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Old 07-12-2017, 01:55 PM
 
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Northampton, MA, a small city on the Connecticut River in western MA with a population of just 28,592, has a very vibrant downtown for a place of its small size. The fact that the prestigious Smith College is on the edge of the downtown helps. Close proximity to Amherst College, UMass, and Mt Holyoke College in the neighboring towns also is an advantage.
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Old 10-26-2017, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Mount Pleasant
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Nantucket, MA
Carmel, CA
Calistoga, CA
Sonoma, CA
Healdsburg, CA
St. Helena, CA
Edgartown, MA
Easton, MD
Plymouth, MA
Bristol, RI
Beaufort, SC
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Old 10-28-2017, 06:31 AM
 
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There seems to be a misconception among many about what defines walkable. A town/city with a concentrated downtown area with nearby neighborhoods one can walk from doesn't truly make it walkable if one can't reasonably get to everyday needs like a grocery store or drugstore on foot. That by definiton would extend to most anywhere developed pre-WWII. While cute shops, restaurants and coffee shops are nice to have nearby, it's not a walk-friendly situation if one has to get in their car and drive to the outskirts of town to achieve the everyday necessities.
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Old 10-28-2017, 07:06 AM
 
Location: In the heights
22,149 posts, read 23,676,300 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle19125 View Post
There seems to be a misconception among many about what defines walkable. A town/city with a concentrated downtown area with nearby neighborhoods one can walk from doesn't truly make it walkable if one can't reasonably get to everyday needs like a grocery store or drugstore on foot. That by definiton would extend to most anywhere developed pre-WWII. While cute shops, restaurants and coffee shops are nice to have nearby, it's not a walk-friendly situation if one has to get in their car and drive to the outskirts of town to achieve the everyday necessities.
Yea, things like groceries and a pharmacy of some sort is pretty essential. It doesn't have to be much, but there needs to be something.
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Old 10-28-2017, 10:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
Perhaps Oswego NY, which has a big bar scene, a SUNY campus, is right on Lake Ontario and the Oswego River bisects the city of roughly 18,000 people. Oneonta NY is similar, as well as Plattsburgh NY. Corning NY, a city of 10,000 and has a strong influence from Corning Incorporated, has the Gaffer District: Corning's Gaffer District - Corning, New York - Shopping - Entertainment - Museums - Food

Saratoga Springs is another smaller Upstate NY city with a nice and vibrant Downtown: Your Guide To Downtown Saratoga Springs, New York - See What Attractions Downtown Saratoga Has To Offer!

and some others: Downtown Geneva, New York 14456 - The Difference is Downtown!

Canandaigua New York - Your Guide to Beautiful Downtown Canandaigua, NY

Troy Business Improvement District :: The Troy Downtown Collaborative

Downtown Utica Development Association (http://www.downtownutica.com/index.asp - broken link)

About DSIC - About Us - Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation

Welcome To Downtown Cortland NY - Home
Here's a street view of the bolded city: https://www.google.com/maps/@42.1445...6!9m2!1b1!2i38

It doesn't look like much, but if you go right, you walk into this: https://www.google.com/maps/@42.1440...6!9m2!1b1!2i38

If you cross the railroad tracks there's this grocery store: https://www.google.com/maps/@42.1453...6!9m2!1b1!2i38

If you continue and go across the bridge, you have this business district: https://www.google.com/maps/@42.1496...6!9m2!1b1!2i38

You could also walk to this place of major employment for the community: https://www.google.com/maps/@42.1513...6!9m2!1b1!2i38
https://www.corning.com/worldwide/en.html
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Old 10-28-2017, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Mount Pleasant
2,117 posts, read 2,694,952 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyle19125 View Post
There seems to be a misconception among many about what defines walkable. A town/city with a concentrated downtown area with nearby neighborhoods one can walk from doesn't truly make it walkable if one can't reasonably get to everyday needs like a grocery store or drugstore on foot. That by definiton would extend to most anywhere developed pre-WWII. While cute shops, restaurants and coffee shops are nice to have nearby, it's not a walk-friendly situation if one has to get in their car and drive to the outskirts of town to achieve the everyday necessities.
This is an interesting point. I am reading a great book called The End of the Suburbs that talks about walkability, connectivity, etc., and why a lot of people are moving back to cities.

The book notes that there are very few places in the country that are truly "walkable", i.e., that someone can live car-free. But what most people want now is "walkable suburban" where there is a "pleasant and walkable center of some kind that is accessible nearby." The book goes on to say that it's great if it's within walking distance, but it's just as useful if a rich, vibrant downtown strip of stores and restaurants is within a few minutes drive for most residents. Those who live in the downtown area can walk everywhere, but almost everyone in the zip code can get downtown within a 5-10 min drive.

Very rarely, the book states, does "walkable suburban" mean every single person can walk everywhere for every single thing. But the difference between driving a mile to get a gallon of milk and driving 15 miles can be transformative.

I understand this completely. I used to live in Newburyport, MA 2 blocks from the center of town, and 3 blocks from the waterfront. Newburyport is a very vibrant, artsy town full of things to do, with events going on all the time. We could walk out our front door to town, go to a restaurant, take a walk on the waterfront, go to the little independent movie theater, walk to the bookstore, the library, the police station, all kinds of shops, our doctor's office, lawyers offices, bank, hair salon, gym, coffee shops, the dog groomer, etc. We could even walk to pick up the newspaper, bread and milk at a little convenience store if we wanted, and up the hill to a CVS and drycleaner, and a longer (but still doable) walk to a natural pet store and liquor store. I could even walk to my job.

Could we walk to buy groceries? No. Could we walk to the hospital? No. But both were within 3 miles of our home. Our vet was @ 5 miles in a neighboring town. When I wanted paper/ink for my printer I had to drive 30 min to get that. When I wanted to shop for clothes (other than at Marshalls, which was @ 3 miles away), I had to drive 30 min. Same with any big box store.

Now we live in a suburb of Charleston, SC. When we first moved here we rented in a vibrant, walkable community. Not as much so as Newburyport, but still very nice, and still walkable. Miles and miles of walking trails, lots of events going on, all the basics - stores, restaurants, grocery store, bank, dentist, vet, eye doctor, medical doctor, gym, library, police, fire, even stadium. When it became time to buy, our choice became a townhouse in that community, or a single family house in a neighboring suburb. Because unfortunately, walkable towns are expesive. Which should tell you something. We chose the house.

Now we live in a "town" of 81K people, with no core, no center, no downtown. It has a highway running through it, lined with strip malls. Our subdivision is beautiful, and is one of the more "walkable". There are beautiful trails, and there is a fire station, hospital, 2 schools and soon to be a library. There is a promise of shops and restaurants and offices. But for everything else, it is a trip in the car - not far, mind you - 20 min at most. And there is a lot here we did not have at home - Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Staples, Home Goods, Lowes, Home Depot, etc. are all here. Closer than they were at home.

But something is missing. And I realized after reading this book that that something is "walkability". I have lived mostly in places that were not walkable - until Newburyport. It was not my "home", not even my home state. But I lived there for longer than anywhere else - over 20 years. In all different types of places. And the places did not matter. It was the town that had hold of my heart.

I did not know it then, it was only after reading this book, and reflecting, that I "discovered" the secret ingredient that I know makes me happy. Makes me feel connected and alive and a part of things. Had I to do it over again, I would have chosen the townhouse in the walkable community over the single family house.

We're all different. We all desire and need different things to be happy. But it's coming to light that the suburban lifestyle that promised more - more space, more quiet, more house - also took some important things away - our time, our health, our sense of connectedness & in some cases, our happiness.

Last edited by macalan; 10-28-2017 at 10:51 AM..
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Old 10-28-2017, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Erie, PA
339 posts, read 305,448 times
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The downtown of Erie, PA (my hometown) has gotten better and better every year.

Downtown Erie has great breweries, restaurants, boutique shops/galleries, and a beautiful waterfront with world class hotels, mini golf, boat tours and an observation tower.

It is also home to many of the city's attractions including: Erie Art Museum, Experience Children's Museum, Erie Maritime Museum/US Brig Niagara, Warner Theater, UPMC Park, the Erie Insurance Arena, and Bayfront Convention Center.

The downtown is also adjacent to the West 6th Street Historical District, aka "Millionaire's Row", which is a street of many historic mansions and homes including the Watson-Curtze Mansion, home of Erie's regional history museum.

Last edited by jFug; 10-28-2017 at 11:07 AM.. Reason: Added a word
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Old 10-28-2017, 11:04 AM
 
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I hope the "New Urbanism" trend in the suburbs continues to evolve around the country as those type of developments appeal to those who appreciate the newness of the suburbs and those who appreciate the walkability factor missing in traditional new suburban developments.

example: Birkdale Village - Huntersville NC Birkdale Village | Shopping & Restaurants in Huntersville, NC
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Old 10-28-2017, 11:17 AM
 
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May actually be a better fit now: https://www.google.com/maps/@42.9323...7i13312!8i6656

Logan Park Lofts | Maintenance Free Living | Auburn, NY
Auburn Public Theater | Performance, Cinema, Education & Community
Schweinfurth
Cayuga Museum of History and Art – & Case Research Lab
Seward House Museum | One House. Many Stories.

Also in/near the city: https://fingerlakesmtf.com/
https://www.harriettubmanhome.com/
The Official Site of The Auburn Doubledays | auburndoubledays.com Homepage
Finger Lakes Drive-In | Auburn, NY
Willard Memorial Chapel – Home

More: https://www.centro.org/service_sched...hedules-auburn
https://www.tourcayuga.com/
Properties | R&M Real Estate Group
https://www.kylecroft.com/lofts-at-brister-mill
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Old 10-28-2017, 01:04 PM
 
Location: Mount Pleasant
2,117 posts, read 2,694,952 times
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I forgot to mention - one other town-

Chatham, MA

Also, John Villani has two great books that focus on vibrant towns. The first is "The 100 Best Art Towns in America" and the second is "The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America". It's not just about the arts. He profiles the towns, and cites that many times "artsy" towns ARE very vibrant. But he talks about towns with "life", that have independent bookstores, coffee shops, gathering places, etc.

I have both books, they are both very good. There is some overlap between the two, but not enough that I would say don't get both. You can get both used very inexpensively on Amazon.
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