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AmericanUrbanDesigner

Carolina Crescent v. Atlanta-Macon-Columbus Metro

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The Carolina Crescent (Columbia - Greenville - Charlotte - Greensboro - Raleigh) is a continguous ring of CSA's.

Atlanta-Macon-Columbus CSA, in terms of land mass, is almost as big as the Crescent CSA.

Thoughts about the population, economy, growth potential, futures of these "competing" citi-states?

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I don't think I've ever heard it called "the Carolina Crescent" before, but it isn't a bad name.

I believe we are talking about two completely different types of growth. The NC-SC thing is like a line of relative near-equals (some big, some small) and it actually mimics I-95 starting in Washington DC (the NE corridor).

The Atlanta-centric thing is not a CSA (first off), it is all within one state, and it is composed of a very large city/metro and two relatively minor cities. There is considerably less population density between Atlanta and Macon or Columbus.

I also find it hard to believe that these two areas are almost the same size, as you claim. If that is true, then I would pause before even saying "Atlanta-Columbus-Macon" in the same breath, as the population density would be so low, it would rival most rural areas.

I don't think there is much to compare. The Piedmont Crescent is undoubtedly more powerful economically and will certainly grow the most consistently (no super-metro to dominate).

Given enough time, Atlanta's CSA may join the activity on the I-85 corridor and become another member.

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I also agree that these growth patterns are in no way comparable. Atlanta will have a more swallowing effect, while the Carolina cities will continue to operate as seperate nodes with regional interaction.

Also, if we're just including contiguous MSA's to define the "Carolina Crescent", Augusta's MSA is adjacent to Columbia's and interacts in much the same way as the other MSA's do...

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I don't think I've ever heard it called "the Carolina Crescent" before, but it isn't a bad name.

I believe we are talking about two completely different types of growth. The NC-SC thing is like a line of relative near-equals (some big, some small) and it actually mimics I-95 starting in Washington DC (the NE corridor).

The Atlanta-centric thing is not a CSA (first off), it is all within one state, and it is composed of a very large city/metro and two relatively minor cities. There is considerably less population density between Atlanta and Macon or Columbus.

I also find it hard to believe that these two areas are almost the same size, as you claim. If that is true, then I would pause before even saying "Atlanta-Columbus-Macon" in the same breath, as the population density would be so low, it would rival most rural areas.

I don't think there is much to compare. The Piedmont Crescent is undoubtedly more powerful economically and will certainly grow the most consistently (no super-metro to dominate).

Given enough time, Atlanta's CSA may join the activity on the I-85 corridor and become another member.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Let me clarify.

Atlanta, Macon, and Columbus are each independent CSA's.

(US CENSUS BUREAU CSA MAP)

They are all not in the same state. The Columbus CSA includes locations in Alabama.

I didn't "claim" the Atlanta-Columbus-Macon combined CSA's were as big. I was suggesting it was "almost as big as" (a matter of opinion).

Is the Crescent really "undoubtedly" more powerful economically? (It makes sense though).

"I believe we are talking about two completely different types of growth".

The pattern of growth (cluster, centric, etc...) wasn't the question.

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I personally think Columbus has plenty to gain as both the Columbus and Atlanta metro areas come together. The two metros already touch I believe. Columbus will benefit economically because of its location to Hartsfield. Columbus already has a large corporate base with AFLAC, TSYS, Synovus, and Carmike Cinemas. This will help the city continue to bring in more companies and industry. Companies are going to see that they can make it to Hartsfield faster from Columbus than they can from north metro Atlanta.

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"I believe we are talking about two completely different types of growth".

The pattern of growth (cluster, centric, etc...) wasn't the question.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Errr, you didn't really ask any question, all you said was "Thoughts about the population, economy, growth potential, futures of these "competing" citi-states?"... and well, those are my thoughts. :D That particular thought is in regards to "growth potential".

EDIT: I'd also like to add that I don't see these two entities as "competing" at all. I suspect that as time progresses they will both be smeared together, along with Chattanooga potentially.

They are all not in the same state. The Columbus CSA includes locations in Alabama.

Well let's not overstate the matter. We are talking about two MSA counties in AL which make up an MSA of less than 300,000 people in total, not a string of much larger metros that clearly span across two states.

I didn't "claim" the Atlanta-Columbus-Macon combined CSA's were as big. I was suggesting it was "almost as big as"

I know you didn't say they were the same size, nor did I say you did. I said "I also find it hard to believe that these two areas are almost the same size, as you claim". You even quoted it.

Is the Crescent really "undoubtedly" more powerful economically?

Given what I know of the region, I'd put my money on "the crescent". Atlanta holds its own pretty well (combined with notable contributions from Columbus, and whatever from Macon), but it can't stand alone against the I-85/I-40/I-77 corridor through SC and NC.

This is an awkward comparison.

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The map that AmericanUrbanDesigner presented is very fascinating. I cut out and scaled the AL-GA-SC-NC-TN portion as well as the legend.

I suspect that in time we may see some of those dark tan areas (individual MSAs) grow a micropolitan CSA around them and thus turn green.

CSA.jpg

csaLegend.jpg

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Thanks for the map. From the looks of things, the ATLANTA and NASHVILLE csa's will connect before any of the others... they lack only one county.

Plus, this is a high growth corridor for both GA and TN.

Does anybody have a clue what the new metropolitan area population is for Chattanooga, now that Bradley (TN) and Whitfield (GA) are included?

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Thanks for posting that map, Norff. It does help to see it here rather than having to go search for it!

I think the question is better thought of as an opportunity to discuss the potentials for each and to imagine, some, how either (or both) might manifest themselves in the future.

In any case, clearly, we are observing the emergence of two (maybe one in the long-term) new American megalopolis'...

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40 LARGEST US EMPLOYMENT CENTERS:

NON-FARM EMPLOYMENT 2000 v. 2003

New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-CT 9,529,000 9,630,100

Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County, CA California 6,775,200 6,823,800

Chicago-Gary-Kenosha, IL-IN-WI Western Great Lakes 4,470,000 4,474,600

Washington-Baltimore, DC-MD-VA-WV 4,094,100 4,179,800

San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA 3,180,300 3,183,700

Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City, PA-NJ-DE-MD 2,985,600 3,001,800

Boston-Worcester-Lawrence-Lowell-Brockton, MA-NH 2,984,200 2,982,500

Dallas-Fort Worth, TX Texas 2,681,400 2,700,500

Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint, MI Eastern Great Lakes 2,512,100 2,481,900

Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, TX Texas 2,262,100 2,289,300

Atlanta, GA Southeast 2,172,200 2,187,800

Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL Florida 1,721,200 1,744,900

Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI Western Great Lakes 1,723,500 1,734,600

Phoenix-Mesa, AZ Interior West 1,621,300 1,660,200

Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton, WA Far West 1,598,000 1,630,100

Cleveland-Akron, OH Eastern Great Lakes 1,446,200 1,445,600

St. Louis, MO-IL Plains 1,296,300 1,334,400

Denver-Boulder-Greeley, CO Interior West 1,302,300 1,307,400

San Diego, CA California 1,243,700 1,262,200

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Florida 1,229,500 1,243,600

Pittsburgh, PA Middle Atlantic 1,113,100 1,114,500

Portland-Salem, OR-WA Far West 1 066,900 1,067,200

Cincinnati-Hamilton, OH-KY-IN Eastern Great Lakes 1,008,500 1,014,900

Orlando, FL Florida 929,800 949,400

Kansas City, MO-KS Plains 944,400 946,500

Milwaukee-Racine, WI Western Great Lakes 906,400 927,900

Indianapolis, IN Eastern Great Lakes 895,700 888,500

Columbus, OH Eastern Great Lakes 873,700 875,200

Las Vegas, NV-AZ Far West 830,400 872,900

Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC 825,400 841,300

Sacramento-Yolo, CA California 753,800 754,700

Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, VA-NC 733,800 743,000

San Antonio, TX Texas 727,500 737,300

Salt Lake City-Ogden, UT 707,800 721,500U

Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC 685,900 700,100

Nashville, TN South Central 687,300 694,400

Austin-San Marcos, TX Texas 654,000 659,400

Greensboro-Winston-Salem-High Point, NC 630,600 632,300

New Orleans, LA South Central 614,100 608,600

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I think the question is better thought of as an opportunity to discuss the potentials for each and to imagine, some, how either (or both) might manifest themselves in the future.

I believe Crescent represents a more diverse range of people, occupations, and ideas. That isn't saying that the items in Georgia do not offer variety, but it is saying the NC and SC offerings are a notch above.

I suppose one would say that it isn't fair to stack all those cities up against Atlanta, and that's true--it isn't fair. It would be more fair and accurate to project Atlanta joining the Crescent.

I wouldn't consider Atlanta-Macon-Columbus a megalopolis because subjectively speaking it just doesn't cover enough distinctly large cities. I consider them to be perfect pieces of a megalopolis.

That map is sort of misleading. Just because a county is green does not mean there is a great deal of development in it. You have to look for the dark shaded areas that indicate very high density then fan out from that with your imagination.

There is a great deal of rural space between Atlanta and Columbus, Macon, and Chattanooga.

There is a vast void between Nashville and Chattanooga.

There is a void between Columbia and Greenville.

On second glance, I suppose the Atlanta and Chattanooga split isn't too awful, perhaps it will be the first to bridge--perhaps within the decade?

On the other hand, you can see a dotted line of dark splotches along the I-40 and I-85 corridors in NC and SC. Surprisingly it looks like Hickory's "metro" doesn't have too much of a canyon separating it from Charlotte's metro.

After looking at the map and considering what I know of NC's and SC's development and spacing, I imagine some of those voids mentioned above are quite rural by comparison.

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I believe Crescent represents a more diverse range of people, occupations, and ideas. That isn't saying that the items in Georgia do not offer variety, but it is saying the NC and SC offerings are a notch above.

I suppose one would say that it isn't fair to stack all those cities up against Atlanta, and that's true--it isn't fair. It would be more fair and accurate to project Atlanta joining the Crescent.

I wouldn't consider Atlanta-Macon-Columbus a megalopolis because subjectively speaking it just doesn't cover enough distinctly large cities. I consider them to be perfect pieces of a megalopolis.

That map is sort of misleading. Just because a county is green does not mean there is a great deal of development in it. You have to look for the dark shaded areas that indicate very high density then fan out from that with your imagination.

There is a great deal of rural space between Atlanta and Columbus, Macon, and Chattanooga.

There is a vast void between Nashville and Chattanooga.

There is a void between Columbia and Greenville.

On second glance, I suppose the Atlanta and Chattanooga split isn't too awful, perhaps it will be the first to bridge--perhaps within the decade?

On the other hand, you can see a dotted line of dark splotches along the I-40 and I-85 corridors in NC and SC. Surprisingly it looks like Hickory's "metro" doesn't have too much of a canyon separating it from Charlotte's metro.

After looking at the map and considering what I know of NC's and SC's development and spacing, I imagine some of those voids mentioned above are quite rural by comparison.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

True, Here in NC are metros are baically mixed up of large cities and small towns surronding it. The towns are usually not suburbs and are spaced about 5-10 miles from the city. In the triad the growth is content till thomasville,were it seems theres a void till lexington and another viod untill salisbury were Charlottes metro begains forming. The same can be said with Greenville as there is a void on the southern side of 85 on the way to spartenburg. These continues and like greensboro runs into other cities like gaffeny and on into the Charlotte Region. Most of the Carolina metros run like this. Atlanta seems to just be a big chunk of none stop sprawl untill it just ends out of no where. It is begaining to connect with Columbus but, it still needs some more growth on 185/85 to make it a more tighter connection.

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Thanks for the map.  From the looks of things, the ATLANTA and NASHVILLE csa's will connect before any of the others... they lack only one county.

Plus, this is a high growth corridor for both GA and TN.

Does anybody have a clue what the new metropolitan area population is for Chattanooga, now that Bradley (TN) and Whitfield (GA) are included?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Chattanooga's CMSA has 629,561 people in it. Add in Dalton and you have 749,592 people.

Nashville and Atlanta may touch each other via Chattanooga soon, but I doubt they will ever really connect. It will be too hard for growth to happen between Nashville and Chattanooga.

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The nature of these two regions is so different. It is really hard to compare them as such. As has been pointed out, the Carolina Crescent (btw, I like the name) is so very multi-nodal with a few decent sized cities, some smaller cities, and lots small mill towns, etc. It is really a development pattern set by the textile era. On the other hand, Atlanta is really one huge blob--the blob that is eating north Georgia as they say. I do think that the level of urbanity, diversity, and amenities is greater in one huge urban place than in multiple smaller ones put together. The megalopolis in the northeastern US is multi-nodal, but it also includes several huge cities in their own right - NYC, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington-Baltimore. For fun I did some quick research and number crunching looking at the actual urban populations between these regions (using Urbanized Area (UA) figures from the Census Bureau). I did it quickly, so please forgive any errors. Below are the numbers. Note that the Atlanta UA alone has nearly as many people as all the UAs in the Carolina Crescent. Note also that the UAs of Atlanta-Columbus-Macon have a greater total population than those of the Carolina Crescent. Much of the population of the Carolina Crescent is in small outlying communities that are old mill towns or exurban areas. It is not the same as real suburbs within a real urban area. One more point before the numbers--I found it interesting that the SC cities compare pretty good in size to the NC cities when you look at the real urban area rather than the imaginary line called the city limits.

CAROLINA CRESCENT UAs:

Charlotte - 758,927

Raleigh - 541,527

Columbia - 420,537

Greenville - 302,194

Winston-Salem - 299,290

Durham - 287,796

Greensboro - 267,884

Spartanburg - 145,058

Gastonia - 141,407

High Point - 132,844

Concord - 115,057

Burlington - 94,248

Mauldin-Simpsonville - 77,831

Anderson - 70,436

Rock Hill - 70,007

Grand Total - 3,725,043

ATLANTA-COLUMBUS-MACON UAs:

Atlanta - 3,499,840

Columbus - 242,324

Macon - 135,170

Warner Robbins - 90,838

Gainesville - 88,680

Grand Total - 4,056,852

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These two areas are drastically different from each other. The Carolina Crescent is more-or-less like the Northeast Conurbation. What makes it similar to the N.E. Conurbation is the way growth spans Interstate 85 throughout NC/SC. What makes it truly unlike the N.E. Conurbation is that the only true majors cities along this string are Charlotte and Raleigh. The rest of the area is lined with exurban areas/groups of small towns that are close-enough-together to claim some sort of micro/metropolitan status.

On the otherhand, the Atl-Columbus-Macon area shouldn't really be clumped together. Also, the term MEGALOPOLIS shouldn't even be mentioned when describing Atl-C-M or the Crescent. A Megalopolis is a huge plain of urbanity that is void of any rural area (i.e. Tokyo, L.A., Chicago). These two regions are just not on that scale. The Metro Atlanta is a huge swath of sprawl that, in my opinion, will eventually consume parts of north Georgia, south to Columbus, and a few areas in Alabama. Then, it would reach its limit. But for there to be an Atl-Columbus-Macon "Megalopolis", vast amounts of rural area (and I do mean VAST) would have to drastically transform into regions of non-stop URBAN development synonymous with Atlanta.

Also, I think many of you all overrate this predicament. I find it absurb that someone thinks that Nashville and Atlanta will somehow mesh together. The idea is ridiculous. Like I stated before, the growth patterns in the South are different from the growth patterns in the Northeast. There are still vast...vast.....vast...vast...vast...areas of rural life between these respectable cities. Also, there are places like Greenville-Spartanburg SC, Hickory NC, Columbus GA, etc. that are in true essence.....BIG TOWNS. In my opinion, these big towns are anxious to have a "CITY" status, so they draw boundaries of adjacent areas of rural settings to create a pseudo-metropolitan area.

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Note that the Atlanta UA alone has nearly as many people as all the UAs in the Carolina Crescent. Note also that the UAs of Atlanta-Columbus-Macon have a greater total population than those of the Carolina Crescent. Much of the population of the Carolina Crescent is in small outlying communities that are old mill towns or exurban areas.

Interesting numbers, Atlanta's UA is definitely impressive. I'm sure it covers a couple thousand square miles though, but at least it sports a density of >= 1000 ppsm (the criteria for UA)

The problem with the whole megalopolis thing, as I said previously, is the relative void in density between Atlanta and Columbus or Macon (and Chattanooga, for now).

In the NC and SC example, those small and medium sized towns littered along the way help fill the voids and they are very appetizing targets for growth since they already have a government (for the most part anyway), basic infrastructure, they are in closer proximity to a larger entity, etc. We are seeing these little towns along the corridor grow at a decent rate--nothing crazy of course (don't want that).

I believe this more continous string of development will help shape the region in a positive way--give it a more unified feeling. The construction of SEHSR from Charlotte to DC, generally following the I-85/I-40/US1 corridors will certainly increase that. I suspect even the addition of a midday Piedmont train will also help unification in NC anyway.

I would expect any gains made in NC will trickle down naturally into SC (and vice versa). Greenville and Spartanburg get a lot of publicity in Charlotte thanks to road signs and a few random radio stations that come in.

As I've said many times before, I forsee one day having the I-85 corridor mimic the I-95 corridor in the NE.

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I would think that the I-4 corridor would be an interesteting comparison between the two of these as well. Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater/Lakeland/Orlando/Daytona is a combonation of big blobs and nodes with what I'd assume be a similar population profile with some of the same problems facing the other two. Daytona and Volusia county are quickly becoming bedroom communities of Orlando. The growth of Lakeland in either direction is close to combining with Orlando and Tampa sprawl. We could also include Brevard county and possibly soon Sarasota county as well.

Here's the 2000 urban area popluations for what I consider the I-4 Corridor.

Tampa--St. Petersburg, FL 2,062,339

Orlando, FL 1,157,431

Sarasota--Bradenton, FL 559,229

Palm Bay--Melbourne, FL 393,289

Daytona Beach--Port Orange, FL 255,353

Lakeland, FL 199,487

Kissimmee, FL 186,667

Winter Haven, FL 153,924

Deltona, FL 147,713

Leesburg--Eustis, FL 97,497

Titusville, FL 52,922

Total not including Brevard or Sarasota-Bardenton - 4,260,411

or including those two - 5,265,851

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Interesting numbers, Atlanta's UA is definitely impressive. I'm sure it covers a couple thousand square miles though, but at least it sports a density of >= 1000 ppsm (the criteria for UA)

The problem with the whole megalopolis thing, as I said previously, is the relative void in density between Atlanta and Columbus or Macon (and Chattanooga, for now).

In the NC and SC example, those small and medium sized towns littered along the way help fill the voids and they are very appetizing targets for growth since they already have a government (for the most part anyway), basic infrastructure, they are in closer proximity to a larger entity, etc. We are seeing these little towns along the corridor grow at a decent rate--nothing crazy of course (don't want that).

I believe this more continous string of development will help shape the region in a positive way--give it a more unified feeling. The construction of SEHSR from Charlotte to DC, generally following the I-85/I-40/US1 corridors will certainly increase that. I suspect even the addition of a midday Piedmont train will also help unification in NC anyway.

I would expect any gains made in NC will trickle down naturally into SC (and vice versa). Greenville and Spartanburg get a lot of publicity in Charlotte thanks to road signs and a few random radio stations that come in.

As I've said many times before, I forsee one day having the I-85 corridor mimic the I-95 corridor in the NE.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree that the gap between the developed Atlanta area and the Columbus or Macon or Chattanooga developed area is too great to be considered a megalopolis. Indeed, I think it is Athens that will get sucked up first given which direction Atlanta is sprawling out the fastest.

But I would also argue that the gaps between the Carolina Crescent cities are also just too great to be considered a megalopolis. This is especially true of Columbia. Take I-26/I-326 between Columbia and Greenville/Spartanburg or I-77 between Columbia and Charlotte and you will go through mostly rural/small town areas--not suburbs and not even exurbs. I would agree that your megalopolis holds better for the Anderson-Greenville-Spartanburg stretch along I-85 and the Triad into the Triangle. Otherwise, there are some rather large low density gaps in there.

The fact that the counties in the respective combined statistical areas touch really means nothing. A while back I drove from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach via August-Columbia-Sumter. I realized that I was in metropolitan counties almost the entire distance across SC. But believe me, I was in the absolute middle of nowhere most of the time-rural as it gets. The US Census Bureau uses counties as the basic building block of metro, micro, and combined areas. All that is really defining is the area (roughly defined with use of entire counties rather than county census divisions) where a lot of people are economically tied to the core area via commuting for work. That's it. Within that area may be urban areas, suburban areas, exurban areas, separate small town areas, and yes, even flat out rural areas. Urbanity and metropolitan area-style economic regions are not the same thing.

A final problem with the comparison of the Carolina Crescent to the Northeast Megalopolis is quite simply scale. The spatial geography fits rather nicely in the comparison. Here are basic distances between the cores:

Washington to Balimore - 44 miles

Baltimore to Philadelphia - 103 miles

Philadelphia to New York City - 94 miles

New York City to Boston - 215 miles

Columbia to Greenville - 103 miles

Columbia to Charlotte - 93 miles

Greenville to Charlotte - 102 miles

Charlotte to Greensboro - 92 miles

Greensboro to Raleigh - 80 miles

So, the distances are somewhat similar. Here is the problem-the population of the urban cores. I know that in many things size does not matter, but I afraid that here it does. Here are some of the Northeast Megalopolis UAs:

New York City - 17,799,861 (Yes, that's almost 18 million.)

Philadelphia - 5,149,079

Boston - 4,032,484

Washington - 3,933,920

Baltimore - 2,076,354

Again from my earlier post, the largest UAs in the Carolina Crescent are Charlotte at just under 800,000 and Raleigh at around 541,000. Even some of the smaller "honorable mention" UAs in the Northeast Megalopolis are bigger - the Providence UA has 1,174,548 and the Hartford UA has 851,535.

The differences between two urban areas of around 18 million and 5 million nearly 100 miles apart AND two urban areas of around 800,000 and 500,000 a comparable distance apart are obvious. The level and scale of development in between is bound to be drastically different.

I think that the Carolina Crescent is a series of economically connected regions, but calling it a megalopis is just a bit too much. Maybe it will be one day, be we will all be long gone by then--thankfully might I add.

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I think that the Carolina Crescent is a series of economically connected regions, but calling it a megalopis is just a bit too much.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well of course right now! I would certainly not call "The Crescent" a real megalopolis today, but I believe it certainly has the best chance of becoming one first, and will eventually include Atlanta, et al.

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Thanks for the map.  From the looks of things, the ATLANTA and NASHVILLE csa's will connect before any of the others... they lack only one county.

Plus, this is a high growth corridor for both GA and TN.

Does anybody have a clue what the new metropolitan area population is for Chattanooga, now that Bradley (TN) and Whitfield (GA) are included?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The Chattanooga MSA added one county in 2000 that was Sequatchie, which was lost in 1990. The Chattanooga CSA added Bradley, Polk, and whatever county Athens, TN is in. Dalton/Whitfield County still isn't part of the Chattanooga CSA. As it stands without Whitfield County the Chattanooga CSA is just over 600000. If Whitfield County is added to Chattanooga CSA in the future it would push the number up over 700000.

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What I find of interest is how there is a metro connection from Chattanooga down to the Atlanta Metro area, it's a tiny one, granted, but it's still there. Walker county, GA is conisdered to be a part of the Chattanooga CSA, this county touches a very small portion of Floyd county, GA, which is now considered to be the Rome MSA, which borders Bartow county, GA, considered to be a part of the Atlanta CSA. Any thoughts ppl?

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With all of the new people moving to the North Georgia mountains, I can see Atlanta's CSA and Chattanooga's CSA coming together. They might touch slightly already, but it is just a matter of time until they are fully touching each other. This is the same for Columbus and Macon.

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