Monday, May 31, 2021

Is Fort Worth The Biggest City In The World?


A few days ago in a blog post about Fort Worth Almost Being The Fastest Growing Big City In America mention was made of the fact that Fort Worth is unique among big cities in that the town has multiple wide open spaces within the town's borders, along with wide open spaces to expand to, unlike towns hemmed in by geography in the form of mountains or bodies of water, or surrounded by suburbs.

Last night, on Facebook, I saw a post from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy, he being the closest that newspaper has to an actual journalist, in which Mr. Kennedy wrote "We're #12: Fort Worth officially passes Jacksonville to become America's 12th largest city at 927,720 people..."

Some of Fort Worth's population growth comes from annexing territory previously not incorporated into a town. Doing this has seemed a bit bizarre, to me, at times. Such as annexing a narrow strip of territory all the way to D/FW International Airport.

I think the annexation actually includes part of the airport property.

Which renders it sort of ironic when landing at D/FW with the pilot welcoming those onboard to Dallas, whilst landing, sort of, in Fort Worth.

Fort Worth has a puny downtown, lacking things like department stores. I think there may now be a small grocery store of some sort downtown. There are few restaurants, and on the busiest shopping day of the year, the day after Thanksgiving, downtown Fort Worth is a ghost town. We have made mention of this ghost town fact a number of times in various venues including Having Fun Looking For Black Friday Shoppers Today In Downtown Fort Worth.

Via the comments to Mr. Kennedy's Facebook post I learned I was not alone in realizing that Fort Worth's population size is a bit misleading when thinking the number of people in a town somehow relates to that town's, well, being an actual big city with an actual big downtown.

Two of those comments...

Michael Doran: While technically true, the area within the Fort Worth city limits is so huge -- 355 square miles -- that I'm doubtful that it makes for a fair ranking by population. I would argue that anyone from Fort Worth who visits Seattle (84 mi²), Denver (155 mi²), Boston (90 mi²), or San Francisco (47 mi²) would say that those cities sure *seem* bigger than Fort Worth.

Paul Allen: Those cities are more urban, vs a sprawling city like Fort Worth. I don't think that should change the rankings though. Just came back from Seattle and you are right, it "feels" like a much bigger city because everything is stacked up. You hardly see anything under 5-6 floors inside the city. Many more skyscrapers and high-rise apartments, real, mostly functioning public transit gets people around. It feels like a city. Fort Worth feels more like a big suburb with a few tall buildings in the city center.


I did not realize the size of Fort Worth was so huge.

355 square miles!

San Francisco is only 47 square miles. With Seattle slightly bigger at 84 square miles. Denver, at 155 square miles, is like Fort Worth, with wide open space to expand to. I have been to all those towns Mr. Doran mentioned, expect for Boston, and his opinion matches mine, in that San Francisco, Seattle and Denver sure do seem way bigger than Fort Worth. 

And Mr. Allen's observation that Fort Worth feels more like a big suburb with a few tall buildings in the city center, than an actual big city, seems accurate.

At 355 square miles in size, is Fort Worth the biggest city in the world? Likely not or we would have heard such bragged about, over and over again...

UPDATE: After hitting the publish button on this blog post I went to Twitter and what was the first thing I saw?


Apparently we are in full on brag mode regarding Fort Worth's new population status. But, note the image included in this Twitter post. Photo documentation showing how puny downtown Fort Worth is.

Does not look like the downtown of a town with almost a million population, sprawled over 355 square miles...

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