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View Poll Results: What is Kansas City?
Midwestern 94 61.44%
Transitional from Midwest to West 53 34.64%
Western 6 3.92%
Voters: 153. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-09-2017, 08:22 AM
 
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Every native I knew in the time I lived there considered Kansas City Midwestern. Visitors and transplants were more likely to consider it Western, or at least acknowledge a Western "feel". I must agree that, in comparison to what I'd say the typical feel is of Midwestern cities, Kansas City seems to me to be closer to the Western thing.

Maybe it boils down to people, pace, and topography. Compared to say, St. Louis (a much-less disputed Midwestern city), the people in Kansas City seem to generally have a more casual vibe about them, and the pace or energy in KC might be about as gentle as a major city can get. Also, topographically, the Missouri/Eastern side of the metro is actually quite hilly, but the Kansas/Western side begins to flatten out rather quickly -- so there really is a transition going on.

Maybe being on the border of two states in arguably different regions contributes to the somewhat schizophrenic presentation: Kansas seems to be considered more Western(?) while Missouri is Midwestern (although it's often thrown into a pile with its adjoining Southern brother Arkansas).

Bottom line is Kansas City is Midwestern, but it's about as Western as a Midwestern city can get both geographically and culturally. So at the risk of having my KC-Native card revoked, I'm going to vote for Transitional.
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Old 07-09-2017, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Peoria, AZ
941 posts, read 1,004,906 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dallasgoldrush View Post
Every native I knew in the time I lived there considered Kansas City Midwestern. Visitors and transplants were more likely to consider it Western, or at least acknowledge a Western "feel". I must agree that, in comparison to what I'd say the typical feel is of Midwestern cities, Kansas City seems to me to be closer to the Western thing.

Maybe it boils down to people, pace, and topography. Compared to say, St. Louis (a much-less disputed Midwestern city), the people in Kansas City seem to generally have a more casual vibe about them, and the pace or energy in KC might be about as gentle as a major city can get. Also, topographically, the Missouri/Eastern side of the metro is actually quite hilly, but the Kansas/Western side begins to flatten out rather quickly -- so there really is a transition going on.

Maybe being on the border of two states in arguably different regions contributes to the somewhat schizophrenic presentation: Kansas seems to be considered more Western(?) while Missouri is Midwestern (although it's often thrown into a pile with its adjoining Southern brother Arkansas).

Bottom line is Kansas City is Midwestern, but it's about as Western as a Midwestern city can get both geographically and culturally. So at the risk of having my KC-Native card revoked, I'm going to vote for Transitional.
The Missouri side looks like Cincinnati and its Ohio suburbs. The Kansas side looks like the Denver suburbs.

Denver is definitely a Western city. Cincinnati is an Eastern Midwestern city.
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Old 07-09-2017, 09:40 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dallasgoldrush View Post

Bottom line is Kansas City is Midwestern, but it's about as Western as a Midwestern city can get both geographically and culturally. So at the risk of having my KC-Native card revoked, I'm going to vote for Transitional.
I'll back your observations, says this expat native who usually explains to the benighted around him that "St. Louis is the last great city of the East and Kansas City the first great city of the West."

Of course, there's some blurring of the lines: Kansas City had the notorious political machine, a thing generally associated with big Eastern cities and not at all with Western ones, and it had a jazz scene thanks to it, something that didn't really come to California (skipping over everything in between) until the 1950s.

St. Louis, meanwhile, keeps (culturally) appropriating the trappings of westward expansion more properly associated with Kansas City and next-door Independence, if only symbolically (that big croquet wicket on the Mississippi riverbank being the most prominent symbolic appropriation).
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Old 07-09-2017, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
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You guys are all right! It's mostly midwestern, but has some western traits along with a hint of southern influence. But I would say it's 80-90% midwestern.

I would add that I think KC has become more western as it evolved from a very urban city to today's more regional metro which sprawls deep into Kansas where the topography and amount of open land (even if it's just the amount of grass around office parks and roadway right of ways) changes rapidly from the rest of metro KC. The parts of metro KC that feel western (southern JoCo etc) did not even exist 50 years ago.

I mean the city once had one of the country's most robust and comprehensive transit systems and now it has one of the country's largest freeway systems and one of the smallest transit systems (for the size of the metro). Then again, western cities like Denver, Salt Lake City and even Phoenix have blown past KC when it comes to transit. So I think KC's western influence is mostly some of the suburban built environment (wide arterial streets etc), but much of KC is still stuck in the 1980's and 1990's, including its western influence. You drive around new parts of JoCo and it's liking driving around suburban Denver in 1990. If that makes any sense haha.
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Old 07-09-2017, 10:37 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
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Originally Posted by Ztonyg View Post

Denver is definitely a Western city. Cincinnati is an Eastern Midwestern city.
Worth repeating, that add-on describing Cincinnati.

There are definitely two Midwests, and Chicago, the overall region's premier metropolis, is the pivot point between them.

The "eastern" Midwest consists of the states formed out of the old Northwest Territory: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin. These states are either heavily industrialized (Michigan, Ohio) or have significant concentrations of industry that dominate their statewide economies (the other three, though to a lesser extent in Wisconsin, where the state's rep comes as much from its dairy farms as from its steel mills, auto assembly plants and breweries).

The rest of the Midwest was carved out of the Louisiana Purchase and makes up the larger part of the territory that goes by that name geographically. Most of the states in it - Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Dakota - have economies in which agriculture plays either a dominant or a significant role (even though Missouri is also quite industrialized, Kansas has a non-trivial industrial sector, and the extractive industries play large roles in Kansas, the Dakotas and Minnesota (and maybe once did in Missouri)).

For shorthand, we can call these the "industrial" and "agrarian" Midwest.

Kansas City, despite its significant industry, is part of the latter.
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Old 07-09-2017, 11:17 AM
 
Location: IN
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Originally Posted by Ztonyg View Post
The Missouri side looks like Cincinnati and its Ohio suburbs. The Kansas side looks like the Denver suburbs.

Denver is definitely a Western city. Cincinnati is an Eastern Midwestern city.
JOCO has wide variability in terms of built environment "feel" or "flavor." Many of the building materials used for residential construction often look completely out of place for the geographical region that it is in. I think that has to do with the collision of different geographical influences. Outside of I-435, the built environment certainly takes on a "Sunbelt" feel for some reason, whereas if you contrast the residential built environment of Leawood north of I-435 with areas of eastern Olathe south of Santa Fe Pkwy- they have next to nothing in common at all. I think residential houses with stucco exteriors look out of place in a wet climate, and many of those materials are not applied correctly. Contrast the residential built environment of KC to Indy and the differences become even more stark. KC doesn't build all brick properties anymore, whereas you find plenty in Indy- could be a regional variation, but interesting.
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Old 07-09-2017, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Alamogordo, NM
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For shorthand, we can call these the "industrial" and "agrarian" Midwest.

Kansas City, despite its significant industry, is part of the latter.


Oh yeah...we took our son to the River Market today. In one of the restroom areas were informational material on the walls in the lobby. I read two of them - they're fairly extensive. After reading the one on the River Market area and the blasting of the granite rising up from the river, platting of the first streets, etc., I would agree that Kansas City's history explains itself as "agrarian". The grains and the cattle, the cattle and the grains. Processing and slaughter. Busy as can be down there.

And then the prostitution and gambling surrounding the River Market area, and the mafia. I will continue to soak up information while we're still here. We may or may not be staying here. I'd love to stay - my career may take us somewhere else. Kansas City has a lot to keep you busy, and it's history will keep me going for quite a while.

We haven't been to Union Station or a museum yet, for instance!
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Old 07-10-2017, 02:50 PM
 
Location: The State Of California
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Originally Posted by EddieOlSkool View Post
I have heard it said by people around the Eastern edge of the Midwest and the Southeast that Kansas City has more of a Western vibe than Midwestern. I find this an odd notion considering Kansas City is almost right in the middle of everything, with influences from all directions thus making it a TRUE Midwest city (I mean you're practically as far from the Atlantic and the Pacific).

For me, the transition to the West begins in the Great Plains. Not in Kansas City or even anywhere in Missouri. We can say places like Rapid City are transitional Midwest to West cities but KC to me is the Midwest and as Midwest as it gets.



Both the cities of Kansas City and St Louis Missouri seems to have a Midwestern /Southern/Southwestern type of vibe to me definitely not a ( Western Vibe ).
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Old 07-10-2017, 06:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Howest2008 View Post
Both the cities of Kansas City and St Louis Missouri seems to have a Midwestern /Southern/Southwestern type of vibe to me definitely not a ( Western Vibe ).
St. Louis is Southwestern??? News to me. Explain yourself.
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Old 07-10-2017, 06:57 PM
 
1,387 posts, read 716,971 times
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Originally Posted by kcmo View Post
You guys are all right! It's mostly midwestern, but has some western traits along with a hint of southern influence. But I would say it's 80-90% midwestern.

I would add that I think KC has become more western as it evolved from a very urban city to today's more regional metro which sprawls deep into Kansas where the topography and amount of open land (even if it's just the amount of grass around office parks and roadway right of ways) changes rapidly from the rest of metro KC. The parts of metro KC that feel western (southern JoCo etc) did not even exist 50 years ago.

I mean the city once had one of the country's most robust and comprehensive transit systems and now it has one of the country's largest freeway systems and one of the smallest transit systems (for the size of the metro). Then again, western cities like Denver, Salt Lake City and even Phoenix have blown past KC when it comes to transit. So I think KC's western influence is mostly some of the suburban built environment (wide arterial streets etc), but much of KC is still stuck in the 1980's and 1990's, including its western influence. You drive around new parts of JoCo and it's liking driving around suburban Denver in 1990. If that makes any sense haha.
Also, not too far from KC is Little Dixie. Places like Lexington still have noticeable southern influences in it and south of Kansas City is also the beginning of the transition zone the mix of Midwestern and south. once you get to Joplin then it becomes pretty much all southern.

Missouri is a border state. It has parts that are Midwestern, southern, and a mix of Midwestern and southern like southern IN and southern IL.

50 percent is Midwestern, 25 percent a mix, and 25 percent fully southern. MO feels different that the other Midwestern states though. The southern dialect map covers a quarter of Missouri, southern Baptist are also large in presence too in many areas. These are traits not seen in the Midwest. Overall it leans Midwestern in modern times though but the state has a lot of southern influences overall. Politically it behaves more southern. It's abortion laws are very southern and radical, and gun laws are actually better than the southern states.
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