to stay after graduation. I visited him a lot, so I got go know Philly pretty well, and I always thought it was a really great city that was only going to get better as time went on. I guess things aren't going the way I thought they would.

Going back to the reason for my initial post, though, do you have similar data comparing Philly to Baltimore?
Philly definitely isn't nearly as bad a Baltimore, I only wrote that it was hurtling in that direction. As a current Maryland resident, I can assure that Philly has a long way to go to get to the depths of a Baltimore.
 

Charlie_mta

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Philly definitely isn't nearly as bad a Baltimore, I only wrote that it was hurtling in that direction. As a current Maryland resident, I can assure that Philly has a long way to go to get to the depths of a Baltimore.
My younger son lives in Baltimore and always tells me it is terrible there with rampant crime.
 

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