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Old 05-14-2014, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Denver
14,157 posts, read 19,820,750 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatsbyGatz View Post
Not only people in general, but families. The mental image that most people have of American downtowns usually includes bars, drunks, the poor, homeless, mentally ill, and single professionals. It never includes children because our society thinks downtown isn't a place for children to be in.

Most American downtowns provide a lot of their homeless shelters and rehabilitation programs in the core of the city, leading to an increase in the perception of crime and presence of "strange people". This discourages families to move downtown, limiting downtowns mostly to single, child-less people and the homeless/mentally ill. Also, downtown rents usually are more expensive per square foot of space, so your average couple with one child will obviously choose to live in outlaying neighborhoods where rents are cheaper. Downtowns usually don't have elementary schools for parents to send their children to, nor do most downtowns provide easily accessible grocery stores.

Suffice it to say, urban decay from the 70s-today have transformed our downtowns to rather "unfriendly" places that most people don't find to be very livable without some major inconveniences.
That was a great way to put it. Did the downtowns of the past have a significant amount of families living in them?
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Old 05-14-2014, 10:57 AM
 
1,709 posts, read 1,680,945 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annie_himself View Post
That was a great way to put it. Did the downtowns of the past have a significant amount of families living in them?
I would imagine they did, but keep in mind that a lot of those families were probably poorer and couldn't afford a town home in further-out neighborhoods; many families were likely restricted to downtown tenements and apartments to live close to factories. Now that factories have largely relocated away from downtown, and the average American family is much wealthier, families stay away from downtowns. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing for downtown areas. Society is becoming less and less family oriented, so there will be more singles around to live downtown and in surrounding areas.
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Old 05-14-2014, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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My downtown could use a grocery store at the center and more residents. It isn't a 7-day a week area of the city. We also need more retail. We have a terrible Sears, and a few boutiques. We need more stores that draw more foot traffic. Over the past 5 years it has become a popular nightlife district, and has more restaurants. But it is still missing that 7 day a week energy. We've got a Whole Foods at the north end of downtown, but it isn't in the thick of things.
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Old 05-14-2014, 04:09 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,274,492 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatsbyGatz View Post
...The mental image that most people have of American downtowns usually includes bars, drunks, the poor, homeless, mentally ill, and single professionals. It never includes children because our society thinks downtown isn't a place for children to be in.

Not to mention the heavy presence of the sex industry. Downtown San Francisco for example is overrun with seedy strip clubs, porn shops, 'massage parlors' and prostitution.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:29 PM
 
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How about a golf course? Oh, that's ridiculous! Who would ever build a golf course downtown? Well, there actually was one in downtown Chicago for seven years. Metro Golf at the Illinois Center - Semi-Private, Chicago
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:52 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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Midtown Manhattan is missing its p0rn shops and "gentlemen's clubs". For the former, the internet helped killed them off.

Last edited by nei; 05-16-2014 at 08:28 PM..
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Old 05-16-2014, 03:58 PM
 
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There are no downtowns in the US. (with the exception of NYC). What we call downtowns are just business parks, hyper-zoned and so removed from their original purpose that they're just gimmicky shells of what they used to be and what most people in the world would consider a 'downtown.' As others have alluded to, all you'll most likely find are sad aging condos, hipster haunts and expensive retailers, homeless shelters, dangerous parks, and maybe a 'nightlife' street or two carefully delineated by the wise city planners. Those areas of downtowns which are not consciously and artificially kept nice are in some state of decay, since the property is basically just a playground for investors to flip or hold, having no incentive to maintain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by annie_himself View Post
People. There are no stores, grocers, transit, etc because there are no people.
Exactly. The urban planners out there can spend eternity arguing about walkability, services, housing size, etc... but it's all for naught when most Americans don't and never will live in dense areas. If you want to live in a downtown you need to go to Asia or Europe.
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Old 05-16-2014, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
17,469 posts, read 21,314,960 times
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When I moved to downtown Minneapolis, to a loft/condo, in 1988, advertising: Enjoy the Urban Lifestyle, there was no grocery story. I still had to own a car to go 3-4 miles to a big grocery store.

I've followed the urban developments in downtown Minneapolis, over the years, since I left in 1993 (still no grocery store), it's taken almost 20 more years of urban developments to finally get a Whole Foods downtown.

Urban Lifestyle? Don't advertise that until you don't need a car anymore to live there!
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Old 05-17-2014, 03:45 PM
 
Location: Vancouver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I don't think you'd get many families living downtown even if these issues are dealt with. Even in Europe, where downtowns are not areas with high crime or bad schools, few young children live there. Probably due in part to the cost factor (after all, a child is a roommate who doesn't pay rent), and in part due to not being as friendly to outdoor play as slightly more outlying urban areas.

In very small cities, where the "downtown" is basically the only urban section of the city (and it falls to detached single-family housing outside of it) I think it's possible to get some families living there. But in a classic CBD with office towers, I simply don't think many families will be interested in living there.
Certainly people will live in smaller spaces when living downtown, and it will depend on how many kids you have, but there are downtowns that are extremely vibrant, safe and have great parks and play areas.
For some places it won't be easy, but what's the alternative? More urban sprawl, usually over good farmland, isn't the answer.

Vancouver, never had the urban flight that happened in the US, and although I'm prejudiced since I live here I do think it's a good example of what living downtown in a North American city can be like.
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Old 05-17-2014, 07:40 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,476 posts, read 11,983,639 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Natnasci View Post
Certainly people will live in smaller spaces when living downtown, and it will depend on how many kids you have, but there are downtowns that are extremely vibrant, safe and have great parks and play areas.
For some places it won't be easy, but what's the alternative? More urban sprawl, usually over good farmland, isn't the answer.

Vancouver, never had the urban flight that happened in the US, and although I'm prejudiced since I live here I do think it's a good example of what living downtown in a North American city can be like.
The thread isn't about urban living versus suburban living, it's about downtown living. In many other countries besides the U.S., a lot more families (particularly middle-class ones) do live within the city proper, but they don't live in the Central Business District.

Does Downtown Vancouver have as many families as outlying residential, but still urban, parts of Vancouver?
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