Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sector 725: Washington Townships Brave New World

...though not so new as its 25 or more years old by now.

Revisting this map of weak GOP concentrations...

....and mapping out the cluster of weak precincts along OH 725, Miamisburg-Centerville Road, one see's that this is what has occasionally been refered to as "downtown Washington Township", a landscape of light industry, offices, strip malls, and eating and drinking places. The area also has a concentration of multi-family houisng of various types.

Interesting it also has two liberal congregations, the Unitarian/Universalist churhc and a church affliated with the United Church of Christ (Obama's old denomination) headed by a gay minister.

This is interesting because The Big Sort discusses religion quite a bit, explaining how people are sorting out into homogenous congregations. The author notes that while this is more on the evangelical side, he does give an example of this happening on the more "left" side, too, with a Methodist church in Austin, TX. In this area we have two congregations as examples of that.

Using census block maps, which are limited to some basic demographic data (and also show Centerville), one can see how this area differs from the unicorporated areas to the north and south, in this case with homeownership. If the detail would have been fine enough one could also map out multifamily, which would have shown condominiums as well as rentals.
This demographic data isnt that strong, but there are few concentrations of latinos and blacks in the area. Perhaps one could have run the numbers for asians, as two Indian grocerys are within the weak GOP cluster, perhaps indicating a bit more cultural diversity than one would expect.

Beyond race and ethnicty it would be intriguing to look at family compostion, preveleance of same -sex households and couples, income, etc. Household size is about as detailed as one can get with block maps available at the census website.
This map implies more singles and couples in the weak GOP area, perhaps indicating younger unmarried people and differing family compostion from the overwhelmingly GOP southeast and northwest quadrants.

Years ago, it seems a trade-off was made in Washington Township.

The township fathers had to decide if they wanted to keep their family-oriented single family home suburbia, or permit "the others" to come in via apartments, condominiums, and things like more shopping, industry, and retail. The trade off was increased property tax revenue vs socioeconomic diveristy.

Apparently the zoning apporach was to segregate non-single family uses along OH 725 between Centerville and the township line, creating a little bit of "the city" (the dispersed suburban form we know as "edge city") in the suburbs. This happened elsewhere in the township, but not as intense as at the OH 725 corridor.

Apparently this trade-off had political consequences as it did draw more Democrat leaners into the township. Given the intenstity of development here as well as in adjacent Miami Township this has become an employment center, so one will see more people living and working in close proximity, as well as the working poor commuting in on mass transit or living in what cheaper rentals that can be found, to be close to their service sector work.

If it comes to pass that the urban poor and suburban upper middle class trade places, this is the area were the urban poor will first move into.

So the reality in "Sector 725" (sounds a bit like dystopian sci-fi, no?) does not conform totally to the suburban cul-de-sac stereotype, either politically, sociologically, or in physical form.

It certainly is atypical enough compared to the rest of Washington Township to be considered a different place altogether.

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