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Old 05-10-2014, 10:53 AM
 
Location: North Baltimore ----> Seattle
6,473 posts, read 11,105,609 times
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^ Columbia md is kind of how you describe, hazel
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:57 AM
 
2,684 posts, read 2,929,662 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
^ Columbia md is kind of how you describe, hazel
Maybe I should go there. I once visited Baltimore and the picture stays in my memory of a long row of white stoops.
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Old 05-10-2014, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,436 posts, read 11,933,106 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Do you have any examples of this? And to accuse people of actively, deliberately "killing" downtowns, as in, let's get rid of these downtown shopping areas, is quite a stretch.
I can think of a few major examples in Pittsburgh history which had stunningly awful effects on the city.

1. The construction of Civic Arena and demolition of the Lower Hill
2. The demolition of old Allegheny City
3. The Penn Circle debacle in East Liberty

The first example killed off the densest residential neighborhood in the city, which was right next to downtown. The second two were major retail centers for the city, and in an attempt to modernize and compete with malls, were entirely (in the case of the first) and mostly (in the case of the second) obliterated. These areas would undoubtedly have gone through unfashionable periods if they were still standing through the 1970s and 1980s, but they would have undoubtedly been some of the most desirable mixed-use neighborhoods in the city if they were still largely intact today.
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Old 05-10-2014, 07:50 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,014 posts, read 102,621,396 times
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^^Well, first of all, we're supposed to be talking about small towns, per post #94.

Secondly, I knew if you responded you'd bring up the situation in Pittsburgh, b/c you've posted about it before, either here, or on the Pittsburgh forum, or both. Pittsburgh's downtown already had a "moat"-type environment, with a river flowing down from the northeast on one side of d/t and one flowing up from the southeast on the other side, meeting at "The Point".
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Po...a8e4063b4c04a0
For some reason, some urbanists today think the construction of the Civic Arena ranks in about the seventh circle of hell. At the time, it seemed like an appropriate project. The neighborhood that was cleared for it, was not, despite what anyone will tell you, some fabu "mixed use" area. It was a squalid housing area. Now I'm sure many have already jumped to their own keyboards w/o reading the rest of this post. They will talk about how "squalid" is judgmental, that not everyone wants a 3-4 BR house with granite countertops, 3 bathrooms, a fireplace, a master bath, a yard, yada, yada, yada. However, that's not what I'm talking about. This housing was awful. That any landlord would rent such hovels is unconscionable. One can certainly take a look at what is left there, which is presumably what was better than what was torn down, to get an idea of the neighborhood.
https://www.google.com/maps/@40.4459...bQERA0pwng!2e0

When the Civic Arena was built, back in 1961, Pittsburgh was not an "eds and meds" town. It was "Big Steel". Duquesne University, sort of located in "The Hill" but not in the lower hill, was a small commuter college at the time. It didn't get dorms until 1954, shortly before the Civic Arena project was undertaken.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duquesne_University

As I do not possess a crystal ball, I cannot agree with this statement: "but they would have undoubtedly been some of the most desirable mixed-use neighborhoods in the city if they were still largely intact today."

Certainly the clearance could have been handled better. But that's 20/20 hindsight, also known as "Monday Morning Quarterbacking".
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Old 05-10-2014, 07:57 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
33,901 posts, read 42,143,850 times
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I have to agree with Kat. What the Civic Arena replaced could only be called a slum if you were being charitable, and you'd still be insulting slums.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,436 posts, read 11,933,106 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
^^Well, first of all, we're supposed to be talking about small towns, per post #94.
Nei asked me to drop it, and I did. But you replied back to a paragraph I wrote asking for specific examples of how bigger city commercial districts were killed (note, as others said, killed, not murdered). I know several examples within Pittsburgh, so I

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Secondly, I knew if you responded you'd bring up the situation in Pittsburgh, b/c you've posted about it before, either here, or on the Pittsburgh forum, or both. Pittsburgh's downtown already had a "moat"-type environment, with a river flowing down from the northeast on one side of d/t and one flowing up from the southeast on the other side, meeting at "The Point".
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Po...a8e4063b4c04a0
Pittsburgh's downtown was constrained by geography, but there used to be a lot more housing options very close to downtown. In 1940, Downtown (which now includes the Civic Arena site) plus the North and South Shore had a population of 13,200. By 1950 this had fallen somewhat to 11,600. But by 1960, it plummeted to less than 4,500, a number that has been roughly stable ever since. There were similar declines (but not quite as severe) in the neighborhoods immediately to Downtown's east (Uptown, the Lower Hill, and the Strip District. In the 1950s as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
For some reason, some urbanists today think the construction of the Civic Arena ranks in about the seventh circle of hell. At the time, it seemed like an appropriate project. The neighborhood that was cleared for it, was not, despite what anyone will tell you, some fabu "mixed use" area. It was a squalid housing area. Now I'm sure many have already jumped to their own keyboards w/o reading the rest of this post. They will talk about how "squalid" is judgmental, that not everyone wants a 3-4 BR house with granite countertops, 3 bathrooms, a fireplace, a master bath, a yard, yada, yada, yada. However, that's not what I'm talking about. This housing was awful. That any landlord would rent such hovels is unconscionable. One can certainly take a look at what is left there, which is presumably what was better than what was torn down, to get an idea of the neighborhood.
https://www.google.com/maps/@40.4459...bQERA0pwng!2e0
The housing stock in the Lower Hill was modest 19th century rowhouses, similar to still intact parts of the city like South Side Flats and Lawrenceville which are today quite hot areas to live. There's a few surviving houses near Duquense which give a flavor of what the vernacular housing style was like. Here's a historic picture from the 1910s as well.

It was a slum at that time, no doubt. But in the modern era of gentrification, intact 19th century neighborhoods right next to CBDs were the first to see major gentrification. I think the best example of what Lower Hill would look like today if it were intact is the North End of Boston. Roughly same age of construction, and both were full of brick tenements for the working class.

I do think too much of the overall decline of the Hill District is blamed on the Civic Arena construction. People in Pittsburgh tend to equate the Civic Arena construction with the rapid decline of the remainder of the Hill District, culminating in the riots after MLK's assassination which resulted in fires that burned down most of the Hill's business districts. The Lower Hill was majority black, but not 90%+ black like the rest of the Hill District. The destruction did however touch off the decline of neighborhoods elsewhere in the city, like Beltzhoover, Garfield, East Liberty, Homewood, and parts of the North Side, as while the white "refugees" of urban renewal mostly moved to new middle-class parts of the city, the black ones flooded into majority white neighborhoods and kicked off racial panics.
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:34 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 22 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,014 posts, read 102,621,396 times
Reputation: 33082
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Nei asked me to drop it, and I did. But you replied back to a paragraph I wrote asking for specific examples of how bigger city commercial districts were killed (note, as others said, killed, not murdered). I know several examples within Pittsburgh, so I



Pittsburgh's downtown was constrained by geography, but there used to be a lot more housing options very close to downtown. In 1940, Downtown (which now includes the Civic Arena site) plus the North and South Shore had a population of 13,200. By 1950 this had fallen somewhat to 11,600. But by 1960, it plummeted to less than 4,500, a number that has been roughly stable ever since. There were similar declines (but not quite as severe) in the neighborhoods immediately to Downtown's east (Uptown, the Lower Hill, and the Strip District. In the 1950s as well.



The housing stock in the Lower Hill was modest 19th century rowhouses, similar to still intact parts of the city like South Side Flats and Lawrenceville which are today quite hot areas to live. There's a few surviving houses near Duquense which give a flavor of what the vernacular housing style was like. Here's a historic picture from the 1910s as well.

It was a slum at that time, no doubt. But in the modern era of gentrification, intact 19th century neighborhoods right next to CBDs were the first to see major gentrification. I think the best example of what Lower Hill would look like today if it were intact is the North End of Boston. Roughly same age of construction, and both were full of brick tenements for the working class.

I do think too much of the overall decline of the Hill District is blamed on the Civic Arena construction. People in Pittsburgh tend to equate the Civic Arena construction with the rapid decline of the remainder of the Hill District, culminating in the riots after MLK's assassination which resulted in fires that burned down most of the Hill's business districts. The Lower Hill was majority black, but not 90%+ black like the rest of the Hill District. The destruction did however touch off the decline of neighborhoods elsewhere in the city, like Beltzhoover, Garfield, East Liberty, Homewood, and parts of the North Side, as while the white "refugees" of urban renewal mostly moved to new middle-class parts of the city, the black ones flooded into majority white neighborhoods and kicked off racial panics.
Oh, no I didn't! I didn't say a word about big cities in that post. I do take responsibility for responding to what you said about Pittsburgh. Your cherry-picked picture is not terribly impressive. I don't know how you can say that you think the Lower Hill would look like Boston. They are two different cities.

I was in Pittsburgh during the riots following MLK's assassination, actually pretty darn close to them, in Oakland. They had nothing to do with the Civic Arena and everything to do with King's assassination. Also, having lived there at the time, there was no "racial panic" such as you describe. Pittsburgh has always been a very "white" city.
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Old 05-11-2014, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Northern Maine
9,777 posts, read 14,957,778 times
Reputation: 9588
"Why did we kill our Main Streets?"

Parking meters.
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Old 05-11-2014, 05:45 PM
 
Location: Richmond/Philadelphia/Brooklyn
1,263 posts, read 1,273,699 times
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I would argue that main sts died, and are coming back again for the same reasons as cities.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:46 PM
 
584 posts, read 510,191 times
Reputation: 1176
Greenville SC has weathered a number of harsh downturns, beginning with the 63 closing of Donaldson Air Base. The local economy took quite a hard hit, that required a number of years to heal. Then, Textiles began a death spiral that made 63 look like the good old days. To add to the problem, Malls began to pop up in outlying areas and began to siphon off the old guard retail businesses from the downtown/ Main St areas. Blight quickly began to settle in and claim a good portion of the Main St. corridor. By the early 80's the downtown was being deserted and tenants were extremely difficult to attract. Things were sliding downhill and getting uncomfortably shabby, with lots of empty storefronts.You guys have already painted the same or similar pictures in previous posts. The short version is that Greenville was falling behind the eightball.

We're not a large place, having a city population of only 60K. This is a deceptive number, due to legal limitations on annexation. The county has a population of just over 300k and a good bit of it is considered to be part of "metropolitan" Greenville. It's a fiscally conservative area that has become somewhat debt averse, after repeatedly surviving hard times.

Several development decisions were made during these times, some of which were certainly unpopular. In the early 1960's a local textile maven fought heavy opposition to have an airport built on the county line between Greenville and Spartanburg. This thing was close/convenient to nothing except I- 85. Donaldson "Center" was acquired from the USAF and slowly converted to what is now a successful industrial development zone. Main St was still 4 lanes wide, with metered parallel parking which gave relatively unobstructed traffic flow, but things were, as we say down here, "A Changin'."

The local development board, along with city council, agreed on a plan to reduce Main street to 2 lanes with angled parking. This plan included planting trees along the sidewalks. Parking Garages were planned to service an area no one wanted to visit, anymore. Many locals simply thought they'd lost their minds. A few years later, a bridge on a pretty significant downtown thoroughfare was scheduled for demolition, in order to develop a park along an unappealing section of the Reedy river. The redeeming aspect was the fact that a falls/shoals, that was previously hidden by the bridge, was reintroduced to a citizenry that had, long ago, nearly forgotten its existence.

Over time, those decisions began to pay serious benefits. The Main st. corridor in now a lush green welcoming environment that invites lingering pedestrian traffic. Falls Park is now a crown jewel that has encouraged further rehabilitation of ever more of the Downtown district. The change to the area has attracted a steady influx of businesses, along with lots of supporting retail and some very popular upscale urban apartments and condos.

The airport that "inhabited nowhere" became known as GSP and a huge benefit to both counties. It was among the many factors that brought Michelin to the area, along with BMW and a growing number of other big name businesses. Today, downtown Greenville is constantly hosting city planners from other cities, who want to duplicate the successes wrought by a few local men of vision. Main St doesn't always have to die, but vision, astute planning and some sacrifice are required to make it grow and thrive. Rejuvenation, along side an aggressive team of folks, working hard to bring more and bigger development to the area have been the salvation of what could have easily become a dead zone.

Street Festivals, Bike Races and other public events now draw people from NC, SC and GA who come to enjoy the relaxed "small town" social atmosphere, diverse foods and street music.

Take a stroll down Main st. Greenville SC. Notice that vacancies are few and small businesses are attracting suburban locals to once again enjoy our downtown. Just click the link below and then click your mouse down the street and have a look around. We're not quite finished just yet, but enjoy a look at our town, anyway.

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.8538...oI8mRk8qIA!2e0

Cedge

Last edited by Cedge1; 05-11-2014 at 08:05 PM..
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