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View Poll Results: what cities have big downtowns?
philadelphia 104 72.73%
los angeles 56 39.16%
honolulu 12 8.39%
tampa 1 0.70%
atlanta 55 38.46%
omaha 0 0%
milwaukee 8 5.59%
dallas 49 34.27%
miami 49 34.27%
memphis 3 2.10%
kansas city mo 13 9.09%
st. louis 25 17.48%
san antonio 6 4.20%
san francisco 91 63.64%
houston 61 42.66%
san diego 24 16.78%
buffalo 5 3.50%
st. paul 4 2.80%
cincinatti 19 13.29%
denver 37 25.87%
seattle 71 49.65%
cleveland 21 14.69%
boston 77 53.85%
pittsburg 35 24.48%
detroit 34 23.78%
phoenix 11 7.69%
nashville 10 6.99%
charlotte 15 10.49%
portland 16 11.19%
minneapolis 52 36.36%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 143. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-04-2012, 11:03 AM
 
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Downtown Seattle has grown fast a few years ago downtown was a hike to Seattle Center now the city is pushed around the center with highrises. Seattle as it stands is about 3 square miles 60,000 residents in 2009 with 7,700 new units under construction currently. Dont have a current population I know the city says the population will tip 70,000 in 2013. Downtown also has 14,000 hotel rooms one of the largest concentration of hotel rooms in a city downtown in the nation. Downtown also has 43 million square ft of offfice space and is absorbing one million square ft a year . With that there is also 223,000 workers downtown , Before the recession there was 245,000 . Its going to be a couple of years before we get to those levels again. But with all the new office towers under construction and planned ones by Amazon it should take a couple of years. Amazon alone says they will be hiring 20,000 downtown. And in the mix Seattles retail seen is strong and growing downtown with multiple department stores . Ive been to many of the other cities but I think Seattle seems like a much larger city I just wanted to post some facts to base my opinion on with out calling out other cities feel free to compare your cities and post .
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:45 PM
 
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There are lots of ways to determine "big" and lots of ways to delineate downtown. One indicator is how many people are living near the center of the city. The 2010 Census found 15 cities with 100,000 or more people living within 2 miles of City Hall (rounded to nearest 000):

New York 438,000
San Francisco 356,000
Philadelphia 236,000
Boston 184,000
Chicago 182,000
Los Angeles 179,000
Washington 157,000
Baltimore 156,000
Honolulu 125,000
Minneapolis 123,000
Providence 116,000
Seattle 106,000
San Jose 105,000
Oxnard-Ventura 104,000
Bridgeport 101,000

With the exception of Oxnard and Bridgeport those are all reasonable candidates to be "big" downtowns. San Diego, Portland, Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, and Houston all fell short of the 100,000 mark. Unfortunately the available statistics don't provide data on second cities in metropolitan areas, like Saint Paul or Oakland or Fort Worth, so we don't have an answer on any of those.
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:15 PM
 
6,611 posts, read 6,948,476 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlite View Post
There are lots of ways to determine "big" and lots of ways to delineate downtown. One indicator is how many people are living near the center of the city. The 2010 Census found 15 cities with 100,000 or more people living within 2 miles of City Hall (rounded to nearest 000):

New York 438,000
San Francisco 356,000
Philadelphia 236,000
Boston 184,000
Chicago 182,000
Los Angeles 179,000
Washington 157,000
Baltimore 156,000
Honolulu 125,000
Minneapolis 123,000
Providence 116,000
Seattle 106,000
San Jose 105,000
Oxnard-Ventura 104,000
Bridgeport 101,000

With the exception of Oxnard and Bridgeport those are all reasonable candidates to be "big" downtowns. San Diego, Portland, Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, and Houston all fell short of the 100,000 mark. Unfortunately the available statistics don't provide data on second cities in metropolitan areas, like Saint Paul or Oakland or Fort Worth, so we don't have an answer on any of those.
The downtown of most cities is a specific area, not everything within two miles of city hall. Downtowns normally have specific borders and are often the financial or business district or the historic center of the city. It really has nothing to do with city hall.

For instance...downtown San Francisco is the financial district, with a population of about 10,000 (Financial District, San Francisco - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Downtown Chicago or the Loop has a population of about 30,000 (Chicago Loop - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). These populations are nowhere near the ones listed above, and the above list is not an indication of a large downtown (i.e. Oxnard and Bridgeport). I'm actually not sure what the above list has to do with the subject, but I guess it's interesting nonetheless.
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:38 PM
 
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Actually, Joe, I think the truth lies in between. The "borders" of downtowns aren't legislative matters like the borders of a city. Still, there tends to be some consensus on where the downtown is. I think you've drawn the borders of downtowns too narrowly--e.g. most people in San Francisco would also consider Union Square, Civic Center, at least part of South of Market, and perhaps some other areas as within "downtown."

But it's not represented by the 2 mile radius. I posted that because it's readily available data, unlike data about population within downtowns themselves (the last thing I can remember seeing about that was in the Journal of the American Planning Association maybe 5 years ago). The numbers I posted give a comparative sense, and the Census Bureau itself used the 2 mile radius in a report (though they didn't say it was downtown). I think for the most part there's a fair amount of correspondence between the population within the 2 mile ring and in the downtown "proper."
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlite View Post
Actually, Joe, I think the truth lies in between. The "borders" of downtowns aren't legislative matters like the borders of a city. Still, there tends to be some consensus on where the downtown is. I think you've drawn the borders of downtowns too narrowly--e.g. most people in San Francisco would also consider Union Square, Civic Center, at least part of South of Market, and perhaps some other areas as within "downtown."

But it's not represented by the 2 mile radius. I posted that because it's readily available data, unlike data about population within downtowns themselves (the last thing I can remember seeing about that was in the Journal of the American Planning Association maybe 5 years ago). The numbers I posted give a comparative sense, and the Census Bureau itself used the 2 mile radius in a report (though they didn't say it was downtown). I think for the most part there's a fair amount of correspondence between the population within the 2 mile ring and in the downtown "proper."
I disagree about downtowns...I don't care what most people consider it to be, the actual downtown is what it is. I can say that I think the entire city should be considered downtown, but that doesn't change the fact that there is a particular area that is known to be the downtown district. I personaly don't have anything to do with drawing the borders of downtowns...the city leaders are the ones who do that. What you and I think has nothing to do with it, and all of those areas you mentioned in San Francisco ARE NOT downtown. Just because it's an urban area doesn't magically include a neighborhood in a city's downtown.

My point was that city hall is not normally in the exact center of a city, so judging cities by population around city hall seems pretty worthless. I would much rather go by what city leaders consider to be downtown rather than what the average person on the street thinks.
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:54 PM
 
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Cities aren't typically that definitive about where their downtown is. Let's keep talking about San Francisco. Probably the closest San Francisco comes to an "official" definition is in the 1984 Downtown Plan. The borders of that plan are very irregular and crafted block by block, but it generally covers the area on both sides of Market St. from The Embarcadero to Van Ness Ave. So it covers the Financial District, Union Square, the first few blocks of South of Market, part of the Civic Center etc. It covers everything with C-3 zoning. But even that plan acknowledges that there's a "greater Downtown" around its formal downtown--some of the Plan's requiirements and policies spread out to that larger area.

But there are other kinds of "Downtowns" that cities define. Besides downtown zoning districts, the city may have a downtown parking district, downtown traffic regulations, a downtown redevelopment district, a downtown historic district, and quite possibly others. Those areas will probably overlap, but not be exactly the same.

The Financial District is the core of San Francisco's office district, though that has been spreading south for many years. But other downtown functions happen in other parts of the downtown. There's a big retail area around Union Square. There are lots of hotels west of Union Square. There's a cluster of live theatres. There's high density residential. There are museums and cultural/recreational sites grouped in Yerba Buena Center. It's a mistake to think that the downtown is just the office district, though some newer cities don't have much more than office buildings in their downtown.

Your point about City Hall is well taken. In some cities--such as Portland, Philadelphia, and Chicago--the City Hall is right in the center of the downtown. In others such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego it sits more at one end. But it's almost always somewhere in the downtown. I think the Census Bureau took that as their reference point because it is basically central in every city. Decades ago the Census tried to define areas for downtowns, but gave up because they couldn't come up with a clear way to define downtown.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:25 PM
 
Location: BMORE!
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Not bad Baltimore especially considering the fact that roughly %25 of the land area around city hall is water.
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:19 AM
 
1,548 posts, read 2,357,473 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlite View Post
There are lots of ways to determine "big" and lots of ways to delineate downtown. One indicator is how many people are living near the center of the city. The 2010 Census found 15 cities with 100,000 or more people living within 2 miles of City Hall (rounded to nearest 000):

New York 438,000
San Francisco 356,000
Philadelphia 236,000
Boston 184,000
Chicago 182,000
Los Angeles 179,000
Washington 157,000
Baltimore 156,000
Honolulu 125,000
Minneapolis 123,000
Providence 116,000
Seattle 106,000
San Jose 105,000
Oxnard-Ventura 104,000
Bridgeport 101,000

With the exception of Oxnard and Bridgeport those are all reasonable candidates to be "big" downtowns. San Diego, Portland, Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, and Houston all fell short of the 100,000 mark. Unfortunately the available statistics don't provide data on second cities in metropolitan areas, like Saint Paul or Oakland or Fort Worth, so we don't have an answer on any of those.
Ok but the counts dont take into effect the natural bounderies . Seattle downtown has water on three sides Lake Union, Lake Washington and Puget Sound so a landlocked city is going to have a much larger 2 mile radius population.
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:40 AM
 
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Ironcouger, that's true. It points you towards looking at population density--the intensity of settlement. So here's the order of population density in metropolitan areas with 1,000,000 people or more, and a density of at least 20,000 people per square mile in the one mile ring around City Hall.

1. New York
2. San Francisco
3. Boston
4. Washington
5. Philadelphia
6. Chicago
7. Baltimore
8. Honolulu
9. Los Angeles
10. Seattle

So Seattle still emerges with one of the ten densest big city core areas. A number of these places lose area to water--Baltimore, Honolulu, Chicago, Boston. I think most people would see Seattle as a big downtown, the debate might be more around Portland.
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:58 AM
 
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Ok thats kool but not all cities have there city halls downtown or in the center of town. Seattles city hall is in south downtown close to SoDo area witch is an industrial and stadium distric. Why not do the comparrison from the center of the city centers. Or why not compare office space ,retail, hotels, condo and apartment towers. These are things that make a city center big we could even compare downtown museums. Instead of comparing how many people live around the city hall because that is not a accurate measure of how big a city center is. It only tells us how many people live around the neighborhood the city hall is in.
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