Comments on: ■ The curious relationship between place names and population density https://persquaremile.com/2011/08/05/the-curious-relationship-between-place-names-and-population-density/ Tue, 02 Jun 2015 14:30:43 +0000 hourly 1 By: virginia Yonkers https://persquaremile.com/2011/08/05/the-curious-relationship-between-place-names-and-population-density/#comment-4595 Tue, 03 Jan 2012 20:17:36 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=1338#comment-4595 I would think that the names would be a function of sociological rather than linear relationships. Related to both Paul and Chad’s comments, the denser the population, the tighter the community. A large population area would have multiple communities that people would relate to, thus requiring exponentially greater naming (sometimes different names for the same places depending on the community using the name). When I lived in Costa Rica, addresses in San Jose were based on directions using a community based landmark as a pivot (i.e. I live 100 meters south, 50 west of the Casa Italia, #24). In some cases, the landmark was no longer in existence, but those in the neighborhood had a collective memory (through the generations) of where the landmark used to be. Those outside of the neighborhood had difficulty finding addresses.

In Budapest in the 1980’s, there were both Hungarian historical names to streets and locations and “Russian”. The use depended on who was asking for and who was giving directions. In my own town, there is a building still referred to as the D&H building which has not had that name for 40 years. However, those who grew up in the area, know when someone refers to that building which one it is. Look at old maps and names are community based. Bilingual or multi-cultural locations have multiple names, based on the communities. In rural or less densely populated areas, the community tends to be distributed over a larger area so there would be greater homogeneity in naming.

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By: Power law relationship in modern demographics « Ellie Asks Why https://persquaremile.com/2011/08/05/the-curious-relationship-between-place-names-and-population-density/#comment-4594 Sun, 04 Sep 2011 15:54:41 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=1338#comment-4594 […] Per Square Mile Next […]

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By: Chad Newton https://persquaremile.com/2011/08/05/the-curious-relationship-between-place-names-and-population-density/#comment-4593 Fri, 12 Aug 2011 05:14:48 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=1338#comment-4593 The density/toponym relationship can be demonstrated much more concretely with informal neighborhood names. I have noticed that the more densely populated the area, the more fine-grained the neighborhood names. In Manhattan neighborhood names might only describe a few blocks square. In the core of my town Seattle, every 10 blocks or so a new neighborhood name is used (3 block in downtown). In the outer fringes of the city, neighborhood names are not well known and degrade in generic terms like “Northwest Seattle” for at least 50 blocks. In the suburbs, it even worse. In suburban muncipalities that spreads across several square miles often the only well-known neighborhood concepts are “South xyz” or “North xyz.”

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By: Tim De Chant https://persquaremile.com/2011/08/05/the-curious-relationship-between-place-names-and-population-density/#comment-4592 Wed, 10 Aug 2011 13:24:29 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=1338#comment-4592 James and Benjamin, it’s true that there should be fewer ZIP codes in lower density areas, the odd thing I found are that there are fewer than you would expect if the relationship were strictly linear. The fact that the pattern is the same as in hunter-gatherer societies makes the trend all the more intriguing.

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By: James https://persquaremile.com/2011/08/05/the-curious-relationship-between-place-names-and-population-density/#comment-4591 Wed, 10 Aug 2011 05:43:59 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=1338#comment-4591 I wonder about cause and effect here. The ZIP code system was deliberately arranged to make it easier for mail services, so it makes perfect sense that they would be arranged according to population. If a state only has a small population, there is less need to divide it into hundreds of different codes – it is perfectly reasonable to expect Wyoming, say, to have fewer separate codes than a city the size of Chicago. As such, the idea that there is some form of correlation between population density and ZIP code area size is simply explained since the system was designed to have exactly that type of relationship in order to ease modern mass communication.

A far better test would be whether topographical names match the same sort of relationship, which is also a far harder test to get clear results for – there are names for a good many places in Antarctic for instance, possibly as many as there are for places within a reasonably-sized city, so any correlation is going to be much more shaky.

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By: Benjamin Lukoff (@lukobe) https://persquaremile.com/2011/08/05/the-curious-relationship-between-place-names-and-population-density/#comment-4590 Wed, 10 Aug 2011 04:27:22 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=1338#comment-4590 The more people per square mile, the more ZIP Codes per square mile… makes sense to me, as different ZIP Codes signify different sorting centers and post offices, and the higher the volume of mail, the more of those you need. Could it be any other way, given what ZIP Codes signify?

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By: Mauricio Huaco https://persquaremile.com/2011/08/05/the-curious-relationship-between-place-names-and-population-density/#comment-4589 Sat, 06 Aug 2011 05:57:23 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=1338#comment-4589 Pienso que la relacion que sustenta mayor cantidad de nombres por unidad de superficie versus mayor densidad poblacional tiene que ver con el hecho que a mayor densidad poblacional mayor necesidad de precisar territorios en escalas menores (calles, cuadras, manzanas, minibarrios, piso x en un edificio, bloque x en un conjunto habitacional, etc.) mientras que a menor densidad, mayor territorio por unidad familiar o clan (tribus o comunidades campesinas o aborigenes que dominan amplias y extensas superficies que no requieren mayor precision identificatoria – la gran meseta, el valle bajo, etc.) Creo que tambien es respuesta al grado de comunicacion social como dice Paul.

I think this curious relationship among place names and population density has to do with the fact that higher-density areas inhabitants need to identify smaller-scale territories with more detailed precision (such as lanes, driveways, plots, small neighbourhoods, floor x in a building, block x in a residential compund and alike), whereas in less dense territories there is a trend of larger tenements by few families or clans (i.e. tribes or aboriginal communities owning extense tracts of wilderness) that not necesarilly requiered precise identification other than just the “great plain” or the “lower valley” as enough toponimical naming. I also agree with Paul´s remark as an answer to certain social comunicational intensities.

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By: Tim De Chant https://persquaremile.com/2011/08/05/the-curious-relationship-between-place-names-and-population-density/#comment-4588 Fri, 05 Aug 2011 18:20:40 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=1338#comment-4588 Yes, it does. I find these sort of limits or relationships fascinating. I’ll definitely dig into Dunbar’s Number further.

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By: paulbeard https://persquaremile.com/2011/08/05/the-curious-relationship-between-place-names-and-population-density/#comment-4587 Fri, 05 Aug 2011 18:18:06 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=1338#comment-4587 Sounds to me like this is based on communication: one person or a family would give names to the local features they used — the place where they draw water, the place where bears are frequently seen — as a means of talking about them or giving directions. The more people, the more things get identified and need naming.

Sounds similar to Dunbar’s Number [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar’s_number] which some scientists think might be one of the reasons for human cognitive development. Keeping track of 150 faces and relationships takes some processing power.

Both of these seem related to human social characteristics and communication.

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By: Alexandre Santos https://persquaremile.com/2011/08/05/the-curious-relationship-between-place-names-and-population-density/#comment-4586 Fri, 05 Aug 2011 17:59:31 +0000 https://persquaremile.com/?p=1338#comment-4586 A curiosa relação entre nomes de lugares e densidade populacional. Postagem interessante, que traz pesquisa indicando que, quanto maior a densidade populacional, maior o número de nomes de lugares por quilômetro quadrado.

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