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Old 05-25-2014, 11:54 AM
 
3,492 posts, read 4,969,063 times
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Space. I moved to a city with a much more attractive downtown, but generally the downtown areas I have been in across America have been severely lacking in space, specifically affordable space. If you had enough money, you could afford a nice apartment, but there were no options for lower to middle class families to have what I would have considered a reasonable amount of space.

Also, sound proofing. I lived in a downtown area for a while, before this city, and a major issue was that it was loud as ****. There was a bar about a block away from this "high rise". Is 10 to 20 stories considered high rise? I would be woken up many nights by drunk ***holes wandering out of the bar. That is hardly suitable for a student, much less for raising small children. I love the job some cities are doing with their downtown areas, but the downtown I lived in had severe problems. Of course, as you mentioned there was a lack of parking and grocery stores. The problem was so bad, I ended up paying an exorbitant fee to have a place to park my car, because driving 20 miles out to the suburbs (gas was cheaper back then) was less expensive than buying them in the city. Even after accounting for paying the parking spot.

I think downtown areas would be much more vibrant and appealing if they found a way to handle groceries, sufficient space, and sound proofed the areas. I lived in two high rises there. One without sound proofing, and one with concrete walls that faced a free-way. The free-way was just white noise, only woke up when a trucker laid on their horn near the apartment buildings.

Quite simply, I think the lack of parking, groceries, sound proofing, and space encapsulates the vast majority of the problems with urban living.

If there is one added problem, it is crime. If there is a ghetto apartment building ten blocks away, those idiots can still wander over to where you live. If we could get a handle on uncivilized behaviors, it would help.
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Old 05-25-2014, 03:20 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,738,725 times
Reputation: 26676
Quote:
Originally Posted by pvande55 View Post
Many of the buyers of downtown condos are buyin them as second homes. If you visit downtown often, especially if beyond commuting distance, it is convenient.
Not in my city. It is empty nesters and younger people (many with kids).

We don't have many schools in downtown proper but within 2 miles of downtown their are plenty. That could easily shift soon. Right now there are lots of charter schools.
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Old 05-30-2014, 03:22 PM
 
273 posts, read 262,232 times
Reputation: 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
Apart from safety issues and parking, what would you say that the average American downtown (for bigger cities) is lacking most that it might need? Amenities like grocers or stores? Things to do? Transit? Services like schools, maybe? What else?

What about your city? What does your downtown lack? Is there anything that isn't there that should be, in your or others' opinion?
My downtown (Toronto) isn't missing much. Though there is no Costco (or Coscto-type store), nor is there a Home Depot/Lowe's/Rona Lansing store. There is also no Target store, though a 145,000 square foot Target is under consruction downtown as part of the Harbour Plaza development.

Other than that, there is nothing missing from downtown Toronto.
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Old 05-30-2014, 03:32 PM
 
273 posts, read 262,232 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Getting back to the OP: Many people say downtown Denver lacks a grocery store. However, that depends on how you define "downtown". There is a King Soopers (Kroger's) just south of Colfax on Speer Blvd.
https://www.google.com/maps/search/k...d3347f8701f6ee
That store is not within easy walking distance of most downtown Denver residents.
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Old 05-31-2014, 01:51 AM
 
Location: Finland
24,257 posts, read 18,844,158 times
Reputation: 11103
I got interested about the "no kids in downtown" thing, so I looked up how it looks in our capital. The last comprehensive stats were done 10 years ago, so a bit outdated.

And made a neat map!



Here's the subdivisions of Helsinki.

The area in dark red (S) is the historical downtown and the most dense area. Total pop 97k in 2004.
example: https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.16357...h48OGp2L9A!2e0
Percentage of the pop being kids under 18: 12.5%
0-6: 5%
7-15: 5.7%
16-18: 1.8%

The second area (W) in green, is a combination of denser living in the southern end, and more sparsely built apartment areas with a lot of greenery. In the northern end, north of that road #101 you'll find a lot of student housing and low-rises. Total pop 99k.
example: https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.19750...WiynaYi4TQ!2e0
Percentage of the pop being kids under 18: 17.9%
0-6: 6.5%
7-15: 8.6%
16-18: 2.8%

The area in red, (C), is in the south as dense as the downtown, in some parts denser and there in the north where's a lot of greenery, you'll mostly find pre-WWII detached houses and small low-rises. Some parts of the southern end are a bit rugged and boheme with small apartments, so it's not very attractive for families, while the north is one of the most popular. So it's a very diverse subdivision. Total pop 73k.
North: https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.21555...Jpi4gf_7dA!2e0
South: https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.18609...OLS3Bvu6cA!2e0
Percentage of the pop being kids under 18: 10.3%
0-6: 4%
7-15: 4.5%
16-18: 1.7%

The next one is the (N) area, with mostly low-rises and the largest concentration of detached houses in Helsinki. Mostly built after WWII and in the 50's-60's. Pretty much a middle class and lower middle class area as a whole. Total pop 42k.
Example: https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.23888...j3Ig1Kh9rg!2e0
Percentage of the pop being kids under 18: 22.6%
0-6: 7.3%
7-15: 11.7%
16-18: 3.6%

The (SE) Area in turquoise is also a diverse area. The island there in the western part is one of the wealthiest areas in Helsinki, the area around the road #170 a denser hood with apartments, and the southern island is mainly detached houses. Total pop 47k
Examples:
https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.16281...vdDyLcY9Aw!2e0
https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.19126...nW45XQS9uw!2e0
Percentage of the pop being kids under 18: 21.4%
0-6: 8.1%
7-15: 10.4%
16-18: 2.9%

The NE area doesn't even fit in the picture, but it's suburbia in the north, and apartment blocks in the south. The further north you get, the higher the salaries. Total pop 88k.
example: https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.25793...m-YvgMqjbA!2e0
Percentage of the pop being kids under 18: 24.3%
0-6: 8.6%
7-15: 12%
16-18: 3.7%

The last is the Eastern (E) area, mostly built in the 70's-90's, and mainly a classic European suburb. Lowest income, lowest education, lots of social housing and immigrants. Total pop: 98k
Example: https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.23811...EAEatId5zg!2e0
Percentage of the pop being kids under 18: 22.9%
0-6: 8.5%
7-15: 11.1%
16-18: 3.3%


Conclusion: yes, it seems that people with families live more in the less dense areas, but not only as they want it, but because it's more affordable and the apartments bigger. The S area is around as expensive as central Paris, so it's a very lucrative area.
A good argument for that people nowadays would want to live near the downtown is that in the S and C subdivisions only there's being built housing for 65k new inhabitants until 2030, and only for 33k in all the other 5 districts. Helsinki has also set an aim that 30% of all future development would be complementary construction to make the city more dense.

In these 10 years when those stats were compiled, the city population has risen with 57k people, so the city is growing quite rapidly even if it's 2014.
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Old 06-25-2014, 04:58 PM
 
Location: GlenView
56 posts, read 98,406 times
Reputation: 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ariete View Post
I got interested about the "no kids in downtown" thing, so I looked up how it looks in our capital. The last comprehensive stats were done 10 years ago, so a bit outdated.

And made a neat map!



Here's the subdivisions of Helsinki.

The area in dark red (S) is the historical downtown and the most dense area. Total pop 97k in 2004.
example: https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.16357...h48OGp2L9A!2e0
Percentage of the pop being kids under 18: 12.5%
0-6: 5%
7-15: 5.7%
16-18: 1.8%

The second area (W) in green, is a combination of denser living in the southern end, and more sparsely built apartment areas with a lot of greenery. In the northern end, north of that road #101 you'll find a lot of student housing and low-rises. Total pop 99k.
example: https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.19750...WiynaYi4TQ!2e0
Percentage of the pop being kids under 18: 17.9%
0-6: 6.5%
7-15: 8.6%
16-18: 2.8%

The area in red, (C), is in the south as dense as the downtown, in some parts denser and there in the north where's a lot of greenery, you'll mostly find pre-WWII detached houses and small low-rises. Some parts of the southern end are a bit rugged and boheme with small apartments, so it's not very attractive for families, while the north is one of the most popular. So it's a very diverse subdivision. Total pop 73k.
North: https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.21555...Jpi4gf_7dA!2e0
South: https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.18609...OLS3Bvu6cA!2e0
Percentage of the pop being kids under 18: 10.3%
0-6: 4%
7-15: 4.5%
16-18: 1.7%

The next one is the (N) area, with mostly low-rises and the largest concentration of detached houses in Helsinki. Mostly built after WWII and in the 50's-60's. Pretty much a middle class and lower middle class area as a whole. Total pop 42k.
Example: https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.23888...j3Ig1Kh9rg!2e0
Percentage of the pop being kids under 18: 22.6%
0-6: 7.3%
7-15: 11.7%
16-18: 3.6%

The (SE) Area in turquoise is also a diverse area. The island there in the western part is one of the wealthiest areas in Helsinki, the area around the road #170 a denser hood with apartments, and the southern island is mainly detached houses. Total pop 47k
Examples:
https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.16281...vdDyLcY9Aw!2e0
https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.19126...nW45XQS9uw!2e0
Percentage of the pop being kids under 18: 21.4%
0-6: 8.1%
7-15: 10.4%
16-18: 2.9%

The NE area doesn't even fit in the picture, but it's suburbia in the north, and apartment blocks in the south. The further north you get, the higher the salaries. Total pop 88k.
example: https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.25793...m-YvgMqjbA!2e0
Percentage of the pop being kids under 18: 24.3%
0-6: 8.6%
7-15: 12%
16-18: 3.7%

The last is the Eastern (E) area, mostly built in the 70's-90's, and mainly a classic European suburb. Lowest income, lowest education, lots of social housing and immigrants. Total pop: 98k
Example: https://www.google.fi/maps/@60.23811...EAEatId5zg!2e0
Percentage of the pop being kids under 18: 22.9%
0-6: 8.5%
7-15: 11.1%
16-18: 3.3%


Conclusion: yes, it seems that people with families live more in the less dense areas, but not only as they want it, but because it's more affordable and the apartments bigger. The S area is around as expensive as central Paris, so it's a very lucrative area.
A good argument for that people nowadays would want to live near the downtown is that in the S and C subdivisions only there's being built housing for 65k new inhabitants until 2030, and only for 33k in all the other 5 districts. Helsinki has also set an aim that 30% of all future development would be complementary construction to make the city more dense.

In these 10 years when those stats were compiled, the city population has risen with 57k people, so the city is growing quite rapidly even if it's 2014.

That's really confusing. !

Is there any way you could make it a little bit easier to understand.
I really am interested in your data.
I hope I'm not asking too much... ?
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Old 06-25-2014, 05:18 PM
 
Location: GlenView
56 posts, read 98,406 times
Reputation: 57
Default Build more in Downtown and Less in the Suburbs = walkability ??

You know what I was also thinking?...

That if Cities could somehow STOP developers from building in suburbs
and kind-of "forcing" them to build in and around their downtown(s)
people would have to fill up the space or live elsewhere.

I wonder if that is a recipe for making a city less desirable. ???
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Old 06-25-2014, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Lebanon, OH
5,918 posts, read 6,350,155 times
Reputation: 12628
Quote:
Originally Posted by GlenvilleMan View Post

That if Cities could somehow STOP developers from building in suburbs
and kind-of "forcing" them to build in and around their downtown(s)
people would have to fill up the space or live elsewhere.
I wish the developers would have never built the cookie cutter developments they did in my area which used to be a nice small town that has been ruined by sprawl.
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Old 06-25-2014, 07:08 PM
 
Location: GlenView
56 posts, read 98,406 times
Reputation: 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by woxyroxme View Post
I wish the developers would have never built the cookie cutter developments they did in my area which used to be a nice small town that has been ruined by sprawl.
I know, right? To me, they always seemed so... fake.
No real uniqueness. Just a bunch of convenient, "nice-looking" housing
in a "safe" neighborhood.

Seems you have to be rich to actually have what you want, by Building it
from scratch.
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Old 06-25-2014, 09:47 PM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,585,752 times
Reputation: 4048
Quote:
Originally Posted by GlenvilleMan View Post
You know what I was also thinking?...

That if Cities could somehow STOP developers from building in suburbs
and kind-of "forcing" them to build in and around their downtown(s)
people would have to fill up the space or live elsewhere.

I wonder if that is a recipe for making a city less desirable. ???
Ask Portland, that's exactly what they did--but from what I hear, it helps make a city more desirable.
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