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Old 01-15-2014, 04:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minos16 View Post
I've heard it's due to the way zoning laws work in the states, but this concept always confused me.

Why don't more suburbs have a shopping small or store area within? It seems logical to have a central area with good walkability and entertainment. I can understand why somebody wouldn't want a gas station next door but a mini- down town area would be pretty acceptable I think.
In Texas, many of the master planned communities in the suburbs do. An excellent example is in The Woodlands, north of Houston.

Town Center in The Woodlands

It has hotels, restaurants, bars, shopping, water taxis, a huge outdoor concert venue, highrise office buildings, highrise apartment buildings, town-homes, etc, and it's very walkable. You could easily live in this suburb and never need a car (assuming you work in one of the corporations located right there).
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Old 01-15-2014, 07:04 PM
 
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Zoning is usually the reason. You could have a 1000 home subdivision and apartment buildings in a square mile and no stores because it is zoned residential. In some cities there are apartments above stores, which would definitely not be allowed.
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:00 AM
 
Location: Long Island
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I wish there were more of these, especially where I lived. Getting anything developed where I live is hard though. Lots of NIMBY-ism where I live
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Old 01-16-2014, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minos16 View Post
I've heard it's due to the way zoning laws work in the states, but this concept always confused me.

Why don't more suburbs have a shopping small or store area within? It seems logical to have a central area with good walkability and entertainment. I can understand why somebody wouldn't want a gas station next door but a mini- down town area would be pretty acceptable I think.
Can you give an example?

The vast majority of suburbs I have seen, have some type of retail shopping district. Without that they would have no tax base to support the city government. Most shopping malls are located in suburbs. Many suburbs even have their own small Downtown shopping districts.

I don't even know how a major suburb could function without retail. The only exceptions I can think of would be a very upscale suburb, with expensive enough homes to support the city government exclusively with property taxes.
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Old 01-16-2014, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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I have never been to a suburb without a commercial district. Typically in the form of a strip mall or enclosed mall. Or multiples on a main drag. Not sure where that idea came from.

I used to live in a suburb that was really new, so it didn't actually have a an old downtown, so they started to create more "walkable" districts in the past 10-15 years. Well it is more "walkable" but not really. Now they have strip mall type development connected with sidewalks to denser housing. But you still have to traverse acres of parking lots to get to anything. Or the sidewalk face a completely uninteresting rear wall or loading zone of the strip mall. And you need to cross a huge parking lot to get to the other side, so you ponder driving.

The execution was pretty crappy, it is not a pleasant walking experience since most development is still fronted by the parking lot.

A couple of years ago another nearby 'burn redesigned a strip mall. They tried to make it more main street like, but the protesters came out in full force and said they would not allow a development without parking in the front to be built. Now we have another strip mall, right next to the commuter rail/subway, with tons of sidewalk facing parking. (A very popular stop for the nearby college kids to go for essentials or live for cheaper housing in an area with fairly low car ownership for a 'burb).
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Old 01-16-2014, 12:58 PM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
regardless, the parking requirements make it nearly impossible to build an old-style downtown as what used to be the norm.
So? From what I've seen, most "old-style downtowns" aren't prospering enough as shopping areas to indicate that there's enough demand for even a partial return to that style. They've become popular with certain small demographics but most urban downtowns in the US are what they are: central business districts that empty out by 6-7 pm on week days and remain empty on weekends unless there are special events, not commercial shopping areas.

Iceboxes, wringer washers, and typewriters have all gone by the wayside. So have "old-style downtowns".
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Old 01-16-2014, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda_d View Post
So? From what I've seen, most "old-style downtowns" aren't prospering enough as shopping areas to indicate that there's enough demand for even a partial return to that style. They've become popular with certain small demographics but most urban downtowns in the US are what they are: central business districts that empty out by 6-7 pm on week days and remain empty on weekends unless there are special events, not commercial shopping areas.
A central business district is different from a "downtown" as discussed in this thread. What I presume the OP was talking about were areas of 19th century (up to 1920s or so) storefronts with zero setback fronting on streets. While these tend to not be successful in isolated rural areas, or blighted ghettos, any time they're found within suburbs which are already desirable they become a widely used community asset.

CBD shopping (downtown department stores and the like) is dead everywhere, which should be no surprise. Even in cities people don't go downtown to shop anymore - they want to shop in their neighborhoods.
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Old 01-16-2014, 02:11 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
CBD shopping (downtown department stores and the like) is dead everywhere, which should be no surprise. Even in cities people don't go downtown to shop anymore - they want to shop in their neighborhoods.
everywhere? It's certainly not dead in NYC, the largest concentration of shops are in the center city, and they attract lots of people from the area and get the best sales. I thought that was one of the main purposes of a downtown, I find that surprising, though less so after spending time in these forum and reading and exploring other cities. Many smaller American cities have some decent shopping, San Francisco seemed busy, Boston and Chicago have some. Seattle has a good amount of CBD shopping. Go outside the US, and center city shopping is the norm. Most British cities for example have their biggest shopping district in the city center, generally with some pedestrianized streets. Canadian cities usually have some as well.
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Old 01-16-2014, 02:31 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
everywhere? It's certainly not dead in NYC, the largest concentration of shops are in the center city, and they attract lots of people from the area and get the best sales. I thought that was one of the main purposes of a downtown, I find that surprising, though less so after spending time in these forum and reading and exploring other cities. Many smaller American cities have some decent shopping, San Francisco seemed busy, Boston and Chicago have some. Seattle has a good amount of CBD shopping. Go outside the US, and center city shopping is the norm. Most British cities for example have their biggest shopping district in the city center, generally with some pedestrianized streets. Canadian cities usually have some as well.
I was aware it was still going strong in NYC, and so should probably not have said everywhere.

A select number of cities have been able to maintain CBD shopping, but they all tend to have similar characteristics. First, the CBD is an area a lot of tourists go. Second, the shopping tends to tilt dramatically upscale compared to the region at large. The latter may not be too surprising given the staggering rents downtown in many of these cities. It also helps that there are a fair number of residents both downtown and in dense neighborhoods immediately surrounding it.

Still, in general it seems in most cities downtown shopping tends to get crowded out even when downtown is otherwise broadly successful as a live-work-play location. Downtown Pittsburgh has one of the densest downtowns in terms of employment in the country, and a rapidly growing apartment/condo market. But there's very little in the way of businesses opening up but restaurants, and the last downtown department stores are floundering.
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Old 01-16-2014, 02:41 PM
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 eschaton View Post

A select number of cities have been able to maintain CBD shopping, but they all tend to have similar characteristics. First, the CBD is an area a lot of tourists go. Second, the shopping tends to tilt dramatically upscale compared to the region at large. The latter may not be too surprising given the staggering rents downtown in many of these cities. It also helps that there are a fair number of residents both downtown and in dense neighborhoods immediately surrounding it.

Still, in general it seems in most cities downtown shopping tends to get crowded out even when downtown is otherwise broadly successful as a live-work-play location. Downtown Pittsburgh has one of the densest downtowns in terms of employment in the country, and a rapidly growing apartment/condo market. But there's very little in the way of businesses opening up but restaurants, and the last downtown department stores are floundering.
Maybe, generally successful downtowns have plenty of normal shops as well as upscale shops. In any case, weak center city shopping seems to be mainly a USA only pattern. It doesn't really occur elsewhere in the world, so it doesn't make sense to call it a general urban trend, just an American exception (for many, not all American cities).
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