MIT and IBM collaborated on an analysis of anonymized call data, and the result shows that current political boundaries in the US — at least in many cases don’t make sense.
Call Data Community Map
Administrative boundaries are often at odds if one compares these to a bottom up approach calculating the regional delineation only based on how people interact. Communities based on call data is one example of how such interaction-based communities can be defined. The result is striking in that some states merge and others split. For example sister states emerge, such as Georgia and Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, and Tennessee and Kentucky among others. Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) and West Virginia form a new “state”, while St. Louis (Missouri) expands its reach and splits Illinois into two communities. New Jersey and California also split into two separate communities because of large cities. In contrast, Texas remains whole, despite potentially splitting cities of Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and Austin. We observe that the inter-city communication is strong enough to hold Texas together.
And New York City, Long Island, a few southern counties of NY, northern NJ, and a county in PA should form the newly reconfigured New York state, with capital in New York City. Strangely does not include any part of Connecticut. Most of upstate New York would form a new state: Seneca, with capital in Albany.
My son Keenan went to school in West Virginia, and I was amazed that there was no regular bus or train service from Morgantown to Washington DC. The local bus line follows the Monongahela River to Pittsburgh, and the calls in the region follow that pattern as well, so we need a new state called Monongahela with all of West Virginia and western Pennsylvania lumped into it, capital in Pittsburgh.
Virginia and Maryland should be one state, to be called Chesapeake, with the capital in Washington. Also, let’s get rid of the stupid District of Columbia. Make the government parts a national park, and have the rest — with the people that live there — be governed correctly, as citizens of Chesapeake and the US.
New Jersey disappears in any rational redrawing of the boundaries, with the northern half becoming part of South New York, and the southern few counties and Delaware becoming half of Jersylvaniaware, or maybe better, Delaware (after the river and bay), with capital in Philadelphia.
The obvious split of North and South California might make the region more governable, by the way, with respective capitals in San Francisco and Los Angeles. And South California would gobble up Las Vegas and surrounding areas, and Northern California collects Lake Tahoe.
Reforming New England as one larger state might make sense as well. Likewise, pushing the two Carolinas together as Carolina seems obvious, as well as the other pairings: Georgiabama and Missisipiana. Ditto, western Oregon and Washington should form Columbia, after the river.
I also think it might be beneficial to lump together the big dark upper western states, which are increasingly depopulated. Montana, the Dakotas, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Western Kansas could be one giant state: Sioux.
Colorado — at least some of it — seems to stand apart. And Utah should consume southern Idaho, or vice versa.
Alaska and Hawaii seem to be fairly coherent.
I hate to think that New Mexico and Arizona should be glued together, but so be it: Alto Mexico.
Southern Illinois is really part of Missouri, it seems.
Kentucky and Tennessee form one larger state, mostly, and I think we should call it Shawnee.
Keenan now lives in Chicago, which should be the capital of a new state, to be called Chicago, with northern Illinois, eastern Wisconsin, Gary Indiana and surrounding suburbs, and a smidge of the southwestern Michigan shoreline. Capital in Chicago.
There doesn’t seem to be any avenue for states to be reformed in the US, though. West Virginia seceded from Virginia at the start of the Civil War, but that’s unlikely to happen again. Is there some way to try to make the political boundaries of the states actually makes sense, socially? Obviously there are serious tax implications, but more importantly, regional issues could be handled in a more pragmatic way. For example, transit in and out of New York City is partly handled by the regional Ports Authority, but because NY is a separate state, Governor Christie can take unilateral actions that have a big impact on NYC, and the residents of New York City can’t vote him out of office. We had similar problems involving attempts to create more bridges over the Potomac in the DC area.
Obviously, the country needs to be redrawn along the lines of these communication-based representations of our actual communities: communicities (co-myoon-I-ci-tees).
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Fascinating. via: whitneymcn:underpaidgenius:
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