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Old 09-25-2015, 07:40 AM
 
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Not counting the metro just inside the city limits.
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:52 AM
 
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Atlanta feels much bigger. But, Portland seems to have a more walkable cohesively urban core.

DT Atlanta has some good old school urbanism. People can post some really nice photos of a couple blocks that make it look as urban as SF. But, that is only a small area and the downtown is still very 9-5 and isn't really the civic heart of the region. Midtown Atlanta is more of the regional activity center, but it is still very patchy. High quality modern urbanism on one street and then strip malls a block over. Buckhead has some new walkable towncenter development, but despite some "new urban" retrofitting it is still basically a suburban area.

DT Portland/Old Town/Pear is far more cohesively urban than anything in Atlanta. It may feel more like a giant college town than a major city. But, it is among the top downtowns in the county when it comes to shopping and urban streetlife.

Outside the downtowns, neither city is supper urban. But, I would still give the edge to Portland when we compare the total cities. Atlanta has about 456k in 131 sq miles, Portland has 617 in 133 sq miles. So Portland is denser. When you compare Walkscore measures (not a prefect measure, but an objective one), Portland scores a 63 and is considered to be "semi-walkable", Atlanta scores a 46 and is considered "car dependent". Portland also score higher on transit (50 v 43) despite MARTA.

So overall, I would say Portland is the more urban city.
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Old 09-25-2015, 10:58 AM
 
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Portland is small, but it's fairly urban. If you were to take blocks and look at them individually without looking out in the distance and seeing where the city ends, there are far more urban blocks in Portland with lots of people on the sidewalk and big city feel type stuff (noises, smells, vibrations). However, Atlanta is a much larger city and has a more big city cosmopolitan feel on the whole with multiple skylines, massive highways, underground heavy rail, more diversity, major universities, etc. Midtown Atlanta in 2030 should exceed whatever Portland's got, I think. It's just larger and anchors a much larger metro and has more drivers (Georgia Tech for instance).
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Old 09-25-2015, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
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To sidetrack this conversation, it is interesting to note that Portland has really, really tiny city blocks. This has the advantage of creating a very walkable street grid. The downside to Portland's tiny blocks is that the City opposes any large-scale developments which create a monotonous, "blocky" appearance. Also working against Portland's growth potential is that the City has a rather low and restrictive height limits in order to protect views of the mountains. This is why Portland doesn't have a skyscraper, and why the City won't have skyscrapers Downtown in the future.

Whether or not having a tall skylines matters depends on who you ask.
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Old 09-25-2015, 05:09 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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They're different sizes so that throws comparisons off a bit. Atlanta is a very large city by US standards and Portland is medium/large sized. I can see where someone mght feel like Atlanta is slightly less urban yet it feels like a much bigger city. To me it's a toss up. Portland is slightly ahead in structure but Atlanta has a subway.
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Old 09-25-2015, 06:57 PM
 
6,611 posts, read 6,891,021 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpdivola View Post
Atlanta feels much bigger. But, Portland seems to have a more walkable cohesively urban core.

DT Atlanta has some good old school urbanism. People can post some really nice photos of a couple blocks that make it look as urban as SF. But, that is only a small area and the downtown is still very 9-5 and isn't really the civic heart of the region. Midtown Atlanta is more of the regional activity center, but it is still very patchy. High quality modern urbanism on one street and then strip malls a block over. Buckhead has some new walkable towncenter development, but despite some "new urban" retrofitting it is still basically a suburban area.

DT Portland/Old Town/Pear is far more cohesively urban than anything in Atlanta. It may feel more like a giant college town than a major city. But, it is among the top downtowns in the county when it comes to shopping and urban streetlife.

Outside the downtowns, neither city is supper urban. But, I would still give the edge to Portland when we compare the total cities. Atlanta has about 456k in 131 sq miles, Portland has 617 in 133 sq miles. So Portland is denser. When you compare Walkscore measures (not a prefect measure, but an objective one), Portland scores a 63 and is considered to be "semi-walkable", Atlanta scores a 46 and is considered "car dependent". Portland also score higher on transit (50 v 43) despite MARTA.

So overall, I would say Portland is the more urban city.
Downtown Atlanta is far from a 9-5 area anymore...you're about 20 years behind. Downtown has a nice residential population of 30,000+ and a large university with over 30,000 students that has converted from commuters to on campus housing. That's not mentioning the huge convention hotels that support one of the nation's largest convention centers and several of Atlanta's main tourist attractions. You may need to revisit downtown Atlanta sometime.

Midtown Atlanta is much the same. The amount of infill there has been nothing short of amazing, and I'm not aware of any strip malls in Midtown. It has urbanized at a very fast pace over the past decade and is no longer considered "patchy". The parking lots have been falling like flies and are becoming less and less common.

There are several areas outside of Midtown and downtown that are urban/walkable...Glenwood Park, Atlantic Station, Inman Park, Little 5 Points, Old Fourth Ward, Virginia-Highland, West End, etc. Many of these are now connected by the Beltline.

I don't know enough about Portland to say for sure which is more urban, but Atlanta definitely deserves more credit than you're giving. A good way to compare by walk score is to compare the top walkable neighborhoods. Portland's are 96, 95, 95, 92, 92; Atlanta's are 96, 91 ,91, 89, 87. The difference is negligible.
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Old 09-25-2015, 07:03 PM
 
Location: Aurora, Colorado
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Portland is more urban, but that's not saying much considering Atlanta looks much larger
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Old 09-25-2015, 08:42 PM
 
Location: Washington State desert
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Portland is a smallish city that is indeed quite urban for its size. But to compare it to Atlanta is a bit of a stretch. One difference is Atlanta, within the city limits has about three downtowns. Portland has about a one and a half.
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Old 09-25-2015, 10:43 PM
 
103 posts, read 118,239 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Easy View Post
They're different sizes so that throws comparisons off a bit. Atlanta is a very large city by US standards and Portland is medium/large sized. I can see where someone mght feel like Atlanta is slightly less urban yet it feels like a much bigger city. To me it's a toss up. Portland is slightly ahead in structure but Atlanta has a subway.
How so? We're talking city limits and not metro.

Portland
Land: 133 Sq mi
Population: 619,360 (2014 est)

Atlanta
Land: 131 Sq mi
Population: 447,841

Basically Portland has a bigger population. How does that throw comparisons off?
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Old 09-25-2015, 11:03 PM
 
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Because cities do not have walls that keep their metro populations from coming into the city. Atlanta feels much bigger because of it's skyscrapers, multiple skylines, and urban amenities like an actual subway system. The Downtown/Midtown combined area feels larger than anything in Portland.
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