An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

April 16, 2008

We're Number 4, We're Number 4, We're....

This area of Virginia collectively goes by the name of Hampton Roads, which is the body of water that is formed where several local rivers meet the Chesapeake. Besides being the name of a great harbor, Hampton Roads also refers to a region that includes seven independent cities, several counties, a handful of towns and a small corner of northeastern North Carolina. All of these varying municipalities act more like squabbling fiefdoms or competing Greek city-states. It seems they would prefer fighting with each other for a few scraps of national recognition or any federal dollars that might fall from Washington, rather than to band together for the good of all. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, we are the 31st largest metropolitan region in the country, but the area seems to suffer under the cloud of a Metropolitan Inferiority Complex. Varying local leaders often lament that there are several areas ranked below Hampton Roads that have major league sports teams. Also for a region this large, one might expect more than a couple of Fortune 500 companies to call the area home.

However, there is a new study out that puts us very close to the top of a national ranking. The Virginian Pilot reported this past Sunday that the region is NUMBER 4 --in vulnerability to terrorist attacks among U.S. urban areas, according to a study sponsored by the Dept. of Homeland Security. Why are we so vulnerable? We are home to the largest navy base in the world; we have many tunnels and bridges; Hampton Roads is the east coast's third biggest port; and chronic traffic problems combined with geography would make evacuation extremely problematic. Maybe the many voices in this region can get together and do something to change our ranking, or if not, maybe in a few years we can be Number 1.

Here are the current top 10 most vulnerable urban areas according to the study.

  1. New Orleans
  2. Baton Rouge
  3. Charleston, SC
  4. Hampton Roads
  5. New York/Newark
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. Richmond, VA
  8. Houston
  9. Philadelphia
  10. Boise, ID (why Boise?)

I have got to go now, violets are taking over my beds, I think I may have thrips and the koi are hungry.


  1. Boise? Is it the blue artificial turf in the college football stadium?

  2. Is your 'Norfolk' named after the 'Norfolk' in England?

    (Looking at your header picture!)

    Esther Montgomery

    P.S. Came across you on the Blotanical list.

  3. Ben - I guess it could be true that artificial turf may have less of an impact on global warming than trying to maintain a real one using modern methods. But blue?

    Esther - Yes my city was named after Norfolk, England by one of its earlier land owners to honor his birthplace.

  4. I concur about the traffic...My sister got married in Va Beach last weekend. I think I've added that to my list of places to avoid! People who complain about Greensboro's traffic don't have a clue...