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Old 12-21-2012, 01:17 PM
 
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Big differences between what is being built by developers and the "current thinking" of folks on the academic or government side of "planning".

There are some developers that may even agree with the thinking / underlying assumptions of developing less automotive oriented alternatives to the kinds of "housing over here and shopping way over across the other side of town" that were hallmarks of many post WWII suburbs BUT the glut of retail space that is largely NOT being absorbed as more people spend more time / money online is NOT conducive to creating more "mixed use" space...

From the standpoint of even very affluent areas there is not enough reward in opening new space designed to either a "old style suburb" or a "new style" suburb when there is so much un-absorbed retail space sitting vacant.
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Old 12-21-2012, 11:17 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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The most fun parts of commercial streets/districts don't have much online competition though. I'm thinking of restaurants, bars, ice cream shops... and stuff you want to see for yourself, like art or flowers, or try on (shoes, clothes, etc). With groceries too, I would say it's often preferable to buy them in person.

Last edited by memph; 12-21-2012 at 11:31 PM..
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Old 12-22-2012, 07:46 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
The most fun parts of commercial streets/districts don't have much online competition though. I'm thinking of restaurants, bars, ice cream shops... and stuff you want to see for yourself, like art or flowers, or try on (shoes, clothes, etc). With groceries too, I would say it's often preferable to buy them in person.
Well, I personally agree with you, but many people buy lots of that stuff online. We, in fact, just ordered some flowers online last night for my mother-in-law who lives out of town.
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Well, I personally agree with you, but many people buy lots of that stuff online. We, in fact, just ordered some flowers online last night for my mother-in-law who lives out of town.
So you bought the flowers online so that they would get delivered to her because you wouldn't be able to give them to her in person? I guess that's a scenario where certain things might be purchased online, but you likely just wouldn't have given flowers if you couldn't have bought them online then, no? If so, it's not really cutting into the sales of the in-town florist(s).
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Old 12-22-2012, 10:50 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
So you bought the flowers online so that they would get delivered to her because you wouldn't be able to give them to her in person? I guess that's a scenario where certain things might be purchased online, but you likely just wouldn't have given flowers if you couldn't have bought them online then, no? If so, it's not really cutting into the sales of the in-town florist(s).
Correct. We live in metro Denver and the MIL lives in Omaha, NE. She's 93 years old, lives in a tiny senior apt, so we felt this would be a nice Christmas gift for her.
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:30 AM
 
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The "traditional" (maybe 1950-1980) view of an American suburb is that it's a sprawling, centerless place, primarily inhabited by middle-upper middle class White people. This is all changing. Many suburbs have been working to develop town centers, particularly around rail/transit stations, with greater or lesser degrees of success. Most pre World War 2 suburbs already had one, those towns are often now working to revive them. Though more poor people still live in cities, the percentage of the poor in suburbs is going up greatly. That's not usually within the same town, though sometimes it is. And there's been an enormous movement of Asians, Latinos, and to a lesser extent Blacks into the suburbs. Some suburbs have emerged as employment centers.

Central cities are still different, but I've found it harder and harder to figure out what a suburb is.
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Old 12-22-2012, 11:35 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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The posters on the Long Island forum either think they're same or desperately wish they could be. As to developing suburban town centers, maybe they're more common elsewhere, but most of what I've seen is old ones (pre-1940 or so) that later development surrounded. Some declined and have got revived. Others are about the same as they've always been, though the type of shops have changed (often towards "fun" stores).
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Old 12-22-2012, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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I think the newer (1940-1980) areas of Toronto proper probably have the most poverty in the metro area, possibly in Montreal too. In Toronto, they're also the most ethnic, considerably more so than the largely gentrified core. The ring of suburbs outside Toronto's city limits like Markham, Brampton, Mississauga and maybe even Richmond Hill and Vaughan are also more non-white than the core.

I'm also not sure if town centres of suburban Toronto ever really went downhill. In my parents' suburb, the main town centre has quite a few buildings that look like they're from post-WWII but before the period of urban revival of the last decade or two. In a couple cases, older villages that consisted of just a couple shops and some houses became more significant destinations, with the old houses being converted to commercial uses. Often, the businesses are not quite the same as in a traditional town centre, with mostly a lot of restaurants and art galleries, but some town centres, especially the larger ones will have a more complete assortment of businesses.
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:56 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Some of Denver's suburbs have downtowns, and some don't. All the burbs with downtowns are older, but not all the older burbs have downtowns.
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Old 12-24-2012, 06:00 PM
 
Location: South Carolina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Big differences between what is being built by developers and the "current thinking" of folks on the academic or government side of "planning".

There are some developers that may even agree with the thinking / underlying assumptions of developing less automotive oriented alternatives to the kinds of "housing over here and shopping way over across the other side of town" that were hallmarks of many post WWII suburbs BUT the glut of retail space that is largely NOT being absorbed as more people spend more time / money online is NOT conducive to creating more "mixed use" space...
My belief is moreso centered around suburbs at least having pedestrian/biking paths linking the residential to some "small shop" retail like coffee shops, etc. than to link it to shopping centers and malls. Having said that, where suburbs DO link all that (like Belmar in Denver, CO for example) on a town center model, that is preferable, but even when you DO have to drive to do grocery shopping, when you have a few nice little shops like ice cream shops or small restaurants/cafes/bistros, neighborhood parks, etc. with sidewalks and off road bike trails connecting them to homes, that is sufficient to satisfy me. It's certainly a vast improvement over the typical suburban neighborhood where you have to drive to everything, including parks and little shops.

I do not think the issue which you mention should be an impediment to building those new urbanist types of neighborhoods, ones where you might drive to places where you'd buy 3 or more bags worth of "stuff" but walk to places where you'd leave with no bags to 2 bags. Starbucks and Cold Stone Creamery and "Francois' Bakery and Sandwich Shoppe" aren't being killed by online retail and likely don't even really seek from the glut of empty retail space in strip malls.

Less automotive oriented CAN mean where you'd typically drive to 10 things in the typical suburban neighborhood, the new urbanist suburban neighborhood lets you walk/bike to 4-6 of them, as opposed to struggle trying to find ways to let you walk to all 10. I LOVE a neighborhood like Stapleton in Denver even before it had the neighborhood grocer and even if it didn't have the WalMart next to it.
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