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Old 06-28-2014, 08:58 PM
 
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What are some urban suburbs of Philly, with walkable downtown areas and high rise buildings? I drove through Conshohocken the other day and I loved what I saw. Seemed very urban, yet was a suburb. Any other towns outside of Philly have this real urban feel, with tall buildings and walkable areas? Name me the best please!
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Old 06-28-2014, 09:31 PM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
4,582 posts, read 7,677,868 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gottaq View Post
What are some urban suburbs of Philly, with walkable downtown areas and high rise buildings? I drove through Conshohocken the other day and I loved what I saw. Seemed very urban, yet was a suburb. Any other towns outside of Philly have this real urban feel, with tall buildings and walkable areas? Name me the best please!
High-rises are fairly rare in the Philly suburbs (particularly compared to other major urban areas -- a result of strict NIMBYism and zoning) but the region definitely has its fair share of pretty dense, urban "nodes" outside of the city.

Other than Conshohocken, here is a list (not comprehensive) of other relatively urban suburbs (although some are more blighted than others and not all have high-rises):

Inner-suburbs - PA

- Upper Darby
- Norristown/Bridgeport
- Bala Cynwyd
- Chester
- Yeadon
- Lansdowne
- Media
- Jenkintown
- Ambler
- Ardmore
- Narberth
- Bryn Mawr
- Wayne
- Glenside
- Lansdale
- Swarthmore
- North Wales
- Bristol

Inner-suburbs - NJ

- Collingswood
- Haddonfield
- Moorestown

Outer-suburbs - PA

- Malvern
- Newtown
- West Chester
- Downingtown
- Pottstown
- Doylestown
- Phoenixville
- Kennett Square
- Oxford
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Old 06-28-2014, 11:05 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
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Honestly not sure how "urban" Narberth is but it is a sweet little place, I think.
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Old 06-28-2014, 11:10 PM
 
Location: Montco PA
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This is probably the 5th time I've posted this on CD but I'm happy to do it again. Most of these places are not "urban" but are "towns."

Classic Towns of Greater Philadelphia
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Old 06-29-2014, 01:39 AM
 
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
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Although Kennett Square has a "walkable downtown" of a few blocks, everyone I know who lives in the borough or nearby would be APPALLED to be labeled "urban."
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Old 06-29-2014, 01:51 AM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
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Originally Posted by Pocopsonite View Post
Although Kennett Square has a "walkable downtown" of a few blocks, everyone I know who lives in the borough or nearby would be APPALLED to be labeled "urban."
Let's not get too hung-up on terminology, here. There's nothing to be "appalled" about -- the fact of the matter is Kennett Square is a borough and thus is considered an "urban center" or "node" in a geographical context. Urbanity is on a spectrum.

Obviously no one is confusing a suburban downtown like Kennett Square with Center City, but its development pattern is such that there is a clear delineation of significantly higher residential/commercial density compared to its surrounding townships. Such is the case for essentially any borough.
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Old 06-29-2014, 01:54 AM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
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Originally Posted by Cnote11 View Post
Honestly not sure how "urban" Narberth is but it is a sweet little place, I think.
Please see my above explanation about Kennett Square. Narberth, as well, has a level of residential/commercial density that would definitely put it into an "urban center" category -- albeit on the smaller side.
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Old 06-29-2014, 04:13 PM
 
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West Chester, Doylestown, and Media would be my top three.
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Old 06-29-2014, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
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Originally Posted by Duderino View Post
Please see my above explanation about Kennett Square. Narberth, as well, has a level of residential/commercial density that would definitely put it into an "urban center" category -- albeit on the smaller side.
Yes, on the MUCH smaller side. I'm using urban partially as defined by the author of the thread, and it doesn't really fit that entirely. It isn't quite the same as a Media, I'd say. My parents currently live in a town where most of the business is on a strip, but it would be really silly to label it an "urban center" whatsoever, seeing as there isn't anything beyond that for miles. A single strip certainly does not make an "urban center" even in a small district in my opinion, so I would not say that Narberth really qualifies. I've lived in Scotland and I'd call many of those royal burghs and what not clustered ("urban centers"), so it isn't like I'm opposed to what you're saying, but I still don't think Narberth fits the description.
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Old 06-29-2014, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cnote11 View Post
Yes, on the MUCH smaller side. I'm using urban partially as defined by the author of the thread, and it doesn't really fit that entirely. It isn't quite the same as a Media, I'd say. My parents currently live in a town where most of the business is on a strip, but it would be really silly to label it an "urban center" whatsoever, seeing as there isn't anything beyond that for miles. A single strip certainly does not make an "urban center" even in a small district in my opinion, so I would not say that Narberth really qualifies. I've lived in Scotland and I'd call many of those royal burghs and what not clustered ("urban centers"), so it isn't like I'm opposed to what you're saying, but I still don't think Narberth fits the description.
I understand your point. I think it's also that, in the Philly area at least, the basis for comparison is different, as Philadelphia is pretty high on the urban scale that practically any suburb will seem the furthest thing from urban.

However, I'm only speaking from the perspective of neighborhoods/towns that have cohesive walkability, on a grid system, and have some sort of main street/business district (even if it's only a couple of blocks long).

I know -- that's a low bar as far as "urban" is concerned, but we're talking about the suburbs here, and Narberth, like many inner-suburbs, represents a more compact, densely-settled form than a township comprised of only McMansions on 1+ acre lots and a few strip malls/office parks.
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