[Tagging] landuse=residential and named residential areas which belong together (neighbourhoods/subdivisions?)

Greg Troxel gdt at ir.bbn.com
Wed Aug 31 17:59:50 BST 2011

Nathan Edgars II <neroute2 at gmail.com> writes:

> On 8/31/2011 8:35 AM, Greg Troxel wrote:
>> I thought the issue was that there are two distinct concepts:
>>    boundaries, where there is some legal distinction and a precise edge
>>    place names, which have more or less indistinct boundaries.
>> In my area, towns have boundaries, and there are village centers that
>> have names like "West Acton" which have as far as I know no actual
>> boundaries and no legal standing.
> There's a third possibility - the unincorporated suburb or exurb that
> nevertheless has a defined boundary, since it's planned or controlled
> by one company. I think Columbia, Maryland is this way; closer to me
> is The Villages, a huge retirement community that is its own
> Micropolitan Statistical Area (and where our governor goes when he
> needs tea bags).

I see your point, but there's a difference between a subdivision built
by one company (we have them; they are just very much smaller) and a
legal boundary.  For ours, 10 years later, there is no real basis for
calling it a boundary.  But I realize land planning is different out of
New England than here.

> In New England, don't you have the concept of a 'thickly settled' area
> where lower speed limits apply? Could this be used to form boundaries
> of village centers?

We do (I think Massachusetts only), but it's only about (unposted) speed
limits, and I don't think it has anything to do with people's notions
about villages - just about fighting tickets :-).  It is defined (MGL
90-1) as "territory contiguous to any way where the dwelling houses are
situated at such distances as will average less than two hundred feet
between them for a distance of a quarter of a mile or over".

One certainly could draw polygons around village centers, stopping where
the landuse becomes residential vs village shopping.  But that's about
landuse, not about a boundary.

One could also try to tile a town with polygons that try to capture the
notion of "do you live in West Acton or South Acton".  But that's like
asking if Acton is a suburb of Boston or Worcester, not about which
which county it is in - so I don't think it makes sense to call that a
boundary.  It's not like there are rules that apply in one such village
center and not the other, or taxes, or different representatives.

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