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View Poll Results: Which city do you think is better overall?
Cleveland 207 52.41%
Detroit 188 47.59%
Voters: 395. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-04-2009, 03:23 PM
Location: northend hellford
89 posts, read 416,312 times
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i have always been stuck in the ghetto's of c-town as long as i lived there, but it's my hometown and i love cleveland to death. cleveland all day.
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Old 05-16-2009, 03:00 PM
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One unignoreable differnce between the two cities is that Detroit is vastly bigger than Cleveland is.
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Old 05-16-2009, 10:20 PM
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Let’s juxtapose what (I think, anyway) are key quality factors in measuring the 2 cities:

Both cities have classic buildings: Beaux Arts and Art Deco as well as more modern structures. Both have hideous modern structures: Cleveland’s National City (now PNC) Bank building; Detroit: RenCen; and while RenCen is far more dominant, I’ll say:

THE WINNER: a draw

Detroit has Greektown; very lively but basically a 1-by-1 block area, including the very nice Greektown casino and mall. The other Casinos, most notably the still new $800M MGM Grand is a distance away, insular w/ little street impact (as most casinos are designed to be) and scatters downtown’s nexus points. Campus Martius is a boost, esp during the summer and is more people friendly than similar Public Square in Cleveland which, while busy, is often little more than a giant bus depot for Cleve’s RTA transit system – it has long been discussed, w/o success, to convert the 4 quads into a single walking park/plaza like Campus Martius or Boston Common, but w/o success. However, Downtown Cleveland trumps Detroit with both the larger Warehouse District on one side, and the growing Gateway District, with the few-years-old E. 4th street ped-mall; both Warehouse, Gateway and other pockets contain considerably more downtown residents than Detroit. And though not perfect store-wise, Tower City is a much more bustling mall than Detroit’s closest comparator: RenCen. Also, Downtown Cleveland seems more alive because of more foot-traffic generated by its rail rapid transit system that doesn’t yet exist in Detroit (see below), as well as the transit tie ins to its 3 pro sports stadiums, esp the Q and Progressive Field which is connected by underground walkway to the Tower City rapid transit underground hub. While Detroit’s Joe Louis (AKA “The Joe”) is close in connected (I think) to Cobo Conv Center, Ford Field and Commerica Park are scattered too far from the hub of downtown for impact: again, I think, the need for auto access is key. For downtown Cleveland, you also throw in Playhouse Square (largest concentration of theatres outside Broadway), the huge, beautiful underutilized/under-appreciated Galleria Mall, and of course, the Rock & Roll HOF, and it’s pretty easy to see for this category:

THE WINNER: Cleveland

{note: I think walkable, lively neighborhoods are a key factor towards judging the health/viability of a city)
Cleveland has several very good ones: Ohio City, Shaker Square, Little Italy/University Circle, Edgewater/West Edge, Kamms Corner, Tremont and Detroit Shoreway (where Cleve Public Theatre is and where a brand new multi-screen movie theatre is going in, in Gordon Square). In Detroit, there’s the area along Woodward near Wayne State U. (New Center?) – a nice, up & coming pseudo walking area – I say pseudo because the business/restaurants are widely spaced and the orientation still seems toward driving to each individual venue (including the great Detroit Inst of Art and the equally great African American Art museum nearby on Warren Ave), rather than walking from place to place, which is more the case w/ Cleveland’s above-mentioned walking areas. Outside of this, no other area comes to mind in Detroit. Mexicantown? Great restaurants, but really a block or so of buildings next to parking lots where, of course, the overwhelming visitors drive to while not lingering around in the Vernon Ave corridor… Corktown? A very weak version of Cleveland’s Ohio City and Tremont. Some nice old rehabbed houses, but besides maybe a pub or 2, I saw zero street life and badly blighted, ghost town areas backed up against Corktown. East Jefferson? Actually, this is one of my favorite areas of Detroit: some nice high rises, old and new, some warehouse adaptive-reuse close to downtown and, of course, access to beautiful Belle Isle by the handsome arch bridge. But again, East Jefferson’s pockets are too spread out (from downtown to the Grosse Pointe border) and car oriented to constitute a serious walking district. Nearby Indian Village, with its mansions does have a couple handsome old high rise apt buildings with a few restaurants and store s on street level. But even this doesn’t rate with any similar Cleveland area listed.

THE WINNER: Cleveland by a mile

Cleveland: a decent-sized rapid transit system for a city of its size and density and, until St. Louis and Minneapolis built their light-rail lines, Cleveland’s “Rapid” was the only rapid transit in the Midwest outside Chicago, and America’s 1st downtown-to-airport rapid transit line. Btw, not surprisingly, most of the above-noted Cleveland walking districts are served by the Rapid.
Detroit: all buses which only the poor ride; the dubious distinction of America’s largest city w/o transit (though a surface light rail line is planned up Woodward).

WINNER: Cleveland by a mile

Detroit: Hamtramck’s downtown strip is the most authentic; in a largely blue collar area. Royal Oak ‘s is large and bustling (some quip that it’s livelier than downtown Detroit), and Birmingham also bustle’s like Royal Oak although it’s much more preppy and upscale; not surprising given the relative suburbs their in. Ferndale, along 9 mile, has a decent walking strip. The problem: these 3 areas are so widely spaced, it takes considerable time to get there from Detroit or between each of them.
Cleveland: mainly you’re looking at 2 suburbs: Cleveland Heights on the East and Lakewood on the West; both similar old, close-in burbs, although Lakewood is blessed with the Lake Erie shoreline while Cleveland Hts has to settle with being the 1st burb up the East Side bluff in the ritzy “Heights” area of Cleve’s eastern suburbs (much like Philly’s Main Line). Most of Lakewood’s district is along Detroit Ave near Warren Rd in Downtown Lakewood – lots of stores, shops and restaurants, although there’s a smaller, similar district along Madison Ave to the south. Cleveland Hts has several lively commercial walking districts (the city actually lists 10 separate ones) the largest and most notable being Coventry, Greater Cleveland’s Bohemian answer to Greenwich Village, although Cedar Lee and Fairmount are both lively (and physically beautiful as well). Further out you’ve got uber quaint old areas like Chagrin Falls, Hudson and Berea.
The WINNER: Cleveland.

Cleveland: as mentioned, Playhouse Square is theatre Central. Detroit’s Fox (and it’s neighbor whose name can’t come to mind) are grand palaces, but can’t trump Playhouse Square. Detroit Inst of Art has a slightly larger collection than Cleveland’s Museum of Art. But CMA’s dramatic building and grand location along the Lagoon in University Circle outweighs it. Detroit’s African American Museum, pro’lly the best of its kind in America, whips Cleveland’s small collection. University Circle, one of the highest concentration of educational, medical facilities and museums in the world (in one sq. mile) trumps anything Detroit has. Cleveland’s Orchestra is considered neck & neck w/ New York’s symphony as best in the world. Detroit’s rather weird in that it does not have a prestige university in its borders or close by (Ann Arbor, which is a large state U town, is 45 miles away—doesn’t count). Wayne State is a nice commuter school, but it’s no Case Western Reserve (and Detroit has no answer to Cleveland’s Institute of Music, one of the nation’s best music academies or Institute of Art – both adjacent to Case Western U in University Circle) … And btw, Cleveland’s Public library has the 5th largest book circulation – bigger than Detroit’s – in the nation. IN FAIRNESS: Cleveland has nothing to match Detroit's Motown heritage; a heritage which in many ways defined modern R & B music (yes, Detroit clearly deserves the Rock Hall more the Cleveland but credit Cleve civic leaders for putting its $$ where its mouth is to get the plumb facility); also, Detroit has a stronger jazz scene than Cleveland, though Cleveland's not terrible jazz-wise by any stretch... Still, overall:

WINNER: Cleveland

Detroit: no American city I’ve seen has the combo of vast areas of vacant streets/abandoned houses coupled with large empty commercial and apartment buildings as does Detroit. Cleveland is no picnic either, and has some pretty similar rough areas, but not nearly on the scale of Detroit.

The WINNER: Cleveland
. . .
There may be some other areas to compare, but I think these are key. So comparing these, Cleveland clearly is the WINNER… and the fact, as some Detroit fans note, that Detroit is bigger, makes it all the more embarrassing that a considerably smaller city/metro area like Cleveland bests it.

Last edited by TheProf; 05-16-2009 at 10:34 PM..
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Old 05-18-2009, 07:53 AM
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Truth be told, the similarities between these cities is much more inditeing than the differences.
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:00 AM
Location: Cleveland
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Very good and accurate post, TheProf.

I completely agree.
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:36 AM
Location: St. Louis, MO
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As far as landscape goes, unquestionably I would pick Cleveland. Cleveland actually has very diverse landscape, much like St. Louis...it has the very hilly and almost mountainous Allegheny plateaus in southeastern Cuyahoga County, East Cleveland has clear rolling hills which you can definitely see along I-480 and I-271 and I-77, and the western half is generally pretty flat and also flat along downtown. It's also along Lake Erie, which I would prefer to the Detroit River anyday. Downtown Cleveland seems to be in much better shape than downtown Detroit, and Cleveland is certainly far less crime ridden than Detroit is. Finally, Cleveland is very heavily forested in addition to being open prairie, where it seems like Detroit is much less forested and almost entirely flat as a board. On the other hand, Detroit is twice the size of Cleveland, so there probably is twice as much to do there, and Detroit certainly seems to be much richer in culture than Cleveland.
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Old 06-08-2009, 03:26 PM
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They both suck. Really, like some of the worst two in the country.
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Old 06-23-2009, 10:48 AM
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In my opinion, both cities are suffering, but Cleveland wins this hands-down. Cleveland has tradition...something Detroit will never have. When the Cleveland browns are on their biggest losing streak, Cleveland Brown Stadium is still packed full. Cleveland has A LOT more potential than Detroit, and entertainment and shopping is much better in Cleveland (Tower City Center, suburbs, indians, brown, etc) and cleveland's rta makes it so easy to get across town, while detroits light rail just connects the renaisance center to the other part of downtown. And as for the Skyline, Clveland wins no matter which way you look at it, whether it be off the lake, from the Detroit-Superioir bridge, from Hope Mem. bridge, or from University Circle. Cleveland is also one of the most diverse cities in the world, don't believe me? visit U-Circle yourself. Cleveland is a one-of-a-kind city, and detroit is falling out of the spotlight.
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Old 07-06-2009, 02:34 PM
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^ ignoramus
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Old 07-06-2009, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ifeeldope View Post
Im not from either city but I would have to go with Detroit on this one. Its just more of a vibrant city. I love the downtown especially what they did to it and the proximty to Windsor is also a big plus. Sports also can be put into this...Red Wings, Tigers, Pistons...not the Lions...yea i think that beats Cleaveland besides the Cavs. Some of the fiendliest people iv come across, honestly i wouldnt mind moving to the D if it wernt on the edge.
Not to be a jerk, but Cleveland's downtown is much more vibrant than Detroit. I suspect you haven't visited both enough to make statements like yours. I like the greater Detroit area, but the downtowns don't compare. Tons more foot traffic, more projects, better restaurants/nightlife for Cleveland. Detroit is dead at night time.
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