[Talk-us] [Tagging] how to tag US townships?

Greg Troxel gdt at ir.bbn.com
Thu Oct 21 13:29:38 BST 2010


This discussion, although amazingly lengthy is seeming useful.  Someone
already explained that much of New England is different from most of the
United States in terms of not having unicorporated areas, and it might
help to explain details.

In Massachusetts, we have counties.  Counties don't do that much in
terms of government, but have things like the District Attorney and
Sherriff.  I think that each cities/town or at least the vast majority
are in a single county.

Every bit of land in the state is in some city or town.  Cities and
towns are basically the same thing except that cities (to first order)
have a city council and a mayor, and towns have a board of selectmen and
a town meeting (direct or representative).  There are some towns that
are bigger than some cities - the issue is form of government, not size
- although mostly the big places are cities and smaller are towns.

Within some cities there are neighborhood-type divisions that have
significant cultural standing, and I'm unclear on whether any of them
have legal standing.  Newton is an example where the 'villages' are said
by wikipedia not to have legal standing:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton,_Massachusetts

So using one admin_level for county and another for city/town seems
fine, and then if a city/town really has a legal notion of neighborhood
admin_level=9 will be fine.

Also in Massachusetts there are place names for areas of towns.
Generally these refer to what was once a cluster of houses in colonial
or mid-19th-century times.  But these aren't appropriate for admin_level
because a) they have no legal standing and b) they don't have crisp
boundaries.  To me this clearly points out the difference between names
for governmental areas and place names that would exist without
government.
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