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View Poll Results: Which group of cities offers the better urban living experience?
Old School (Cleveland, Cincinnati, St Louis, Pittsburgh) 39 44.83%
New School (Denver, Portland, Minneapolis, Seattle) 48 55.17%
Voters: 87. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-15-2013, 01:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaboyd1 View Post
Even Cincinnati has a pretty impressive historic core.
Of course it does; it boomed before all the others. Cleveland doesn't really fit this group, because the others all boomed in the riverboat era (Cincinnati being the first, followed a couple decades later by STL). But St. Louis and Pittsburgh continued to boom with the rise of the rust belt, while Cincinnati's growth tapered off. Cincinnati was the 5th most populous city in the country when Chicago was a little trading outpost on the western frontier. The Over-the-Rhine neighborhood contained the densest population outside Manhattan. Cleveland boomed along with St. Louis and Pittsburgh in the railroad era, eventually surpassing them both in size (and easily passing slow-growing Cincy).

All of these cities have a good number of brick rowhouses, narrow streets, European-feeling neighborhoods, except Cleveland. Urban Cleveland looks more like your pictures of Minneapolis, while only the outer neighborhoods of the other three cities look like that.

Edit: Another interesting thing about these growth patterns is that Cincinnati never fell as hard as the others. Its economy, while still containing a lot of manufacturing, never relied so heavily on it. Procter & Gamble, Kroger, Federated Department Stores (now Macy's)...a larger portion of Cincinnati's economy was not reliant on manufacturing. Hence it is now a similarly sized city to Pittsburgh and St. Louis, two cities whose populations had gone much higher than Cincinnati's.
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Old 07-15-2013, 02:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaboyd1 View Post
Cincinnati, St Louis, and Cleveland were all top 10 cities in 1900. Some combination of 3 of the 4 cities I listed under "old school" remained in the top 10 at least until 1940. Cleveland and St Louis were still top 10 as of 1960. The historic neighborhoods of those cities, particularly St Louis and Pittsburgh are quite expansive compared to the "new cites." Even Cincinnati has a pretty impressive historic core. You are right about the redevelopment though, and that was my point. Comparing urban living in the primarily newer redeveloped historic areas of the "new cities" to the largely intact historic areas of the "old cities."
There's only a few really modern redeveloped areas in Portland or Seattle or Denver themselves and most of those are old warehouse districts like the Pearl or Belltown or LoDo on the edge of downtown. A lot of cities have these districts where older warehouses were replaced by lofts or condos. Other than that it's mostly infill here and there surrounded by older homes and apartments, though Seattle is building a ton of new stuff recently around South Lake Union(itself an older light-industrial area). It's really a fairly recent trend that a lot of these newer condos are being built as infill.

My point is though that those cities aren't really packed with "new" construction. Every house I've lived in during my time in Portland was built around 1910-1920. Most older neighborhoods in Portland and Seattle and Denver were just an era or two removed from the earlier development of Cincinnati, St. Louis and Pittsburgh. Most of the places that people actually live in(I know very few people actually living in those newer condos) are just streetcar suburbs from the earlier part of the 20th Century and then some neighborhoods built around the 1940s. Now, the Western cities don't feel as urban in some ways because they weren't as large as the Midwestern cities in the pre-auto era, though Portland and Seattle both had over 300,000 and were in the top 20-25 cities by population by the 1920s.

Cincinnati and Pittsburgh both have some very impressive older neighborhoods, yes--St. Louis does too, but there's seems to be huge vacant patches close to downtown. Cincinnati though honestly seem to be the most interesting in terms of architecture of the bunch.
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Old 07-15-2013, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Tampa - St. Louis
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Cities like St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati would be really popular today if they had the cleanliness and modern hi rise/infill feel you see in newer cities, while still maintainiing their rustic urban cores. I know all of these cities are moving in that direction, but it will take decades to achieve that dynamic with their anemic growth rates.
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Old 07-15-2013, 06:00 PM
 
Location: roaming gnome
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out of those? the new school... in general? old school.
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Old 07-15-2013, 07:08 PM
 
Location: South Park, San Diego
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deezus View Post
Cincinnati and Pittsburgh both have some very impressive older neighborhoods, yes--St. Louis does too, but there's seems to be huge vacant patches close to downtown. Cincinnati though honestly seem to be the most interesting in terms of architecture of the bunch.
Wow! if Cincinnati has better architecture than St Louis (and to a slightly lesser extent Pittsburgh) I really missed out in not being able to make it up to that corner of the state a month ago on my cross-country road trip. I was blown away by the architecture in St Louis, truly world class in my opinion as well as many of the neighborhoods, downtown buildings and of course bridges in Pittsburgh. I do agree though there are some chunks of urban fabric missing here and there downtown/adjacent St Louis unfortunately.

Of the old school cities Cleveland and Cincinnati are ones that i still need to and I would very much like to visit, they seem to each offer a little more of a specific urban attribute that the other lacks, but both seem to have some great urban cores that would be fun to explore. And each has a bit of that scruffy, old school rust belt aspect that some may shy away from but I can appreciate.

There is something to be said of slow, deliberate revitalization though. Vast swaths of newer development at the expense of tearing down beautiful existing historic buildings is often a horrible way to achieve that -as all of these cities have unfortunately experienced as well.

Last edited by T. Damon; 07-15-2013 at 07:20 PM..
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Old 07-15-2013, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas, NV
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What's with people saying the "new school" cities aren't that new? With the exception of Minneapolis, seeing that the urban cores of those cities were developed between the 1880s and the 1930s, eschewing the skyscrapers, hardly what I'd call old, even by American standards.
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Old 07-15-2013, 07:45 PM
 
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T. Damon, here is a recent photo collection of Cincinnati, to give you a little taste of what's there.

Edit: Here's a less recent photo set, and another.

Last edited by natininja; 07-15-2013 at 07:56 PM..
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Old 07-15-2013, 08:55 PM
 
Location: St. Louis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natininja View Post
T. Damon, here is a recent photo collection of Cincinnati, to give you a little taste of what's there.

Edit: Here's a less recent photo set, and another.
Please tell me they didn't tear down those beautiful rowhouses in the part that says "kinda not here anymore Glencoe." That would be a terrible shame.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:31 PM
 
Location: Chicago
2,357 posts, read 2,009,806 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deezus View Post
Cincinnati and Pittsburgh both have some very impressive older neighborhoods, yes--St. Louis does too, but there's seems to be huge vacant patches close to downtown. Cincinnati though honestly seem to be the most interesting in terms of architecture of the bunch.
To be fair to St. Louis, the city does have lovely architecture outside of downtown, especially when you're talking about residential areas.

You are right about vacant areas close to downtown, but I will say that downtown St. Louis has come a long way in the last decade, and I hope that it continues in its growth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goat314 View Post
Cities like St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati would be really popular today if they had the cleanliness and modern hi rise/infill feel you see in newer cities, while still maintainiing their rustic urban cores. I know all of these cities are moving in that direction, but it will take decades to achieve that dynamic with their anemic growth rates.
How high are you talking? I would love to see more high rises in downtown STL, but isn't nothing allowed to be taller than the Arch? I could be wrong, of course, but that's what I've always heard.
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Old 07-15-2013, 10:59 PM
 
1,953 posts, read 2,568,187 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drewcifer View Post
That is a good point. Minneapolis rose at the same time as Detroit and only a couple decades after Cleveland, Chicago and Milwaukee. The main difference is that it never went through a period of decline. I was walking around, taking pictures in Minneapolis yesterday, the area I was in has a density of about 20,000 ppsm which is higher than anything in the Midwest outside of Chicago and Milwaukee. I'm not sure I would call this "new", much of the inner south side looks like this:


mplsjuly201346 by afsmps, on Flickr


mplsjuly201348 by afsmps, on Flickr


mplsjuly201349 by afsmps, on Flickr


mplsjuly201358 by afsmps, on Flickr
Cleveland has areas that are just as dense and look like this EVEN WITH some of its decaying neighborhoods (many of which have been spruced up with all new housing in the last few decades). I would argue that Ohio City, Detroit-Shoreway, Shaker Square and Little Italy/University Circle seem even denser than this area ... and are served by better transit, as in rail, BRT and 24-hour bus lines.

Minneapolis is admirably building/expanding LRT, but little of it (save the Central streetcar route to St. Paul) of it is serving its built up urban areas outside of downtown... The vote on the route for the planned SW LRT line was particularly disappointing. Planners chose an out-of-the-way RR route as opposed to straight down Nicolette past the busy Franklin corner, then due West along the Midtown Greenway serving such dense, walkable areas as Uptown.
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