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Old 11-05-2011, 09:44 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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New Orleans is an example of a city with a great downtown but lacklustre suburbs, while Detroit is the opposite. What other examples can you think of?
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:00 PM
 
Location: northern Vermont - previously NM, WA, & MA
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Hartford, CT: lame downtown core (not very vibrant neighborhoods in the city either), very nice suburbs on the western edges of the city.

Portland, OR: Beautiful, vibrant, busy, and walkable downtown (nice neighborhoods in the city also), but very mediocre suburbs.
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Old 11-07-2011, 01:20 PM
 
Location: New Orleans
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
New Orleans is an example of a city with a great downtown but lacklustre suburbs, while Detroit is the opposite. What other examples can you think of?
Just when I was about to punch my city-self in the face, you've already done it for me. I live in New Orleans proper and only go the suburbs for fast food. I don't think you'll find many cities with such a stark contrast between urban core and suburban areas.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:01 PM
 
Location: The canyon (with my pistols and knife)
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Pittsburgh is still a pretty centralized city, and the majority of its suburbs are middle-class suburbs that developed between the 1950's and 1970's, which basically means they're too old to be modern but too new to have been developed with much in the way of walkability or identifiable town centers. With that said, there is a small cluster of wealth down U.S. 19 in the southern suburbs, plus a larger, emerging cluster of wealth in the newly-developed northern suburbs.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:30 PM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnutella View Post
Pittsburgh is still a pretty centralized city, and the majority of its suburbs are middle-class suburbs that developed between the 1950's and 1970's, which basically means they're too old to be modern but too new to have been developed with much in the way of walkability or identifiable town centers. With that said, there is a small cluster of wealth down U.S. 19 in the southern suburbs, plus a larger, emerging cluster of wealth in the newly-developed northern suburbs.
Pittsburgh's suburbs may consist of few robust downtowns, but it appears there's still a decent amount of walkable Main Streets in the area -- definitely more so than later-developed metro areas.

Not to mention there are some "streetcar suburbs" that were incorporated into the city limits, not unlike other Northeastern cities.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:38 PM
 
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The problem with the Pittsburgh metro is that majority of the walkable mainstreets outside of the City's core neighborhoods are not vibrant and consist of the run down rust belt vibe. Majority of these are the old mill towns along the River; The Mon Valley, Ohio and Allegheny River towns. There are a few towns that are still vibrant and nice like Oakmont, Sewickley. There are towns decaying and use to have great downtown areas; New Kensington and Mckeesport, and then towns that can slowly coming back.

Urban sprawl consisted out of the River towns just as well as it did with the main City it's self. Hence Lower Burrell's mid 1970s hideous business district that took place over New Kensington's once architecturally significant, walkable downtown. Also, I always noticed that majority of the land between the rivers was always hilly terrain 50-70s low dense urban sprawl with ugly 70s big box stores; McKnight Road, William Penn Highway, Etc.

Tough I sadly have a nostalgia for middle class sprawl Pittsburgh.
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:11 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neworleansisprettygood View Post
Just when I was about to punch my city-self in the face, you've already done it for me. I live in New Orleans proper and only go the suburbs for fast food. I don't think you'll find many cities with such a stark contrast between urban core and suburban areas.
It is sad that while NOLA is such a big tourist/entertainment city, it's not a very livable place, outside maybe the Quarter and neighbourhoods like the Treme. The financial downtown area was also surprisingly vibrant for a city supposedly in the economic dump. Closer to cities like DC and Philly than LA in terms of foot-traffic.
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by caphillsea77 View Post
Portland, OR: Beautiful, vibrant, busy, and walkable downtown (nice neighborhoods in the city also), but very mediocre suburbs.
Pretty much true, although there's some great Korean and Japanese food in Beaverton. But yeah, pretty boring suburbs.
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Old 11-08-2011, 03:23 AM
 
Location: The canyon (with my pistols and knife)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingKrab View Post
The problem with the Pittsburgh metro is that majority of the walkable mainstreets outside of the City's core neighborhoods are not vibrant and consist of the run down rust belt vibe. Majority of these are the old mill towns along the River; The Mon Valley, Ohio and Allegheny River towns. There are a few towns that are still vibrant and nice like Oakmont, Sewickley. There are towns decaying and use to have great downtown areas; New Kensington and Mckeesport, and then towns that can slowly coming back.

Urban sprawl consisted out of the River towns just as well as it did with the main City it's self. Hence Lower Burrell's mid 1970s hideous business district that took place over New Kensington's once architecturally significant, walkable downtown. Also, I always noticed that majority of the land between the rivers was always hilly terrain 50-70s low dense urban sprawl with ugly 70s big box stores; McKnight Road, William Penn Highway, Etc.

Tough I sadly have a nostalgia for middle class sprawl Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh developed differently than most major metropolitan areas. Due to the scarcity of flat land, industry sprawled through the river valleys beyond the city proper. As a result, many of Pittsburgh's outlying "suburbs" are actually former company towns that had a heavy industrial presence and a relatively low quality of life. Not every bit of river valley in the Pittsburgh area was dedicated to heavy industry, though. There were plenty of "streetcar" suburbs along the rivers that had lots of wealth and little if any heavy industry, and many of these places remain wealthy today.

In general, the Monongahela River Valley was entirely industrialized, and today is where most of the post-industrial decay in the Pittsburgh area can be found. Fallen industrial towns in the Monongahela River Valley include Braddock, Brownsville, Clairton, Donora, Duquesne, Glassport, Homestead, McKeesport, Monessen and Monongahela. The town of California is a relative oasis, though, thanks to California University of Pennsylvania.

The Ohio River Valley largely depends on which county you're in. In Allegheny County, development was almost entirely streetcar suburbia, with McKees Rocks and Neville Island being the only towns that were industrial. Otherwise, Bellevue, Edgeworth, Emsworth and Sewickley are examples of pristine streetcar suburbs that continue to thrive today. On the other hand, the Ohio River Valley in Beaver County was heavily industrial. Aliquippa is an example of a company town located on the Ohio River in Beaver County.

The Allegheny River Valley has the most variable built environment of the three. There are industrial towns like Freeport, New Kensington, Springdale and Tarentum, plus streetcar suburbs like Aspinwall, Fox Chapel and Oakmont. It's also the least-developed river valley of the three, with development thinning out pretty rapidly north of Oakmont and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Elevation seems to be the primary factor in the desirability of places in the Pittsburgh area. For the most part, the lower the elevation, the less desirable a place is (streetcar suburbs being a notable exception), and the higher the elevation, the more desirable a place is. This is true both in the city and in the outlying areas.

For example, the city neighborhood of Hazelwood is located along the Monongahela River and used to be heavily industrialized, and today is considered to be one of the less desirable neighborhoods. Conversely, the neighborhoods of Squirrel Hill and Shadyside are located away from the rivers at a higher elevation, and are among the most desirable in the city. Exceptions to this rule include neighborhoods like the Hill District and Beltzhoover, which are high-elevation neighborhoods overrun with Section 8 housing, and the South Side and Strip District, which are low-elevation neighborhoods that have been revitalized.

After the river valleys were fully developed, people began climbing the hills to find new places to develop. Crafton, Edgewood, Mt. Lebanon and Wilkinsburg are three of the first suburbs to be built away from the river valleys. Each of these suburbs was built with both cars and people in mind. Edgewood is a bedroom community built on a grid. Mt. Lebanon has a walkable central business district. The entirety of both Crafton and Wilkinsburg is on a grid. Edgewood has aged gracefully, and Mt. Lebanon remains one of Pittsburgh's most desirable suburbs. Unfortunately, Wilkinsburg was overrun with Section 8 housing, but it's a prime candidate for gentrification, being located between Pittsburgh's ambient East End neighborhoods and I-376. Crafton is working-class but stable.

As far as post-war suburban development goes, the first generation of post-war suburbs were mostly built south and east of the city, not only for those who wanted to move out of the city, but also those who wanted to move out of the Monongahela River Valley. Suburbs like Baldwin, Churchill, Forest Hills, Green Tree, North Versailles, Penn Hills, West Mifflin, and the townships of Reserve and Stowe, developed during the 1950's and 1960's, and today are considered to be less desirable due to both their age and the smaller size of the housing stock.

The second generation of post-war suburbs were built in areas that were adjacent to either the first generation of post-war suburbs, or to the less industrialized areas of the city. Suburbs like Bethel Park, Monroeville, Pleasant Hills, Plum, Upper St. Clair, and the townships of Moon, Robinson, Ross and Shaler, developed during the 1970's and 1980's, and are considered to be quintessential middle-class suburban Pittsburgh.

The third generation of post-war suburbs developed in farther outlying areas, and are generally wealthy. Suburbs like Franklin Park, Jefferson Hills, McCandless, and the townships of Collier, Hampton, Marshall, North Fayette, Pine and Richland, have been developing since the 1990's, and are considered to be very desirable. Houses in these areas continue to appreciate briskly in spite of the real estate meltdown in other parts of the country.

Three suburbs in particular -- Murrysville, plus the townships of Cranberry and Peters -- are third-generation post-war suburbs that have grown outside of Allegheny County, and represent the edges of suburban Pittsburgh. Murrysville is located in Westmoreland County; Cranberry Township is located in Butler County, and Peters Township is located in Washington County. Murrysville and Cranberry have matured, and development has begun to spill over into Adams Township and Penn Township, respectively. When Peters Township matures, expect development to spill over into Cecil Township, especially given its proximity to I-79 and the Southpointe office complex.

Exurbs of Pittsburgh include Burgettstown, Delmont, McDonald and Zelienople, as well as the townships of Hempfield, Hopewell, Jackson, North Strabane and South Strabane. Butler, Greensburg and Washington are established satellite cities.
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Upper East Side of Texas
12,521 posts, read 23,129,095 times
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LOS ANGELES:

Great suburbs, lackluster core

SAN FRANCISO:

Great core, lackluster suburbs

DALLAS:

Great suburbs, lackluster core

FORT WORT:

Great suburbs, great core

AUSTIN:

Great suburbs, great core

SAN ANTONIO:

Great core, lackluster suburbs
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