October 25, 2007

Bluegrass and Sunshine

I found this graphic in the description of Kentucky--the Bluegrass State--on Wikipedia. I haven't found a similar online graphic for Florida yet--one that breaks the state into topographical and cultural regions: the Big Bend, Nature Coast, Space Coast, Gold Coast, Miami, the Keys, etc.

This sort of map is much more important than just a blur of dozens of counties. I don't know that "Jackson Purchase" tells you much, but the difference between a coal field and a cotton field can tell you volumes. A mining, union-based economy produces a politics miles and miles away from a plantation, share-cropping economy. A riverside region often becomes a trade-based economy because of prime location. For instance, the mighty Mississippi is close to the "Jackson Purchase" region, and probably allowed folks there to get a piece of the riverside market.

The reason there aren't maps everywhere like this for the Sunshine State is probably that no one can agree on regions. Sure, Jacksonville and Tallahassee have got their "metro areas." But what do you call the stretch of North Florida rural country bridging them? Beats me.

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