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Old 09-07-2010, 08:56 PM
 
8,325 posts, read 14,060,906 times
Reputation: 4018

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I recently watched a movie entitled "The Next American Dream," a film that showcased recent projects in Kansas City, as well as a general argument that American cities are returning to a more urban mode of life, and cities like Kansas City are leading the way:

The Next American Dream

Since watching the film, I have done a little research and found a lot of similarities between my own city (Sacramento) and Kansas City. Reading some older posts here, I see a very similar kind of civic pride, and some real advocacy for repair of the urban fabric, but also some trepidation on how to go about it--and how to unravel problems like schools, transportation and the ongoing economic crisis.

But I wonder--have any of you seen the film, and what do you think of it? Does it show a balanced and accurate picture of Kansas City's downtown? Have the Sprint Center, Kansas City Power & Light, Kauffman Center and other projects made a difference in downtown living?

I also had some questions about aspects of urbanism that weren't given much time in the film:

How is public transit in Kansas City?

Is historic preservation, and adaptive reuse of historic buildings, a priority in Kansas City, or are old buildings seen as obstacles to progress?

Have many people moved into housing downtown, or do they mostly drive in from the suburbs to visit? Is there housing for people to buy, or has the supply of urban housing not appeared?

How has the economic downturn affected development in downtown Kansas City since the film was made (in 2005, the apex of the housing bubble)?

Are there neighborhoods near the city center that have done better traditionally than the urban core? What are they like?

Thanks for your time and responses.
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:45 AM
 
Location: Old Hyde Park, Kansas City,MO
1,145 posts, read 1,998,962 times
Reputation: 562
Thanks for sharing this, i will have to watch this since I mainly only watch PBS nowadays since cutting cable a couple months ago. KCMO will be able to answer this a little better for you but I just wanted to answer some of your questions

The projects you have mentioned really has done nice things for downtown KC and I think it's been on an upswing but it's skating on thin ice i believe. If major companies like AMC, KC Southern, UMB and Commerce all left downtown for somewhere else in the metro the downtown could be on a brink of disaster.

I believe downtown living is on a major upswing but certain factors could swing it back down like crime and companies leaving.
One major thing i have noticed near downtown is restaurants have been holding its ground in places like P&L and the Crossroads Art district next to downtown and even new restaurants opening in these areas.

Public Transit is awful in this town, might be the worst in the nation, thus it makes the region really disconnected and basically makes the region 4 serperate metro areas. The KC school district is a major joke and the thing setting KC back into almost Detroit status.

I think we see more younger people moving into downtown and surrounding areas but once again certain factors could easily force them out. It seems like most people who live in downtown are from other places like Chicago/St Louis/Twin Cities. Most people who grew up in rural towns outside KC tend to live in the suburbs.

Neighborhoods near the City Center have done alright. You could also claim that KC has 3 city centers, downtown, Crown Center (home to Hallmark and major law firms) and the Plaza (Upscale shopping, law firms and major finance/insurance companies. The eastside of downtown is still fairly rough but new housing projects are suppose to infuse the area but i doubt they ever get built. The West Bottoms area is seeing a new revival because all the artists are now setting up shop here. The Westside Neighborhood is the closest neighborhood with single family homes to downtown and it's one of the hidden gems of KC with great little restaurants, and a walkable neighborhood with great views. The Crossroads (Former artist enclave) and River Market is mainly inhabitated by Yuppies with disposable income but have no clue what is happening a 2 miles east which is usually a violent crime.

Historic preservation I would give it a grade of a C. Some bulidings have been restored like the Western Auto Building into nice lofts, but some hisotic buildings like the Cosby Hotel is about to be destroyed. These really cool Hotel Type apartments in the cities Midtown was a thing of luxury 100 years ago but now they have been turned into Section 8 housing and has caused major increases in crime, they are our Caprini Greens. These buildings are so cool looking, they should be in cities like DC or New York. I wish i had a picture to show you. The Midtown Area is really holidng back the Urban Core/City Centers from being a fluid network of neighborhoods for a 6-7 mile n/s to 2-3 e/w strech.

I don't think the econmy has effected downtown all that much because we are see proactive and progressive young business people doing great things downtown. All the cities best resaurants/bars/clubs are located near the 3 city centers but this really only caters to single, young professionals and empty nesters. Things that would make it even better would be nice major hotel like a Sheraton or Botique and a full time professional NBA, or NHL team. The school district also holds KC back big time from regular families wanting to live in the city.

I live near downtown/ crown center and can see the skyline from my apartment. I have lived in the same neighborhood 3 years, love the area and plan to be here a long time.

Hope this helps
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:20 AM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
448 posts, read 1,224,427 times
Reputation: 81
I created a thread about this movie a while back. I will try to find it.
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Old 09-09-2010, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
448 posts, read 1,224,427 times
Reputation: 81
Here you go. I don't think too many responded, but I thought it was a wonderful movie, very reprentative of Kansas City and Kansas City's progress over the last 10-15 years. I can remember when I was a child growing up in KC 30-20 years ago the trend was to tear everything down and build parking lots, however the trend to keep and restore the old is definetely on an upswing. I recently went to Charlotte, a city with a very rich history, but I was saddened to see most of the older buildings had been torn down. Kansas City did tear down, but they did manage to change that before we lost too much, most of the city still maintains alot of it's original architecture, enough to get a feel for the cities history as you drive through town.

Show about Kansas City - The Next American Dream
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Old 09-09-2010, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
Reputation: 5409
wburg, it will take me some time to reply to this thread with a comprehensive response, but I will.
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Old 09-09-2010, 01:31 PM
 
1,662 posts, read 3,908,651 times
Reputation: 536
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmo View Post
wburg, it will take me some time to reply to this thread with a comprehensive response, but I will.
Let me just save us both some time and disagree with you now!
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Old 09-09-2010, 06:37 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 22,496,291 times
Reputation: 10428
Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
I recently watched a movie entitled "The Next American Dream," a film that showcased recent projects in Kansas City, as well as a general argument that American cities are returning to a more urban mode of life, and cities like Kansas City are leading the way:

The Next American Dream

Since watching the film, I have done a little research and found a lot of similarities between my own city (Sacramento) and Kansas City. Reading some older posts here, I see a very similar kind of civic pride, and some real advocacy for repair of the urban fabric, but also some trepidation on how to go about it--and how to unravel problems like schools, transportation and the ongoing economic crisis.

But I wonder--have any of you seen the film, and what do you think of it? Does it show a balanced and accurate picture of Kansas City's downtown? Have the Sprint Center, Kansas City Power & Light, Kauffman Center and other projects made a difference in downtown living?

I also had some questions about aspects of urbanism that weren't given much time in the film:

How is public transit in Kansas City?

Is historic preservation, and adaptive reuse of historic buildings, a priority in Kansas City, or are old buildings seen as obstacles to progress?

Have many people moved into housing downtown, or do they mostly drive in from the suburbs to visit? Is there housing for people to buy, or has the supply of urban housing not appeared?

How has the economic downturn affected development in downtown Kansas City since the film was made (in 2005, the apex of the housing bubble)?

Are there neighborhoods near the city center that have done better traditionally than the urban core? What are they like?

Thanks for your time and responses.
Who made THAT movie? KC returning to a more urban mode of life? HA! That's funny. Sure, the P&L District is a start, as well as the PAC and Sprint Center, but still, not many people live in or near downtown. People in the metro area as a whole don't/won't use what public transit exists, and while Midtown to the Plaza is a nice, rather urban area, it's small compared to what comparable cities offer. I think the metro area as a whole is quite anti-urban, associating it with high crime and bad schools. I think if you like suburbs and cheaper home prices, KC could be a dream.

But as for returning to an urban way of life, the Denver metro area would offer a much better example. A city that's building light rail throughout the metro area, has built thousands of high and mid-rise condos near and in downtown in recent years, re-zoned areas for high density urban development, built more infill projects within the city of Denver than I could count... now that's a return to urban living.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:21 PM
 
805 posts, read 1,742,527 times
Reputation: 381
Urban living....ugh. Caged chickens live in the ultimate 'urban' environment--wire cages stacked on top of one another.

No thanks.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:42 PM
 
3,326 posts, read 7,522,007 times
Reputation: 1957
I don't know the exact numbers, but based on observation, it seems like downtown KC has tripled the number of living units in the last six years. Thousands of people have moved there in the last ten years.
It's not for everyone, but many of those who do it really seem to like it.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:53 PM
 
Location: IN
20,168 posts, read 34,480,827 times
Reputation: 12508
Quote:
Originally Posted by cp1969 View Post
Urban living....ugh. Caged chickens live in the ultimate 'urban' environment--wire cages stacked on top of one another.

No thanks.
Apparently you haven't seen the urban offerings of Denver
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