Monday, July 23, 2007

"City" is Slippery

The Charrette is debating whether, relative to Chicago, Nashville can be called a "city." Let me suggest that that the archaic connotations of "city" and "town" are overcoming their comparative usefulness (even though they are still popular).

Even while granting Nashville's relative limitations, I would still call it a "city" and not a "town." Better comparative terms: Nashville's "Metropolis" to Chicago's "Megalopolis."


  1. Heh, after my trip to San Francisco I decided that Nashville won't get to call itself a city until we have at least one 24 hour Thai joint. That's my rule and I'm sticking to it :)

  2. That's a funny example of how subjective semantic distinctions can be, because I specifically think of Chicago as more a metropolis than a megalopolis. To me, LA is the definitive megalopolis, where the central city or town isn't really the dominating sense of the area, but rather it's a combination of cities or towns that make up the dominant sense of the area. In the case of Chicago, the city of Chicago is very much the dominant player with the suburbs effectively adding to it.

    As for how Nashville fits my definitions, it seems more like a scaled-down version of Chicago in some ways -- the city of Nashville is clearly the center, for most intents and purposes -- but I don't know what the population distribution is between Nashville and the suburbs, so maybe it's more of a mini-megalopolis. (A minilopolis?) :)