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Old 06-01-2010, 07:26 PM
 
Location: Lake View, Chicago
172 posts, read 400,766 times
Reputation: 98

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Go Illini!

To your question: I am from Chicago, and I do not know NEARLY as much as the fine downstaters on here are telling you. All that I do know, is that Champaign and Urbana are culturally the same. Of course they have separate governments, but you'll find that they are more than just "twin cities," they have become one city. Don't worry, you'll love Illinois.

Oh, and GO ILLINI! Did I already mention that? Good luck!
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:24 PM
 
8 posts, read 17,887 times
Reputation: 14
Since I was born in Urbana in 1950, I ought to know something about this question, even though my family moved away in 1960 when I was only ten years old. However, I returned several times in the nineties and have written quite a bit about the place from both a child's and a middle-aged adult's perspective. First off, let me state for the record that the two towns properly should be referred to as Urbana-Champaign, NOT Champaign-Urbana, as is currently in vogue. The expression "C-U" seems to roll off several tongues in this thread, alone. Originally, Champaign was West Urbana, U of I is officially headquartered in Urbana, and we always referred to the place as Urbana-Champaign in the fifties and sixties. Although we moved to Urbana from Champaign when I was only three, I don't recall any controversy on this point. I don't know anything about the crime stats for the area, except what I read, but every time we go back there to my old neighborhood in South Urbana, it strikes me as a very idyllic place, at least on the surface, that is, until you've dealt with some of the residents awhile. There is a smug, uptight, narrow-minded quality to many people from that area, particularly where social conventions are concerned. They insist that everything be done a certain way and they can be very petty about it, even downright insufferable. I first returned there 20 years ago after having been away for 30 years and was surprised at how suspicious and unfriendly many of the people were, even old family friends, especially since my dad was a full professor in the late fifties and my siblings and I were reasonably popular and solid achievers in the local schools, both academically and athletically. I recently came across a series of articles concerning my first real friend in Urbana, a guy who graduated from Urbana High, went to U of I, and apparently has been very successful up in Chicago. His family were nice people and, with certain reservations, I thought he was pretty cool. I was dismayed, however, to see the way they referred to him as if he'd come down from heaven on a staircase of golden clouds, because in stark contrast, my wife and I received the skunk eye more than once and it really hurt our feelings. I was at a low ebb in my life then and went back there primarily to reconnect with my roots in order to obtain a much-needed boost of morale. In that regard, Urbana let me down and it has continued to do so in the succeeding years even though the place still tugs at me emotionally.
That said, I'd say Urbana is preferable to Champaign, especially if you want a quieter, more family-oriented town to live in. Frankly, when I lived there, Champaign was considered the bad side of town, but all that seems to have changed quite a bit since then. I've always loved the brick streets and old-fashioned street lights in the part of Urbana where I grew up as well as one particular park in which we used to play. It really is beautiful, even in the rain, the quintessential "leafy" neighborhood where wildlife abounds. But if you move there, you'll be over in Champaign quite a bit because the two towns are increasingly an interconnected experience. What I definitely don't like about Urbana is the apparently strict residential segregation according to job description, that is, professional vs. blue collar. Both the "working class" and the yuppies are intolerant of creative, independent people who aren't easily classed as one or the other, perhaps because they must meld attributes of both in their lives, which in my view is partly why our country has become so stilted, conformist, and unimaginative. You'd think members of academia would be more understanding where this issue is concerned but they aren't at all.
In any case, good luck on your move. Perhaps we'll see you there.

Last edited by Rigamarole; 07-11-2010 at 04:58 PM..
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Old 07-14-2010, 03:55 PM
 
1 posts, read 3,150 times
Reputation: 12
I just found this thread and wanted to add a few comments. I have lived in SE Urbana for 10 years and I have the following observations.

*It is very safe. We have never had a single problem. My kids have gone off and left the front door standing open. We were out of town once in the winter and the house-sitter left the garage door open for a day until our neighbor shut it. Nothing has ever been stolen. We ride bikes and walk a lot and the only threatening thing in the ten years was a wild turkey. Honestly.
*Our kids attended the Urbana Public Schools and they are excellent. In fact, Urbana High School (UHS)was recently recognized by U.S. News and World Report for excellence. The schools are very diverse racially, culturally, and economically. UHS offers well over a dozen AP classes (you will not find this in the outlying bedroom communities) and has many Nobel Prize winners as graduates.
*Urbana is a Bicycle Friendly Community recognized by the League of American Cyclists as such.
*Children can walk or bike to their neighborhood schools safely.
*One neighborhood in Urbana was recognized by as being one of the 10 Greatest Neighborhoods in America by the American Planning Association.
*Champaign-Urbana was recognized as one of the Top Ten Places in American for Green Lifestyles by a national publication.
*Both cities have vibrant and diverse downtown's with street festivals and good restaurants.
*Urbana has a fabulous farmer's market with dozens of local farmers. Some local restaurants and farmers have been recognized in Gourmet Magazine.
*Champaign-Urbana is a micro-urban community with a lot to offer. [url=http://www.micro-urbanist.com]CHAMPAIGN-URBANA smart. innovative. micro-urban.[/url]

It is a great place to live, work, play, and raise kids.
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:36 PM
 
1 posts, read 1,772 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoBurbs View Post
Go Illini!

To your question: I am from Chicago, and I do not know NEARLY as much as the fine downstaters on here are telling you. All that I do know, is that Champaign and Urbana are culturally the same. Of course they have separate governments, but you'll find that they are more than just "twin cities," they have become one city. Don't worry, you'll love Illinois.

Oh, and GO ILLINI! Did I already mention that? Good luck!

I disagree on this point... and rather agree with the others who explain that Urbana is more artistic and liberal than Champaign. I grew up in Champaign, but our family had friends who lived in Urbana, and I always wished we'd lived there instead. The two communities are very different--from the outside, they may seem like they're one bigger city, but if you live there, you become aware that there are different cultures and attitudes in each, and they don't really identify with each other entirely! Urbana has older and prettier neighborhoods and streets, in my opinion, and a more laid-back attitude. Champaign is more uptight, has more regulations, and is more conservative in various ways.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:56 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 23,670,517 times
Reputation: 6103
I think somewhere between Nirvana and the 'fiery pits' there is truth. Urbana and Champaign may share a small city called the University of Illinois, but they are not one in the same. Urbana is the County Seat. Champaign is a city in said County. Generally speaking College towns are much different than the political seat of a county. I don't expect it to be terribly different in Urbana and Champaign.

People who work at the University think there is a difference too. When I called the university about housing for a doctoral candidate I was told these candidates are "housed in Urbana away from the Main Campus in a quiet, safe setting."

Time and boots on the ground is the best way to determine whether or not a city, town or village will fit your lifestyle.

Last edited by linicx; 04-04-2012 at 06:52 AM.. Reason: tense was wrong
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:47 PM
 
1,005 posts, read 1,341,152 times
Reputation: 659
Quote:
Originally Posted by linicx View Post
People who work at the University think there is a difference too. When I called the university about housing for a doctoral candidate I was told these candidates are "housed in Urbana away from the Main Campus in a quieter, safer setting.

You have inferred an awful lot from a simple sentence.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Not where you ever lived
11,544 posts, read 23,670,517 times
Reputation: 6103
I stated what I was told.
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Old 06-06-2012, 11:50 PM
 
1 posts, read 1,651 times
Reputation: 10
I lived there for years in champaign and urbana 19 years to be exact my daughter lives in urbana and goes out frequently. She has never been hurt or scared i think judgement comes into play where ever you are. You and your husband have been through a lot to get to this point i know because my son served as well, but he passed on i lost him. So enjoy your life pick a house and let him finish school. You will be fine. Champaign or urbana are not scary so relax like i said judgement is always a plus. Good luck and god bless.
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