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Old 08-17-2017, 02:31 AM
 
Location: Northern United States
187 posts, read 158,077 times
Reputation: 259

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There are some cities that exist that don't really have functional downtown areas. Meaning they don't serve their metropolitan region.

Non-functional downtowns would be one or a combination of these things.

-So many vacant lots/surface parking that the urban environment is completely broken up(the downtown area losing an urban feel/doesn't feel like a downtown.)
-Lack of employment base(A sizable majority of employers or offices are located outside of the Downtown area)
-Lots of vacancy/abandonment
-Downtown is too small to really serve their metro area size(Examples: Killeen, TX and Lawton, OK are two cities with very small downtowns compared to their populations)

Some people say that cities such as Indianapolis or Oklahoma City have small downtowns and whether you agree with that or not, both of those downtowns(or other examples) still have many office buildings, employers, still have density, and are growing with new construction, so the downtowns aren't really dysfunctional.


What are other examples of non-functional downtowns?(for cities 50,000+ in population and are the main core city in their metro area or an anchor city in that area.)

Last edited by Northeasterner1970; 08-17-2017 at 03:09 AM..
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:35 AM
 
21,195 posts, read 30,379,606 times
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Akron from my recollection fits that profile.
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Old 08-17-2017, 07:24 AM
 
101 posts, read 54,173 times
Reputation: 80
Detroit.
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Old 08-17-2017, 07:51 AM
 
5,612 posts, read 6,093,359 times
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I know I am going to get blasted for this by the St. Louis crowd but I will say DT St. Louis. The Downtown workforce has been shrinking for the past 10 years and is down to 90k (I've heard the employment base is growing again as of this summer). The downward trend has to do with inter regional competitiveness and lack of class A office space. DT Clayton I think is at 30k, the Central West End is at 30k and Cortex is at 8k. Not to mention competition from suburban office parks in Chesterfield Valley and other areas.

Due to St. Louis being a much larger city earlier on leaving so much vacant space gives the city a non vibrant image. There doesn't seem to be a lot going on when there is. The excessive amount of parking garages takes a lot of the traffic off the side walks during the winter. That leaves a empty feel in DT St. Louis during the winter months.

The DT residential population is actually growing and we are at almost 20k. We have many neighborhood amenities that people would look for in a major urban neighborhood such as several bodega type shops, grocery store, a food hall opening in a few months (@ metropolitan sq) a nice selection of apartments and too many restaurants to name. We are missing a major chain department store like Nordstrom Rack or Marshalls. (hopefully an announcement of something will be made when the Railway exchange building near completion). I think DT will continue to improve its position as the largest employment hub in the region and over take KC as the largest employment hub in the state again.
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Old 08-17-2017, 08:06 AM
 
Location: StlNoco Mo
6,338 posts, read 4,686,208 times
Reputation: 7795
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtinmemphis View Post
I know I am going to get blasted for this by the St. Louis crowd but I will say DT St. Louis. The Downtown workforce has been shrinking for the past 10 years and is down to 90k (I've heard the employment base is growing again as of this summer). The downward trend has to do with inter regional competitiveness and lack of class A office space. DT Clayton I think is at 30k, the Central West End is at 30k and Cortex is at 8k. Not to mention competition from suburban office parks in Chesterfield Valley and other areas.

Due to St. Louis being a much larger city earlier on leaving so much vacant space gives the city a non vibrant image. There doesn't seem to be a lot going on when there is. The excessive amount of parking garages takes a lot of the traffic off the side walks during the winter. That leaves a empty feel in DT St. Louis during the winter months.

The DT residential population is actually growing and we are at almost 20k. We have many neighborhood amenities that people would look for in a major urban neighborhood such as several bodega type shops, grocery store, a food hall opening in a few months (@ metropolitan sq) a nice selection of apartments and too many restaurants to name. We are missing a major chain department store like Nordstrom Rack or Marshalls. (hopefully an announcement of something will be made when the Railway exchange building near completion). I think DT will continue to improve its position as the largest employment hub in the region and over take KC as the largest employment hub in the state again.
I don't know why anyone would blast you.
That's the way it is.
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Old 08-17-2017, 08:11 AM
 
Location: Metro Detroit
1,773 posts, read 1,772,038 times
Reputation: 3479
Quote:
Originally Posted by dixiedean1878 View Post
Detroit.
This post tells me two things:
  • You believe things you read on the internet without any actual investigation of your own.
  • You've definitely never been to Downtown Detroit (or if you have, you've not been in over 10 years).
Downtown Detroit is quite beautiful, developed, accessible, well-used, functional, walkable, and even has a street-car now. The issues are in some of the forgotten outer neighborhoods of Detroit. Downtown though, that's the nicest, most developed part of the whole metro, hell probably the second nicest and most developed of the whole Midwestern region (#1 being Downtown Chicago, which is larger/nicer).
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Old 08-17-2017, 08:13 AM
 
Location: Clifton, Cincinnati
114 posts, read 80,976 times
Reputation: 206
Not that it is dead by any means, but downtown Phoenix felt seriously underutilized to me on my visit there last December. It was so spread out, and the downtown area in general felt much smaller than other cities of comparable size. The city certainly sprawled throughout the valley it sits in, but Downtown seemed like just another district that just happened to have skyscrapers. No real vitality that I could see.
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Old 08-17-2017, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,423 posts, read 11,929,235 times
Reputation: 10539
Quote:
Originally Posted by Northeasterner1970 View Post
There are some cities that exist that don't really have functional downtown areas. Meaning they don't serve their metropolitan region.

Non-functional downtowns would be one or a combination of these things.

-So many vacant lots/surface parking that the urban environment is completely broken up(the downtown area losing an urban feel/doesn't feel like a downtown.)
-Lack of employment base(A sizable majority of employers or offices are located outside of the Downtown area)
-Lots of vacancy/abandonment
-Downtown is too small to really serve their metro area size(Examples: Killeen, TX and Lawton, OK are two cities with very small downtowns compared to their populations)

Some people say that cities such as Indianapolis or Oklahoma City have small downtowns and whether you agree with that or not, both of those downtowns(or other examples) still have many office buildings, employers, still have density, and are growing with new construction, so the downtowns aren't really dysfunctional.


What are other examples of non-functional downtowns?(for cities 50,000+ in population and are the main core city in their metro area or an anchor city in that area.)
The thing is, your first and third listed attributes are in some ways held in tension with the second and fourth attributes.

For example, look at Philadelphia. Center City is very vibrant and has a great urban feel. There are relatively few vacant lots or surface parking lots left, and most of those remaining are tied up in ownership disputes and/or being land banked. But Center City isn't really a "downtown" in the CBD sense in the same way that a lot of cities are. Around half of its land area is residential neighborhoods, with the office tower section of it mostly limited to a cluster in its northwest quadrant. By national standards, this CBD is rather small, in large part because the combination of the city commuter tax and the historic height limit (which has since been lifted) pushing many office jobs into the suburbs. Indeed, if you look at Fortune 500/1000 companies to this day, most Philly-area companies are in the suburbs, with only Comcast and Aramark in Center City.

On the other hand, look at a city like Hartford, Connecticut. Hartford basically totally obliterated its original downtown during the mid 20th century to provide space for office towers, with the entire area ringed by highways and surrounded by a "moat" of blocks dominated by parking lots. People get out of those office towers and flee to the suburbs at rush hour, and the downtown shuts down. It has an employment base, but at the cost of being nonfunctional as a neighborhood.
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Old 08-17-2017, 08:40 AM
 
Location: MichOhioigan
1,546 posts, read 2,537,227 times
Reputation: 1459
Quote:
Originally Posted by dixiedean1878 View Post
Detroit.
What? Have you ever been to downtown Detroit?
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Old 08-17-2017, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Northern United States
187 posts, read 158,077 times
Reputation: 259
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
The thing is, your first and third listed attributes are in some ways held in tension with the second and fourth attributes.

For example, look at Philadelphia. Center City is very vibrant and has a great urban feel. There are relatively few vacant lots or surface parking lots left, and most of those remaining are tied up in ownership disputes and/or being land banked. But Center City isn't really a "downtown" in the CBD sense in the same way that a lot of cities are. Around half of its land area is residential neighborhoods, with the office tower section of it mostly limited to a cluster in its northwest quadrant. By national standards, this CBD is rather small, in large part because the combination of the city commuter tax and the historic height limit (which has since been lifted) pushing many office jobs into the suburbs. Indeed, if you look at Fortune 500/1000 companies to this day, most Philly-area companies are in the suburbs, with only Comcast and Aramark in Center City.

On the other hand, look at a city like Hartford, Connecticut. Hartford basically totally obliterated its original downtown during the mid 20th century to provide space for office towers, with the entire area ringed by highways and surrounded by a "moat" of blocks dominated by parking lots. People get out of those office towers and flee to the suburbs at rush hour, and the downtown shuts down. It has an employment base, but at the cost of being nonfunctional as a neighborhood.
I agree with you on that one, I should've clarified that part(on resisdential) before. Center City still does contain numerous office towers though too. Downtown Hartford isn't as good as Downtown Providence but I didn't think it was all too bad.
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