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Thread: Project - Re-Imagining the United States

  1. #11
      waldronate is offline
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    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.
    Last edited by waldronate; 08-28-2013 at 09:07 PM.
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      waldronate is offline
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    http://mapcollection.files.wordpress...on-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 might also work for suggesting state boundaries.

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    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.

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    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!

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    Updated map:Project - Re-Imagining the United States-united-states-county-map.gif

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    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 )
    Last edited by ranger; 08-29-2013 at 01:58 PM.

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    Project - Re-Imagining the United States-united-states-county-map-rev3.gifThanks, 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.

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    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

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      waldronate is offline
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    Where The Buffalo Roamed – How Far Can You Get From McDonald's? says something about our society. Probably something about economics and the importance of profitability.

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    Project - Re-Imagining the United States-united-states-county-map-rev4.gifUpdated 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!

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