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ceiiinosssttuu
08-27-2013, 03:18 PM
Many state boundaries make no sense. With this (draft) map, I redrew the state boundaries using existing counties to give proper consideration to regional similarities in geography, climate, and culture. I used natural barriers such as rivers and mountain ranges to separate states, and natural commonalities such as watersheds and valleys as guides. I proposed new state names based on central geographic features, historic regional names, and (using a convention from many current state names) local Native American tribes. I also picked state capitols for their centrality and influence. Some states got bigger, some got smaller, and some didn't change at all.

I WANT YOUR INPUT!
I live in the Northwest, and have traveled through much of the US, but I don't pretend to be an expert on all regions. Let me know what works, and what doesn't. If you see something that doesn't make sense, tell me, and I will change it.

Christopher Powell
08-27-2013, 04:22 PM
Very cool map.

One quick question: Some of the new states don't have state names, just capitols. Is there a reason for that? I specifically noticed it in the central states where Topeka, Colombia and Galesburg are the capitols, though other areas had this omission as well. (I live in Kansas and so naturally checked here immediately to see what you did to my home. No real qualms with your divisions, they make perfect sense, but I was just curious on the names.)

Also, though this would take more work, but it would be really cool to take this map and overlay it with a terrain map and then redraw some of the boundaries to match up more closely with mountain ranges and streams/rivers. Specifically I'm thinking out west where you still end up with a bunch of long straight lines.

ceiiinosssttuu
08-27-2013, 04:31 PM
Very cool map.

One quick question: Some of the new states don't have state names, just capitols. Is there a reason for that? I specifically noticed it in the central states where Topeka, Colombia and Galesburg are the capitols, though other areas had this omission as well. (I live in Kansas and so naturally checked here immediately to see what you did to my home. No real qualms with your divisions, they make perfect sense, but I was just curious on the names.)

Also, though this would take more work, but it would be really cool to take this map and overlay it with a terrain map and then redraw some of the boundaries to match up more closely with mountain ranges and streams/rivers. Specifically I'm thinking out west where you still end up with a bunch of long straight lines.

The reason is I just couldn't think of a good name - I would encourage ideas. When I have received lots of feedback and made any pertinent corrections, I would love to make a "nice" looking map with terrain. You think the Eastern Kansas/Western Missouri area makes sense? Any other areas in that region that should be changed?

Chashio
08-27-2013, 04:43 PM
Interesting project. Your title is sort of vague on what is meant by 'statistically equivalent areas' - and it could be nice or wonderful to have some info included in scattered boxes about your reasoning for various changes to specific areas. Such as why you lumped New England together? I live there, so I'm rather curious. :)

Christopher Powell
08-27-2013, 05:35 PM
Yeah, that area made sense to me. I would point out that both Missouri and Kansas are based on tribal names, so, you could stick with those for those regions. Perhaps not coincidentally, the two areas of those states that you have not named roughly coincide with where those tribes lived. So the Topeka state could still be called Kansas (or Kansa) and the Colombia area could still be called Missouri.

Also, the area around Chicago and Green Bay was settled by the Potawatomi, so that could be a name instead of West Michigan. The Galesburg state could possibly be called Illinois since it is named after the native tribe the Illini, though, I'm not sure if their natural territory actually overlaps with what you have here.

kolgrim
08-27-2013, 08:56 PM
Wow, what a cool idea. Really fun to think about.

I would suggest some more consideration for cultural divisions. New York City and Long Island might be their own separate states from the rest of New York. I'm also not sure that all those folks you've put into New England would except the lack of distinction. I could also see a north south devision in Florida. Ah, mythical Cascadia, how you were such a part of my youth (so glad you put that in there). Oh, I also like how New Jersey has remained 'New Jersey'. I could also see the oil companies owning a few states in Alaska.

Is this a 'what if we reorganized everything today' sort of project? Or a 'what if the states developed over time differently than they did'?

Well, you've certainly got my brain humming. Look forward to seeing your revisions.

Falconius
08-28-2013, 02:10 AM
This is pretty neat. How many states does this end up having?

Has anyone seen the program on History ( I think) called How the States Got Their Shapes? I always enjoy it when I catch it, generally pretty interesting.

Niall Mackay
08-28-2013, 04:56 PM
Interesting project!

Though, as a geographer, I can't let this uncommented:

I used natural barriers such as rivers and mountain ranges to separate states, and natural commonalities such as watersheds and valleys as guides.
There are no such things as "natural borders" (even if you call them barriers)!
For example, let's have a look at the Mississippi and other rivers in the MM-system: You used them as borders, not only between counties, even between states! Why?
Think about it: Do the left abutters of the river have more in common with the right abutters of the same river, or with some guys that live a two hours drive away from the river? Wouldn't projects like flood protections, harbour areas and the like be easier if there was only one authority in charge and not two competing and disputing ones?
Therefore, wouldn't watersheds make better borders?

Sorry about the rant, but the term "natural border" just annoys me. ;)
I know, it's and old problem and still used in contemporary geopolitical work, but it's mostly crap. Rivers (and to a lesser extent, mountain ranges) may have some use as an international border if you aren't really at peace with your neighbour on the other side, but once inside a county, it turns into a problem.

Gumboot
08-28-2013, 06:27 PM
Interesting project!

Though, as a geographer, I can't let this uncommented:

There are no such things as "natural borders" (even if you call them barriers)!
For example, let's have a look at the Mississippi and other rivers in the MM-system: You used them as borders, not only between counties, even between states! Why?
Think about it: Do the left abutters of the river have more in common with the right abutters of the same river, or with some guys that live a two hours drive away from the river? Wouldn't projects like flood protections, harbour areas and the like be easier if there was only one authority in charge and not two competing and disputing ones?
Therefore, wouldn't watersheds make better borders?

Sorry about the rant, but the term "natural border" just annoys me. ;)
I know, it's and old problem and still used in contemporary geopolitical work, but it's mostly crap. Rivers (and to a lesser extent, mountain ranges) may have some use as an international border if you aren't really at peace with your neighbour on the other side, but once inside a county, it turns into a problem.

While I agree on their being no natural borders (the very idea of a "border" is a human construct) I think you're being a bit harsh here. I read their post as they were using natural barriers as logical territorial end points. In this instance "barrier" isn't a euphemism for "border", it's exactly what it means; "barrier" - an impassable obstacle. Having a river or mountain range through the middle of a territory doesn't make any sense at all if you can't cross it, which is why historically they were frequently used as borders.

ETA... You also lump both mountain ranges and rivers into your rant, but then suggest that watersheds make better borders. Well watersheds are generally found in mountains...

Veluux
08-28-2013, 08:33 PM
Pretty interesting idea you've got going on here.

A small note from a Colorado Native: For the new version of Colorado (the western half, not Arapahoe) I wouldn't suggest Glenwood Springs as the Capital. It's true that it is quite centralized and may draw more attention (due to its value as a tourist site)... but I think Grand Junction would make a much more logical and practical choice for the capital of that region. For a few reasons:

It's got a major set of railway intersections, as well as having some major highway intersections. The highways that pass through Junction are the main entry points for the surrounding valleys that border the Grand Junction valley. You really can't get down into the southern part of the new version of Colorado (Delta, Mesa, Montrose counties) without going through Grand Junction. Add the fact that it's got a lot of major businesses and buildings in it - including all of the surrounding agricultural products basically get shipped and distributed through it.

Glenwood Springs is more of a tourist location. It's full of hot springs, novelty shops - and is packed into a narrow canyon valley with only two useful entry points - compared to Junction being surrounded by offshoot highways into the surrounding region's valley network.

Just my thoughts.

Great work so far though - extremely interesting.

EDIT: Grand Junction also has a fairly decent sized airport (for a non-major city). I'm not even sure if Glenwood has an airport that will take anything other than personal planes/jets and very small aircraft. Junction's takes smaller jet-liner transit planes. Something that's pretty important to have in a capital city.

waldronate
08-28-2013, 09:01 PM
You started with the idea that "Many state boundaries make no sense." I would argue that every state boundary makes a huge deal of sense given the context of its formation. Check out the History Channel "How the states got their shapes" program for passable discussions of why those boundaries are there. The national boundaries should also be a bit redrawn in this concept as well.

In your "Mojave" state, you show a relative backwater (Barstow) as the capital instead of much more populous places like Las Vegas (or even Ridgecrest!). As an aside, there have been occasional rumbles about merging portions of Kern, Inyo, and San Bernardino counties into one "Desert" county for many years. It never happens, even though the desert counties are all treated as uninteresting appendages on their host counties.

Note that any state or combination of states can merge or split as needed if their populations agree to it (it's fairly straightforward to push such things through Congress if needed). The fact that the state boundaries have been relatively stable for a long time is as much a testament to the huge voting blocks concentrated in cities as to anything else. There are far too many entrenched interests who fight tooth and nail at any suggestion that their power base might be changed for much to happen.

County boundaries are interesting. There were some articles some years back that suggested that the size and general shape of a county is largely related to the amount of ground that a law enforcement official can cover in a day. Thus, older counties and counties in tough terrain tend to be smaller, with larger counties generally farther from initial settlement. The same is broadly true of states.

Just sitting down and drawing boundaries on map is an interesting exercise, one which is vaguely similar to the results of regional variations in speech patterns. However, every boundary that we have today is usually the result of significant historical compromises, compromises that won't much show by just drawing boundaries on a map.

waldronate
08-28-2013, 09:04 PM
http://mapcollection.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/us-population-density.png suggests where capitols for a "natural" set of states would be. 22 Maps That Show The Deepest Linguistic Conflicts In America - Business Insider (http://www.businessinsider.com/22-maps-that-show-the-deepest-linguistic-conflicts-in-america-2013-6?op=1) might also work for suggesting state boundaries.

ceiiinosssttuu
08-29-2013, 10:44 AM
Veluux, thank you for your comments - this is EXACTLY the kind of information I'm looking for. I considered Grand Junction originally, but hesitated because it wouldn't be very centrally located. But I definitely see your point, so I changed it. Revised map will be uploaded soon.

ceiiinosssttuu
08-29-2013, 10:54 AM
Waldrongate, I agree that many current state boundaries DO make sense, and I have seen "How the states got their shapes". For example, I think South Carolina makes sense: the large Savannah River as one divide, the start of the Appalachians as another, and an arbitrary line through relatively rural areas that centers the state nicely around Columbia and captures a relatively homogeneous cultural/language region. Other states make NO sense at all - like California, as you mentioned: I created "Southern California" with the natural divide that has the Great Basin and the Colorado River watershed on one side, and the rivers flowing into the Pacific on the other. This "neatly" captures the heavily Urban coastal LA/San Diego corridor which have a more maritime climate, and separates it from the rural, hot, desert climate in Mojave. I see your point that Las Vegas would make a more appropriate capital for Mojave, so I changed it. Thank you for the comments!

ceiiinosssttuu
08-29-2013, 11:14 AM
Updated map:57315

ranger
08-29-2013, 01:55 PM
This is a neat idea! Good Job!

Wyoming capital should be Casper btw, its way bigger than lander, and its a major trade hub, river/rail/international airport/interstate - and lander is in the middle of a huge valley hard to get to from any direction but east, Casper is is relatively accessible (and I live there :P )

ceiiinosssttuu
08-29-2013, 03:24 PM
57320Thanks, Ranger. Updated map (with a few other changes I added). I had initially chosen Lander because it was more centrally located, but I get your point. What do you think of the "new" Wyoming area? I couldn't quite decide how to divide up Eastern Wyoming, Western SD, Northern Colorado, and the Nebraska panhandle. Let me know if you think there is another way that makes more sense.

ranger
08-29-2013, 04:01 PM
Well....it may be better to go straight up from natrona county (casper) up into big horn, then over west, and give part of that montana area north of yellowstone to wyoming or just merge the 2, and take out a bit of the southern counties of wyoming to the colorado, as that would be a big hunk of the "mountains" some of the largest mountains in the us, the wind river range is i think has the highest continual elevation in the us rather than just a high peak like alaska has. By going straight north you snag the big horns as part of the "mountain state" but right north of wyoming is the large yellowstone river network so its fitting to be part of that other state. wyoming has some of the most varied terrain of all the states, so would be divided heavily by the terrain, the only reason it has those straight lines is because of history when it was a territory and how the feds laid out the land in a grid for the old homestead system. Casper actually sits between 3 of those major terrain divisions, the great plains to the east, the mountains to the south, and a weird land formation of semi flat area but not part of the great plains to the north and west (though the north part of that is relativly small until you start getting into the foothills of the bighorns. I grew up in the military so have lived a bit of places, and traveled to 80% of the us so will try and look things over more for you, though I saw a map the other day that does what your trying with a twist - Population here is a link Electoral college reform (fifty states with equal population) / fake is the new real (http://fakeisthenewreal.org/reform/)

waldronate
08-29-2013, 08:35 PM
Where The Buffalo Roamed – How Far Can You Get From McDonald's? (http://www.datapointed.net/2009/09/distance-to-nearest-mcdonalds/) says something about our society. Probably something about economics and the importance of profitability.

ceiiinosssttuu
08-30-2013, 04:04 PM
57351Updated map. Does anyone have suggestions for any of the following:
1. What to name the states of Former Kentucky, Middle Tennessee/N Alabama, Indiana/Western Ohio?
2. Should the small new states of Maryland/Southern PA and the Philadelphia area be merged? What to name them/it? Capital(s)?
3. Would the Carolinas make more sense if they were divided east and west into Tidewater/Piedmont regions?
Thanks!

Midgardsormr
08-30-2013, 07:12 PM
Regarding Sedgwick County and surrounds currently residing in Ogallala: The city of Wichita strongly influences the surrounding area. I'd argue that Butler county at least would be in the same state as Sedgwick, and possibly Cowley. Cowley is also strongly influenced by Tulsa, though, which is in Osage. I think the tipping point for where Cowley would fall is the location of next-door Sumner County. There is a strong link between Arkansas City and Winfield in Cowley with Wellington in Sumner.

Kansas City/St Joseph is likewise messy, being divided into three states. I know a lot of the towns on the Kansas side, as far west as Lawrence, are far more affected by KC's powerful economy than they are Topeka's political influence.

TregMallin
08-30-2013, 09:28 PM
Having grown up around Chicago, it is most definitely a city-state unto itself, with the collar counties of Cook, DuPage and Lake in the orbit as "the Chicagoland Area". Lumping it in with south-eastern Wisconsin doesn't seem right at all. (Perhaps Chicago could annex Lake Geneva, WI in much the same way as they annexed the land out to O'Hare. *heh* Lot's of Illinois plates in LG in the summertime.)

Wisconsin (where my family comes from on both sides) has a sort of east/west demarcation as you've described. I'm still trying to sort out how Milwaukee (Mom's side) fits in with Taylor County (Dad's side). Both are fairly different from south-western Wisconsin (wife's family).

Edit: I'm chuckling at how small Missouri got. My folks always joked that, in fact, Iowa was not a real place at all and was just a blend of South Minnesota and North Missouri. :) Especially Keokuk, where our friends were from. :)

Christopher Powell
09-06-2013, 09:52 AM
Kansas City/St Joseph is likewise messy, being divided into three states. I know a lot of the towns on the Kansas side, as far west as Lawrence, are far more affected by KC's powerful economy than they are Topeka's political influence.

This all harkens back to confusion on the original intent. Is this supposed to be based on re-imagining of how the states would have developed differently than they are today if they had emerged in the same manner that European states did? Or is it a redrawing of the map based on current cultural divides? It seems to be an undefined mixture of both.

Yes, KC has more cultural influence than Topeka (by a long shot). But there is also two distinct sides to KC. The MO side is superficially opposed to the KS side. Now, in reality, there is not much distinguishing the two sides from one another, but the first thing a KC native is going to tell you (after their favorite BBQ joint) is which side of the state line they live on. This is an arbitrary line, but, it has manifested itself into a real cultural distinction.

I will grant that at the time of Topeka's founding KC was already well established. So it is more likely to have developed as the capital (in other words, this was a bad one to quibble on). But I think the author's intentions in this matter would go a great deal towards deciding some of these tough decisions.

Ilanthar
09-06-2013, 03:09 PM
I just wondered if you ever seen this kind of data. It's based on a census of "what city do you feel the closest city to you".

57506
I stumbled on it when looking for another kind of map.

xotoxi
10-02-2013, 01:25 PM
57351Updated map. Does anyone have suggestions for any of the following:
1. What to name the states of Former Kentucky, Middle Tennessee/N Alabama, Indiana/Western Ohio?
2. Should the small new states of Maryland/Southern PA and the Philadelphia area be merged? What to name them/it? Capital(s)?
3. Would the Carolinas make more sense if they were divided east and west into Tidewater/Piedmont regions?
Thanks!


1. North Ohio & South Ohio named after the river that runs between them. Tennesee for the southernmost state named for the river that runs through it.
2. Combine the two states and name it Keystone. Capital could be a newly constructed capital at Holtsville, PA on the Susquehanna. That location seems to be equidistant to Baltimore and Philly. Alternative name: Susquehanna.