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Old 10-26-2017, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,414 posts, read 11,910,584 times
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This is an admittedly subjective discussion, but in general whether a city feels bigger/smaller than it is comes down to two factors:

1. Broad versus narrow city limits. Cities like Boston, Pittsburgh, or DC are pretty small in land area, with a lot of the metro outside of city limits. In contrast, cities like Jacksonville, Indianapolis, or Louisville are consolidated city counties, meaning even though their headline population is pretty large, they anchor a smaller MSA.

2. The extent of the "prewar" urban core. On the extreme end, some of the newest Sunbelt cities (like Vegas and Phoenix) basically go directly from the CBD to small postwar SFH. They are "all suburb." In contrast, older coastal cities and legacy cities in the interior often have intact 19th century neighborhoods which are relatively high density and can extend for miles past the CBD.
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:50 AM
 
1,614 posts, read 1,059,942 times
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Cities that feel bigger:
Richmond v.a
New haven ct
Charleston sc
Mrtyle beach sc
Hartford ct
Baltimore
Alexander va but Alexander and bmore seem a lot larger probably due to d.c
Wilmington De. But again due to Philly.
Orlando and Miami

Cities that feel small but are big:
Charlotte nc
Columbus Ohio
Norfolk and va beach
Greenville sc
Jacksonville fl
Greensboro nc
Tallahassee fl
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Virginia Beach
4,206 posts, read 2,822,069 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bartonizer View Post
I disagree about Charlotte seeming like a bigger city, though it's doing it's best to change things. It does have most amenities that come in a major metro, but there are several substantial things that lead to the perception of it feeling smaller. The main reason is due to the generally low density and that the amount of the metro area considered urban is surprisingly small for the population. Highlighting that point, in 2010 the metro population was the population was ranked 22nd overall, but the urban population was ranked 38th. Therefore, the overall metro feels less city-like than substantially smaller peers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...as#cite_note-1. Away from the interstates, one can't help but to notice that the metro area is quite large in land area, but also that much of it is rural.

Anyway, back to the structure, inside the I-277/I-77 loop it is urban with a grid system, but leave the 1 mile by 1 mile square and there is very little density. It goes straight into large, suburban lots, with no high density ring of residential surrounding it. Again, I know that they're trying to fill things in now, but until very recently there was very little with a mile or so of downtown that would indicate that you were anywhere near a "big city." In several directions from downtown you can almost literally live in the shadow of a skyscraper and yet feel remarkably suburban. Further, another thing that has always (IMHO) contributed to the perception is the lack of walkability and lack of connectedness- it's much more like a huge conglomeration of subdivisions, not dense neighborhoods. Of course, many Sunbelt cities experience this problem, but few on the level of Charlotte, which tends to rank around the very bottom of the list: Charlotte trails nation in walkability rankings | PlanCharlotte.org. Many streets don't connect and/or have sidewalks and most residential areas are not zoned to have any commercialized areas in or nearby. Unlike other places I've lived, before Uber and Lyft it was a nightmare to get transportation to places going out because everything is so spread out. Prohibitively high cab fares between areas in town meant that people hardly ever considered them an option....

The other component I noticed when living there was that the city population itself was a bit deceptive. Sure, it's growing fast, but the numbers have a lot more to do with annexation. The chamber and tourism executives have long bragged about the city's population (top 20 in the USA, may soon become the biggest city in the south!) but no one outside Charlotte really thinks of it as a bigger city than Miami or Atlanta.

Overall, I'd say the city is making great strides to take things to the next level- transportation, infill, etc. but the structure is so spread out that it will be tough to overcome the low density issue for a long time. I have no doubt that things will improve, but I didn't have the patience to see it turn into the city it may one day become....
Hey, I'm not gonna get crazy. Charlotte is overwhelmingly built out as suburban. I think maybe my boosterism for Charlotte has a ton to do with where I lived (South@Tyvola) and the fact that I rarely had to leave the core because virtually everything is in the core...

I don't disagree with your "city of subdivisions" descriptive at all. The urban core is larger than a 1x1 radius, though, and I think this is where Charlotte gets shafted in public perception. It's urban core is small compared to the size of the city, and compared to cities like Pittsburgh and Cleveland certainly, but it does include Uptown and adjacent neighborhoods like South End, Dilworth, Elizabeth, NoDa, Plaza-Midwood, which to me typify big city and are indicative of the best of Charlotte. These core areas are comparable to core hoods in irs peer cities--its just most of its peer cities have either a larger core, a larger urban spread outside the core, or both. Charlotte's problem, as you and others have eluded to, are that there are precious few interesting neighborhoods outside of its small and haphazard core (although there are some). And I can't disagree with that...

I only drove in Charlotte when I was going further out and exploring the city outside the core. I took the Lynx all the time going Uptown, so when people on this forum question the ability to live car-less somewhere more suburban than urban, I know it's possible depending on where you live in a certain city. I also was 24 and single then, and wasn't technically car-less, but 90% of anything I wanted or needed could be reached by light rail. I also don't get some people's elitist disdain for automobiles on here, as this is a nation of drivers. I love cars and Charlotte has a unique urban car culture that is impressive in its own right...

Regarding Charlotte's UA stats, though, it again gets misunderstood by those who arent familiar with the area. It's nonsensical that Concord at the very least is seperate from UA Charlotte. Were Concord correctly applied to Charlotte, it's UA would be right below KC, Orlando, and Indy, which is more where it belongs anyway...

Now I've never been under the impression that Charlotte in size is comparable to Atlanta. I guess to clarify myself, do I think Charlotte is more urban than its peers? Overwhelmingly, no. Do I think Charlotte feels smaller than its peers? Again, overwhelmingly no. I don't conflate size with urbanity and Charlotte doesn't feel "small" in comparison; nearly all of its peers don't feel huge, either. Cleveland is much more urban than Charlotte but does not feel like a larger city when accounting for other nuances outside of oft-mentioned urbanity measures...

I love Charlotte but I'm not confused on its placement. It's listed size I is 2.5 million. It has the amenities and look of such a city, so I guess I agree with that!
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:50 PM
 
29,874 posts, read 27,324,185 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murksiderock View Post
See, I get a different perception from these cities...

DC's lack of tall skyline is a no issue for me, because of how seamlessly it's urban form spreads from The District to Maryland to Virginia. It's amenities and energy and look, everything about it feels larger than Atlanta to me, which of course has multiple large skylines. Atlanta doesn't feel small but it feels smaller than DC to me and was easily noticeable to me in short order...
I don't think I was clear. I was saying that for both DC and Atlanta, their sizes match their feels and DC is larger than Atlanta, both in city population and MSA (although not by a whole lot). DC would feel larger to me if it had a traditional skyline.

Quote:
Charlotte can match amenities with almost any peer city. Specifically regarding those cities that I'd consider it peers to that I've been to--Cleveland, Indianapolis, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Kansas City--, only Pittsburgh can argue for having a better downtown. I also consider Charlotte a peer of Baltimore, and though I'd put Baltimore ahead in hierarchical order, I don't have an impression of Downtown Baltimore as a better downtown...
I think Baltimore has a better downtown, but it's laid out differently so it's not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison.

Quote:
Lol Greensboro feels like a tiny tinsel town. It has a smaller presence than Albany, Knoxville, Columbia...I don't get a larger city vibe from it at all. It's most prominent venues are outdated and old, and it's large interstate system is wide and empty. I've never been on a packed I-40 through Greensboro, or any of its spurs. Yes, I understand this is partly by design, I just don't get how a vast, empty freeway makes a city feel large. Little Rock also has a large and empty freeway...
We can agree to disagree. Greensboro feels larger than it actually is to me and I've experienced healthy traffic driving through the city a few times. The Coliseum and Koury/Sheraton aren't brand new structures, but they definitely don't feel outdated to me; they are pretty adequate I'd say.
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Old 10-26-2017, 04:43 PM
 
Location: NYntarctica
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edsg25 View Post
Any list of cities that feel much bigger than they are would have to include Madison. This gem of a city is squeezed into a narrow isthmus between two lakes, creating a density and bustle within its core (downtown, capitol, campus) that is highly urban, arguably more so than the feel of Wisconsin's largest city, Milwaukee.
Madison does look cute, when I searched it on Google Street Views I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting to see a typical Midwestern sprawling suburb, but it actually seems very dense and totally adorkable
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:07 PM
 
899 posts, read 764,348 times
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Charlotte definitely feels a bit smaller than it is.
It has the illusion of being a bigger city from a distance. The impressive skyline does not translate to a "big" feel on the ground though. I'm always amazed and disappointed at how quickly I pass through it (on foot or in a car). It has really nice amenities and beautiful highrises but it still feels like an office park to me.
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Northeast states
10,674 posts, read 8,179,948 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ayoskillz View Post
Cities that feel bigger:
Richmond v.a
New haven ct
Charleston sc
Mrtyle beach sc
Hartford ct
Baltimore
Alexander va but Alexander and bmore seem a lot larger probably due to d.c
Wilmington De. But again due to Philly.
Orlando and Miami

Cities that feel small but are big:
Charlotte nc
Columbus Ohio
Norfolk and va beach
Greenville sc
Jacksonville fl
Greensboro nc
Tallahassee fl
Jacksonville is bigger than NYC land size
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Northeast states
10,674 posts, read 8,179,948 times
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Old 10-26-2017, 07:25 PM
 
100 posts, read 54,609 times
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Seem Smaller:

San Jose
San Antonio
Tampa
Phoenix
Tucson
ABQ
Norfolk/Virginia Beach (area)
Raleigh

Seem Bigger

Portland, ME
Wilmington, DE
Harrisburg, PA
Dayton, OH
Hartford
Columbia, SC
Louisville

Seem About Right (or perhaps a little bit smaller)

KC
Charlotte
Indy
San Diego
Columbus, OH
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Old 10-27-2017, 01:58 AM
 
Location: Nashville, TN
5,053 posts, read 4,084,313 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timothy123 View Post
Seem Smaller:

San Jose
San Antonio
Tampa
Phoenix
Tucson
ABQ
Norfolk/Virginia Beach (area)
Raleigh

Seem Bigger

Portland, ME
Wilmington, DE
Harrisburg, PA
Dayton, OH
Hartford
Columbia, SC
Louisville

Seem About Right (or perhaps a little bit smaller)

KC
Charlotte
Indy
San Diego
Columbus, OH
KC feels larger while Raleigh, Tampa, and Indianapolis, feel smaller.
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