[Talk-us] Towns as Areas or Points

Serge Wroclawski emacsen at gmail.com
Tue Aug 31 15:47:10 BST 2010

On Tue, Aug 31, 2010 at 7:56 AM, Carl Anderson <carl.anderson at vadose.org> wrote:
> Serge,
> To complicate matters Silver Spring is not a city or town with its own
> government but a Urban District of Montgomery County.  It appears that
> Silver Spring residents pay extra tax for enhanced services from the County.

Right, I remember that because every year on my taxes, I have to put
in that I don't live in any of the listed towns in my county.

> Census has it as a CDP (Census designated place) a non politically bounded
> area that the Census produces statistics for.
> That it is a CDP is the likely reason it got tagged as a locality.

> By comparison Takoma Park is a small city with a city council and
> supporting  government.

To put this into perspective to people who don't live in the DC area,
a few things to keep in mind about this region:

Both Silver Spring and Takoma Park border DC. But "Takoma Park" is
locally ambiguous in common speech, as it can mean either the town of
Takoma Park, or the section of DC which is called Takoma Park. They're
politically distinct but as a long time resident of the area, they're
culturally one in the same.

On the other hand, Silver Spring is not locally ambiguous. You know
when you're in it and when you're not, political boundries be darned.

Takoma Park proper has a population of about 11,000 people, while
Silver Spring has a population of 80,000.

Now that's over.. here's the question we need to answer:

Is OSM a reflection of the political borders, or is it a reflection of
the people?

That's where the push/pull of using official Census ontology comes in.
Yes, Silver Spring doesn't exist as a town, but it does exist as a
place for its residents, and at 80,000, it's on the edge of being a
city (and remember the 76k number is from 2000, before some of the new
highrises were built downtown).

It just makes no sense to me that an area with this high population
and population density is labeled a hamlet.

- Serge

More information about the Talk-us mailing list