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Old 07-19-2012, 08:37 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Even compared to Australian cities (maybe Canadian cities too), not just European or Asian cities. In Australian cities, the downtown area has pedestrian malls which are always full of people shopping, many restaurants, chain stores, often several inner city malls.etc, and it's often packed with shoppers. In contrast, many US cities seemed pretty devoid of much shopping at all! Indeed many seemed to lack even a supermarket! I'm talking prominent cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston...even Boston, or DC didn't seem to have as many shops in the inner area as I thought.

Would you say it's an example of a lack of planning policy? In Australian, metropolitan planning policies dedicate a certain amount of shopping floorspace to the CBD as the 'primary node', I'm guessing cities like Houston and LA have no such regulations...sure, we have vast suburban malls and strip shopping, but it just seems US downtown cores are much less vibrant, especially when it comes to shopping, with obvious exceptions like NY, perhaps SF and Manhattan.
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:09 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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I don't think American metros anywhere have such planning policies have such a policy. Also, Australia metros are administered mostly on a metro-wide basis (I think) while American cities are divided between a center city(s) municipality and suburban municipalities, so a regional policy is much more difficult.
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
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If I'm not mistaking the BIGGEST reason why American downtowns are so void of anything is because very little people live within the area. Retail needs a certain amount of people living in that location to be successful. It cracks me up when American cities want to revive their downtowns, but do it the wrong way. It's like trying to bring a mall to a small rural town.

It's amazing how american city planners/leaders are so uneducated with how businesses work. Commerce follows where the people go. If you fill in all the empty lots with affordable apartments people will move in, and so will commerce.
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:35 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyurban View Post
If I'm not mistaking the BIGGEST reason why American downtowns are so void of anything is because very little people live within the area. Retail needs a certain amount of people living in that location to be successful. It cracks me up when American cities want to revive their downtowns, but do it the wrong way. It's like trying to bring a mall to a small rural town.

It's amazing how american city planners/leaders are so uneducated with how businesses work. Commerce follows where the people go. If you fill in all the empty lots with affordable apartments people will move in, and so will commerce.
Well even in the 90s when our inner cities had low population densities it seemed there was more shopping than American cities today, but now the inner cities are booming and are as busy as ever. Apartment blocks are sprouting up, there's more supply than demand it seems. The whole 'inner city lifestyle' is really being pushed. Once upon a time the city would be dead at 6 pm, now every weeknight it's actually pretty active.
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:39 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Well even in the 90s when our inner cities had low population densities it seemed there was more shopping than American cities today, but now the inner cities are booming and are as busy as ever. Apartment blocks are sprouting up, there's more supply than demand it seems. The whole 'inner city lifestyle' is really being pushed. Once upon a time the city would be dead at 6 pm, now every weeknight it's actually pretty active.
I suspect even if you compared American and Australian cities with similar inner city populations / densities, American cities would still have weaker downtowns. Sure, have people right in downtown helps, because those people are still too small to support lots of shopping. For some living 4-5 miles away from downtown, does he go to downtown or the suburban-style strip or mall that's also a few miles drive (or transit ride)?
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Tempe, AZ
181 posts, read 423,806 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Well even in the 90s when our inner cities had low population densities it seemed there was more shopping than American cities today, but now the inner cities are booming and are as busy as ever. Apartment blocks are sprouting up, there's more supply than demand it seems. The whole 'inner city lifestyle' is really being pushed. Once upon a time the city would be dead at 6 pm, now every weeknight it's actually pretty active.
Not quite. I think you should do a little research. The suburbs are still outgrowing the inner cities. A couple hundred might move back to the city, however, the suburbs is still the big man on campus. It's going to take more than a few condos and a starbucks and the occasional "first friday" to get the inner cities booming again. Especially for the sunbelt cities.

A few key cities might be doing better, however, for cities like Phoenix, AZ with a population of over a million, downtown is not the place to be. The downtown along with the outlying areas will have to grow by the tens of thousands for retail to become abundant.
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:54 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Originally Posted by tonyurban View Post
Not quite. I think you should do a little research. The suburbs are still outgrowing the inner cities. A couple hundred might move back to the city, however, the suburbs is still the big man on campus. It's going to take more than a few condos and a starbucks and the occasional "first friday" to get the inner cities booming again. Especially for the sunbelt cities.
Poster was referring to Australia not the US.
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Old 07-19-2012, 11:09 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
I suspect even if you compared American and Australian cities with similar inner city populations / densities, American cities would still have weaker downtowns. Sure, have people right in downtown helps, because those people are still too small to support lots of shopping. For some living 4-5 miles away from downtown, does he go to downtown or the suburban-style strip or mall that's also a few miles drive (or transit ride)?
A lot of Aussies still like to go into the city for shopping, dining, entertainment.etc. The nightlife is still concentrated in the inner city areas, with a few nodes in some of the smaller metropolitan cities and inner 'suburbs.' Someone living 5 miles out is more likely to do his regular shopping in the suburbs but someone 14 km like myself still goes into the city at least once a month.

Sydney's metro is comparable to Phoenix and it probably blows it away for shopping options. Boston, with the same metro as Sydney, seemed to have as many shops as Perth, with 1.7 million.
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Old 07-19-2012, 11:15 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
A lot of Aussies still like to go into the city for shopping, dining, entertainment.etc. The nightlife is still concentrated in the inner city areas, with a few nodes in some of the smaller metropolitan cities and inner 'suburbs.' Someone living 5 miles out is more likely to do his regular shopping in the suburbs but someone 14 km like myself still goes into the city at least once a month.

Sydney's metro is comparable to Phoenix and it probably blows it away for shopping options. Boston, with the same metro as Sydney, seemed to have as many shops as Perth, with 1.7 million.
You'd have to look at population density as well as metro population. Boston doesn't really feel like a metro of 4 million, or at least a city of 4 million. It's a metro with two parts: an old compact, fairly dense urban part which includes the city of Boston proper as well as adjacent cities and towns containing maybe 1.5 million. And a remaining 2.5 million people living often far from the city center living in a mix of large lot homes in communities that appear semi-rural and some old small towns.
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Old 07-19-2012, 11:32 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
You'd have to look at population density as well as metro population. Boston doesn't really feel like a metro of 4 million, or at least a city of 4 million. It's a metro with two parts: an old compact, fairly dense urban part which includes the city of Boston proper as well as adjacent cities and towns containing maybe 1.5 million. And a remaining 2.5 million people living often far from the city center living in a mix of large lot homes in communities that appear semi-rural and some old small towns.
Well morphologically if you look at the whole metro area Australian cities match American cities pretty well: in terms of density, car usage.etc they are very similar, there is no other country as dominated by suburbs as the US as Australia. The majority of the 'urban' population live in the suburbs, often 20 or 30 km from the CBD. Sydney is no different from Boston in that respect, with the majority living in the middle and outer suburbs. Sydney does have some fairly dense inner areas though. Australian cities and Canadian cities have downtowns closer to Asian and European cities. Only a few American cities can match that. I knew American cities were low density but I didn't expect the downtowns to be THAT lifeless.
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