Is Durham discontinuous? Are other cities?
December 22, 2017 12:03 AM   Subscribe

I was looking at the Wikipedia page for Durham, NC and I noticed that the city appears to be discontinuous. What's the cause of this? Are there other cities that are not geographically continuous?
posted by LSK to Grab Bag (25 answers total)
 
Yes, Chicago is this way because ohare is incorporated into the city.

Many cities in the US are like this, as incorporation into a city happens haphazardly, or areas leave a city and make their own.
posted by AlexiaSky at 12:11 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


Also annexations may have happened
posted by thelonius at 12:27 AM on December 22, 2017


Are there other cities that are not geographically continuous?

It’s not just cities! This even happens to national borders!
posted by aubilenon at 12:59 AM on December 22, 2017 [8 favorites]


In essence, what are you are asking about are called exclaves - pieces of land which are politically part of an entity they are not actually physically contiguous with.

(I don't think AlexiaSky is actually right about Chicago - I believe there's a thin strip of land which is officially part of Chicago connecting O'Hare to the rest of the city.)
posted by kickingtheground at 1:20 AM on December 22, 2017 [8 favorites]


There are places in Amsterdam that contain bits of other countries that themselves contain bits of Amsterdam! It is also because of historic annexations. The borders are marked on the cobblestones.
posted by SakuraK at 1:48 AM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


Airports are a common cause of this. Look at Richmond, Indiana sometime.
posted by kevinbelt at 3:18 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


A lot of businesses in Research Triangle Park prefer the tax status of Durham County to that of Orange County, so that could be what drives some of the annexation.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:07 AM on December 22, 2017


Pittsburgh has a neighborhood (Mt. Oliver) that is not part of the city in the middle of a bunch of neighborhoods that are. All the others were annexed over the years but Mt. Oliver has always refused.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:47 AM on December 22, 2017


To answer the question about Durham, the odd almost-parallelogram of non-Durham in the southeast corner is Research Triangle Park-proper. In the north, some of the weirdness is I think due to Horton Grove Nature Preserve, a lands conservancy site that the city may just be avoiding annexing because it doesn't get them anything, and Treyburn, a fancy country club place that may not want to be annexed.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:17 AM on December 22, 2017


New York City is arguably like this, if for example you accept that Liberty Island is an exclave of NYC surrounded by the waters of Jersey City. A controversial topic.
posted by plep at 5:49 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


Then there is Tokyo, which includes within itself a number of islands remote from the metropolis. One of them, Okinotorishima, is ~ 1000 miles south of the metropolis but is still administratively part of Tokyo.
posted by plep at 5:53 AM on December 22, 2017 [3 favorites]


Most cities and towns are like that here in NC, and I think most places in the country. The actual city or town is a discontinuous agglomeration of parcels of land surrounded (and surrounding) areas of "non-incorporated" property. This difference is often not apparent in the real world - one subdivision in in the town and the next is not If you look at this map of my little town, you will see the Corporate Limits in grey, the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction in yellow and the Urban Service Area in blue. This is weird to me coming from New England, where basically every square inch of land is incorporated, but it seems to be fairly normal in parts of the country where county government provides services to non-incorporated land.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:12 AM on December 22, 2017


There is a section of the city of Greenfield that is essentially an enclave inside the city of Milwaukee, WI.
posted by drezdn at 6:18 AM on December 22, 2017


San Diego has two parts, the "main" part and a little section down by the Mexican border, which are only connected by a strip of ocean. To get between them by land you have to pass through not-San-Diego.
posted by madcaptenor at 6:35 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


Detroit doesn't have discontiguous parts, but it does have two separate incorporated cities, Highland Park and Hamtramck, entirely within its borders.
posted by Preserver at 6:56 AM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


North Lake in Dallas belongs to the city, but is completely surrounded by Coppell (it's in the Coppell school district) and Irving. However, the creek that connects it to "proper" Dallas also belongs to Dallas, so this may not count. There are some similar goings-on at portions of Lake Ray Hubbard on the other side of the city.
posted by ubiquity at 7:01 AM on December 22, 2017


Marble Hill is a neat example on the borough level! It's part of Manhattan but not on the island that constitutes the rest of Manhattan; rather, across the Harlem River, surrounded by the Bronx.
posted by Smearcase at 7:53 AM on December 22, 2017 [2 favorites]


one subdivision in in the town and the next is not

Whoa, not sure what happened there. Meant to say one subdivision is in the town, and the next is not, but they look the same, similar roads, houses, density, etc.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:50 AM on December 22, 2017


Not a city, but here is a map of Norfolk County, Massachusetts.

Also here's map of the city of Los Angeles. Note the many exclaves.
posted by breakin' the law at 9:16 AM on December 22, 2017


Are exclaves actually examples? Exclaves usually don't disconnect the enclosing entity. I would think South Africa is a non-example (Lesotho is an exclave), but Azerbaijan (disconnected by Armenia) and the United States (disconnected by Canada) are.
posted by hoyland at 9:57 AM on December 22, 2017


South Tucson is completely surrounded by Tucson, so not discontinuous. Coffeyville Kansas and South Coffeyville Oklahoma are a mile apart and have no connection historically. The Okla. town just decided to rename itself in the early 1900s. Naming things can be really weird.
posted by MovableBookLady at 11:24 AM on December 22, 2017


In New York, incorporated villages can effectively render the unincorporated (and thus directly-governed) portions of town discontinuous. (Towns in New York have a dual role -- tax-collection and deed-recording for their entire territory, and full municipal services for that portion of their territory not incorporated into villages, which can be some, none or all of the territory depending on the town). Cities, counties and villages are not (to my knowledge) ever discontinuous.
posted by MattD at 12:23 PM on December 22, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yes, Chicago is this way because ohare is incorporated into the city.

Also the annexation of Pullman.
posted by davejay at 2:02 PM on December 22, 2017


San Francisco includes Treasure/Yerba Buena Island, and a teeny portion of Alameda Island.
posted by mollymayhem at 8:32 PM on December 22, 2017


Also the annexation of Pullman.

Pullman is entirely contiguous with the rest of the city of Chicago. Here is it on the map.
posted by Johnny Assay at 8:55 PM on December 23, 2017


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