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View Poll Results: Which city feels larger?
Atlanta 90 72.58%
San Diego 34 27.42%
Voters: 124. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-15-2008, 10:38 PM
3,623 posts, read 8,787,990 times
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I got the idea from the other thread asking the similar question between Atlanta and Boston. Now between Atlanta and San Diego which city do you think feels larger, feels more urban, and has a bigger downtown area? Both are sprawling cities. Population wise, San Diego proper has more than double of Atlanta city limits. However, most of San Diego's 1.2 million residents live in suburban style neighborhoods and there is only 1 centalized urban core, and it doesn't appear that big. One reason is San Diego's buildings in downton aren't as tall due to the 500 ft. restriction being close to the airport. The San Diego city limits as a whole can be divided into small sub-cities, which have characteristics of invidual cities, such as La Jolla, Clairemont/Mesa, Mira Mesa, Mission Valley, etc. Atlanta has three major urban areas, Downtown, Midtown, and Buckhead, which have their own skylines, in addition to other unique neighorhoods/districts such as Virginia-Highlands, Little Five Points, Grant Park, Atlantic Station, etc. Atlanta has taller buidlings, especially in Midtown, and has more of an urban atmosphere than San Diego.

Last edited by SEAandATL; 04-15-2008 at 10:49 PM.. Reason: rewording and simplifying
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Old 04-16-2008, 12:53 AM
Location: Tijuana Exurbs
3,982 posts, read 10,395,318 times
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Atlanta should feel bigger, because the Atlanta metro area IS bigger. 5m vs 3m. That's 67% more people than the population of San Diego.

As for skylines, San Diego has two centers of tall buildings, Downtown, and University City which is located north of the 52 freeway and east of La Jolla. Much of San Diego is also governed by development restrictions put in place by the California Coastal Commission which limits development in the coastal zone to only 30 feet.

You are very much correct in your description of San Diego as consisting of many sub-cities. The city has been actively encouraging development along the lines of "a city of villages" to discourage the need to drive everywhere to get anything done.

I'm unsure of the topography of Atlanta, but San Diego is bisected by many canyons and valleys which naturally subdivide the city into smaller sections. This allows San Diego's many neighborhoods to maintain distinct differences from each other, and give the city a smaller feel and a more human scale than a city of its size would otherwise have.
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Old 04-16-2008, 02:26 AM
Location: Atlanta, GA
135 posts, read 727,538 times
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The Atlanta Metro area is MUCH larger than San Diego's. Like the previous poster said, Atlanta is over 5 million and San Diego is around 3 million. Atlanta's city proper population is misleading. Its so small due to the fact that the city cannot annex any of the adjacent neighborhoods like San Diego can. San Diego's city limits cover 372 square miles versus Atlanta's 132 square miles. It's kinda like drawing a small square around central San Diego and saying everything inside the square is now the city and everything else is the burbs. It would make San Diego look much smaller although we know this is NOT the case.

Atlanta also has 5 skylines. Downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, Sandy Springs, and Cumberland. Downtown and Midtown are basically one 2 mile long skyline seperated by North Avenue. Buckhead is a couple of miles to the North. At the current rate of construction, we may see Downtown/Midtown and Buckhead merge into one 6 mile long linear skyline along Peachtree Street.

The following pictures were taken from the top of Stone Mountain in the eastern suburbs.

Scroll >>>>>>>>>>>>




The entire skyline panorama... SCROLL>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Part of Sandy Springs skyline:


http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/3/35/Cumberlandskyline.jpg (broken link)
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:39 AM
Location: Orlando, FL
1,988 posts, read 6,353,966 times
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I think with its downtown and the ultrawide LA-like freeway, Atlanta feels bigger. Last time I went to San Diego I was surprised how small it felt to me, given that I know how big the area is. I think the hills in San Diego block the view of all the sprawl there and even the downtown area felt very small. It was a nice feeling and a beautiful city, but it feels a lot smaller than Atlanta to me.
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Old 04-16-2008, 08:48 AM
Location: Orange, California
1,573 posts, read 5,630,631 times
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I have lived in both Atlanta and San Diego and I can unequivocally say that Atlanta feels much larger than San Diego (and population statistics clearly support this feeling, as another poster has noted). San Diego ranks high on lists of largest city population because the city boundaries are very widely drawn. For instance, the city of Atlanta has a population of about 500k whereas the city of San Diego has a population of about 1.2 to 1.4 million. While this suggests San Diego is a bigger city, the city area is probably 10 times the size of Atlanta. I would say there are about 3+ million people that would fit into the area that the City of San Diego uses for its boundaries if that area was centered in downtown Atlanta.

One of the things that I have always liked about San Diego is that it is a nice smaller-sized city, as compared to more populous places like Los Angeles or Atlanta. It is more similar to Portland, OR in terms of size and city feel than to either of those larger cities.
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Old 04-16-2008, 04:22 PM
1,178 posts, read 3,431,510 times
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Metro Atlanta dwarfs Metro San Diego. I don't know why this question is being asked. It's like asking, "which feels larger: Atlanta or Charlotte". Sheesh.
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Old 04-16-2008, 04:36 PM
Location: Iowa, Des Moines Metro
2,073 posts, read 4,937,686 times
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Default Atlanta

I voted Atlanta. Those are beautiful pictures of the skylines btw, willrusso.
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Old 04-16-2008, 05:56 PM
Location: SF Bay Area
15,415 posts, read 25,262,861 times
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Kettlepot gave a pretty good and accurate description of SD.

As others have mentioned, San Diego's city limits are really odd and irregular. The city limits technically stretch all the way from the Mexico/US border in the San Ysdiro community to at least 45 miles north to the Wild Animal Park. And San Ysidro is only connected to the rest of San Diego my some imaginary city limits in the middle of San Diego Bay and is does not physically touch any other land within the city of SD.

Atlanta is a much bigger and more important metro area than San Diego. I've only been there twice and just for layovers but the airport was massive and so much bigger than SD's tiny little airstrip next to downtown. The city just looked so much bigger to with it's skyline.
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Old 04-17-2008, 02:39 AM
Location: San Diego
939 posts, read 2,818,691 times
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Ths obvious answer is atlanta, however, I dont know by what measures people are using to determine what city feels more urban, but from what I know, San diego is denser even upon the fact that it has an extremely wacky toppgraphy, which means its flat areas must be denser. To make it fair, u might as well throw in orange county and Tijuana to make San diego metro comparable in land size to metro Atlanta, and metro Atlanta is STILL 3500 square miles larger, not to mention, about 2500 square miles of San diego counties 4300 square miles are mountains or forests and another 500 is straight up desolated desert. I know, Tijuana is a nasty city, but Atlanta has its bad parts so let's consider Tijuana San diegos bad part.

Now, Tijuana plus San diego county plus orange county (combined land area of 5,500 square miles) equals 8,000,000 people to

Metro atlantas 5,150,000 people in 8500 square miles. I'm sure its less dense in the outer circle and extremely dense towards the center, pretty much like Houston and Dallas

According to my measurement, I would say the region within proximity to San diego is... Ummm, open to MUCH interpretation.

If u dont want to include Tijuana and orange county, then there's nothing to debate. Atlanta is almost 2 times bigger.

Last edited by SouthCali4LifeSD; 04-17-2008 at 02:50 AM..
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Old 04-17-2008, 01:11 PM
Location: Sandy Eggo - Kensington
4,913 posts, read 10,835,183 times
Reputation: 2641
Ok, now I'm beginning to understand things here. Southern cities (especially one Texas city), have to constantly remind themselves that they have the busiest, tallest, fastest, most, hilliest, 2nd in number of Fortune 500 companies, 2nd largest theater district, etc... in order to feel important and superior. Neverminding that one cares about such trivial nonsense.

New Yorkers never have to boast about how big and brawny their skyline is, why is that? Washingtonians don't wonder "Will DC always be more prominent than Dallas?"

Can't y'all just be proud that the South is a cheap place to do business and buy a home. There definitely seems to be more concern with quantity not quality.

Anyways, I voted Atlanta because not only does it feel bigger, it IS bigger.

...and Elvis has left the building
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