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Old 04-26-2017, 10:30 AM
_OT
 
Location: Miami
2,135 posts, read 1,503,367 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by White Wine View Post
Birmingham's a much "blacker" city than Atlanta is (73% of the population versus 53% in Atlanta), but it's much better historically preserved. Hell, there's even an old antebellum mansion located within Birmingham city limits, smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood that's probably 99% black today.

Your racist attitude is reflective of the "Old South". While I'm sure it exists in "New South" cities such as Atlanta and Charlotte (your post proves that), frankly it does seem much more entrenched in the "Old South" cities.

The difference between Old South and New South is much more than just architectural styles. It's the culture and the attitude. Atlanta has moved beyond the traditional black-white dynamic of southern cities and towns and has managed to attract a good number of Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, etc. transplants. Birmingham, by and large, is still a black and white city. People there think of Hoover as "Little Guadalajara" even though that city's only 6% Hispanic.

When Birmingham attracts a larger number of transplants (especially transplants who are not black or white), then it can become more like the New South model epitomized by Atlanta, Houston, Raleigh-Durham, etc. As of now, for the most part, it's a town filled with people who are from there, their parents are from there, their grandparents are from there, etc.

I know UAB attracts a decent number of transplants but ultimately, the school and everything associated with it is a bubble. Frankly, if you went to Birmingham and all you saw was the Southside/UAB area, you'd walk away thinking that Birmingham is much more cosmopolitan and progressive city than it actually is. If you're from Birmingham, you know that the Southside has a totally different feel and vibe from the "real Birmingham", and I'm not just talking about black communities within Birmingham city limits, but the white areas located outside of city limits and across the metro area as well.

As much as black people and white people fight in Birmingham, a lot of times they both tend to be equally backwards and ignorant of the world outside of Birmingham, and outside of the age-old clash between blacks and whites. THAT is the Old South.
2014 vs. 2017

This is interesting. For Birmingham's sake, I hope the city continues to bypass following other New South cities like Atlanta, Houston, Raleigh, or Charlotte. If there were any cities for Birmingham to follow, it's those outside the South itself. I mean, if we were to get technical, Birmingham was one of the first "New South" cities; in which the model was meant to mimic the industrial revolution of the Northern cities.

As for the architecture, Birmingham has preserved more of it's older architecture, not only in Downtown, but all across the city as well; from residential to retail.
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Old 04-26-2017, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Washington D.C. By way of Texas
18,594 posts, read 26,957,321 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _OT View Post
2014 vs. 2017

This is interesting. For Birmingham's sake, I hope the city continues to bypass following other New South cities like Atlanta, Houston, Raleigh, or Charlotte. If there were any cities for Birmingham to follow, it's those outside the South itself. I mean, if we were to get technical, Birmingham was one of the first "New South" cities; in which the model was meant to mimic the industrial revolution of the Northern cities.

As for the architecture, Birmingham has preserved more of it's older architecture, not only in Downtown, but all across the city as well; from residential to retail.
Continues to bypass Atlanta or Houston how?
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Old 04-26-2017, 12:13 PM
_OT
 
Location: Miami
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Originally Posted by Spade View Post
Continues to bypass Atlanta or Houston how?
"continues to bypass following other New South cities"

Meaning to avoid following the models of cities like Atlanta, Houston, Charlotte, and Raleigh.
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Old 04-26-2017, 12:31 PM
 
29,719 posts, read 27,143,552 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _OT View Post
"continues to bypass following other New South cities"

Meaning to avoid following the models of cities like Atlanta, Houston, Charlotte, and Raleigh.
Explain.

I think Birmingham has already taken a page from the playbooks of other Southern cities with Railroad Park and the new ballpark, both of which played a huge role in kicking off the revitalization that the city is now experiencing. I also think Birmingham could look at these cities when it comes to transit. But otherwise, the city is a bit different in having more historic structures to rehab.
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Old 04-26-2017, 01:08 PM
_OT
 
Location: Miami
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Originally Posted by Mutiny77 View Post
Explain.

I think Birmingham has already taken a page from the playbooks of other Southern cities with Railroad Park and the new ballpark, both of which played a huge role in kicking off the revitalization that the city is now experiencing. I also think Birmingham could look at these cities when it comes to transit. But otherwise, the city is a bit different in having more historic structures to rehab.
It also starts with refurbishing it's older buildings to become more residential, instead of getting rid of them, in order to build those modern day residential towers you see sprouting up in the "New South" cities. Also, there's this thing where typically, New South cities would rather spend most of their budget on Highrise Projects, instead of starting with smaller developments and spreading it around the Metro Area/City. In Birmingham, I think the mindstate is to Infill and Redevelop areas around the city, before actually getting to the idea of building a larger tower.

I honestly believe Birmingham should look more towards like Oakland, Portland, and Seattle in terms of development, and Cleveland, Kansas City, and Detroit in terms of Transit.
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Old 04-26-2017, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Washington D.C. By way of Texas
18,594 posts, read 26,957,321 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _OT View Post
It also starts with refurbishing it's older buildings to become more residential, instead of getting rid of them, in order to build those modern day residential towers you see sprouting up in the "New South" cities. Also, there's this thing where typically, New South cities would rather spend most of their budget on Highrise Projects, instead of starting with smaller developments and spreading it around the Metro Area/City. In Birmingham, I think the mindstate is to Infill and Redevelop areas around the city, before actually getting to the idea of building a larger tower.

I honestly believe Birmingham should look more towards like Oakland, Portland, and Seattle in terms of development, and Cleveland, Kansas City, and Detroit in terms of Transit.
Interesting. That's exactly what one of cities you named for Birmingham to avoid is actually doing just as much as they are building highrises.
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Old 04-26-2017, 01:23 PM
 
29,719 posts, read 27,143,552 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _OT View Post
It also starts with refurbishing it's older buildings to become more residential, instead of getting rid of them, in order to build those modern day residential towers you see sprouting up in the "New South" cities. Also, there's this thing where typically, New South cities would rather spend most of their budget on Highrise Projects, instead of starting with smaller developments and spreading it around the Metro Area/City. In Birmingham, I think the mindstate is to Infill and Redevelop areas around the city, before actually getting to the idea of building a larger tower.
Well, the demand to build taller structures is higher in the New South cities, and land is more expensive so developers want more bang for their buck. The market is driving these trends more than anything else.

Quote:
I honestly believe Birmingham should look more towards like Oakland, Portland, and Seattle in terms of development, and Cleveland, Kansas City, and Detroit in terms of Transit.
The funny thing is, many of the New South cities are looking at those types of cities in terms of development. Outside of the HealthLine in Cleveland, as BRT could be more feasible than LRT in Birmingham, I'm not sure why those cities should be models for transit--especially Detroit, which has some good things in the works on that front but is desperately playing catch up compared to its peers.
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:54 PM
_OT
 
Location: Miami
2,135 posts, read 1,503,367 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spade View Post
Interesting. That's exactly what one of cities you named for Birmingham to avoid is actually doing just as much as they are building highrises.
I'm guessing Houston? If so, I've been noticing. Houston has been doing a decent job of infilling areas with housing, I just wish there was a high demand of retail options in these newer neighborhoods, with better sidewalks as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutiny77 View Post
The funny thing is, many of the New South cities are looking at those types of cities in terms of development. Outside of the HealthLine in Cleveland, as BRT could be more feasible than LRT in Birmingham, I'm not sure why those cities should be models for transit--especially Detroit, which has some good things in the works on that front but is desperately playing catch up compared to its peers.
Interesting, I brought up those cities because of Birmingham's diverse housing and building density within the core. It makes the walking and transit a bit smoother, similar to cities like Portland, and Seattle. Much smaller city blocks with more alleyways than the other New South cities...
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Old 04-28-2017, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Metro Birmingham, AL
1,673 posts, read 2,349,547 times
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Originally Posted by MinivanDriver View Post
Well, Birmingham has an interesting history. Bear with me. There's a point to all this.

It literally did not exist until 1870 when people realized that all the major ingredients for iron and steel production were all in one location. As a result, it went through very rapid development. It was a boom town for its first 50 years. It grew so fast that it was nicknamed the Magic City, for it seemed to come into existence and grow as if by magic. It grew from 3,000 in 1880 to 259,000 in 1930. Atlanta, by comparison, had a population of 270,000 in 1930. Large immigrant communities such as Italians, Greeks, and Lebanese meant the city had a different character from most Southern cities.

As a result, Birmingham's downtown quickly grew with skyscrapers and, often, innovative design. The town, in its bid to become the next great American city invested a great deal in its large scale architecture.

The problem was that Birmingham was far too dependent on one industry. When the Great Depression hit, steel production almost stopped, and what steel production there was often sent to Pittsburgh. United States Steel, for example, slapped a tariff on any steel sold beyond a 250-mile radius from its plants. Yes, you heard right. United States Steel was keeping its own plants from selling products, because they wanted their Pittsburgh mills to remain their lead producers. The result? At the height of the Depression, there were only around 3,500 full time workers in Birmingham. That brought growth to a screeching halt. Then World War II came and good times came again. Birmingham and Atlanta were essentially twin cities in terms of population in 1950, with only 5,000 difference in total population.

But then came the 50s, 60s, and 70s, three disastrous decades for Birmingham, due to just horrid civic leadership. Of course there was the stupidity of the Civil Rights Era. But there were also some other boneheaded decisions on the part of Birmingham's collective city leadership. Scrapping the extensive trolley system was one. The allowing of the metro area to fracture into dozens of bedroom communities was another. And, not learning from the lessons of the Great Depression, the city remained dependent on the whims of USS.

So when USS closed its mill in 1979, local unemployment hit became the country's highest, neck and neck with Flint, Michigan. There's also ongoing debate on whether Birmingham blew its opportunity to host Delta's hub versus Atlanta in the 1950s. The consensus is likely not, but the city leadership also didn't really understand the opportunity, while Atlanta seized it with both hands. It says a great deal that no major building was constructed downtown between 1930 and 1970.

Fortunately, there was UAB and its huge medical center and a budding financial services sector. Before the financial collapse of 2008, Birmingham was the third largest banking center in the country with four superregional banks all headquartered within a five block radius of one another downtown.

All of which leads to the point that's relevant to this thread. Because Birmingham did not experience the boom that Atlanta enjoyed in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, and only saw its economy come creaking back to life in the 80s, Birmingham inadvertently became a museum of late 19th and early 20th century architecture, from Florentine to Chicago School to Art Deco and more. Buildings that would have seen the wrecking ball in Atlanta were never torn down in Birmingham simply because the demand was not there. The sad exception? The gorgeous Byzantine Beaux Arts train station that was demolished for absolutely no good reason in 1969. To this day, people are outraged by this. The word desecration gets tossed about a lot.

Today, with a more diverse economy, a resurgence of downtown occupancy, and some innovative tax breaks for building restoration, it's interesting to see all these old buildings downtown being restored faithfully. For example, one superb example of Chicago style architecture is being turned into a prestigious Marriott format. Meanwhile, buildings that had been 'updated' with tacky 1950s and 1960s facades are now being restored to their original condition, too.

The transformation has already been astonishing. But I'm really looking forward to seeing what the place looks like in five years. Hey, not saying we're Atlanta. We will never be Atlanta. We essentially blew our chance to be the economic center of the South. But now the city is enjoying a reconstitution that is a helluva lot of fun to watch.
This.

Sad to read how city "leadership" made so many blunders over the years. Makes you wonder how would Birmingham look today if the right decisions were made back then?
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Old 04-28-2017, 12:07 PM
 
Location: Denver
14,149 posts, read 19,677,524 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleepless in Bham View Post
This.

Sad to read how city "leadership" made so many blunders over the years. Makes you wonder how would Birmingham look today if the right decisions were made back then?
Basically Atlanta
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