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Old 09-15-2014, 08:13 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,850 posts, read 19,447,883 times
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I'm asking this because people over in KC forum are debating this topic, so I thought I would ask neutral people the question.

This has never been a question for me. I'm talking about the Country Club Plaza district of Kansas City, MO.

While this area started as a suburban area several miles from Downtown Kansas City in the 1920's and was designed around the automobile (actually the first such shopping center in the country), the area is now a dense, mixed use urban district of high rise hotels, offices and residences. The area is walkable and has parks, good transit and is nearby museums and college campuses. There are almost no surface parking lots etc. So despite many of the retail stores and restaurants being chains (Cheesecake Factory and Gap for example), it's urban to me.

This is a serious question. I'm not saying this area of KC is even comparable to outlying districts of Chicago or NYC or even LA, but to me it's urban and that's from somebody that has been to every major city in North America and lives in the DC/Baltimore region.

I actually work in Silver Spring, MD and personally think that downtown Silver Spring is also urban and very comparable in size and feel to KC's plaza. Silver Springs was probably considerably smaller a decade ago, but it has built up significantly in the past ten years with high rise buildings and ground level retail.

Anywhere, here are some aerials of the Plaza area of KC. If people are interested, I could dig up some street level photos as well.

But please do provide some feedback. I would like to hear people's opinions.










Last edited by kcmo; 09-15-2014 at 08:59 PM..
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Old 09-15-2014, 09:04 PM
 
Location: Denver
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Well since it's all overhead photos, it looks dense but not urban. I don't see a street grid.
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Old 09-15-2014, 09:11 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annie_himself View Post
Well since it's all overhead photos, it looks dense but not urban. I don't see a street grid.
Here is the map view. It's a pretty gridded out. The river or creek kind of messes it up though with limited crossing at the water.

https://goo.gl/maps/9E9sL
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:35 AM
 
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What's the difference between dense and not urban? If there is not grid it's not Urban? I would think urban and dense are practically synonymous, the grid would have little to do with it. Unless I'm misunderstanding the premise.
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Old 09-16-2014, 09:50 AM
 
358 posts, read 360,262 times
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It certainly looks urban to me.
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Old 09-16-2014, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Maryland outside DC
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If that's not considered urban, I don't know what else it would be called.

Looks plenty urban to me.
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Old 09-16-2014, 10:17 AM
 
Location: Michigan
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Its looks urban to me. Most of the architecture looks uninspiring, but urban nonetheless.
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Old 09-16-2014, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
Its looks urban to me. Most of the architecture looks uninspiring, but urban nonetheless.
The architecture at the street level is actually quite interesting. The shopping district was modeled after the architecture of Seville, Spain, and opened in 1922, so it's old, for a city in the Midwest. The buildings don't come across as "feaux Mediterranean" as do many newer developments that attempt to replicate that type of architecture. There's even a replica of the Giralda Tower in Seville. Lots of fountains and well-done Spanish architecture. Many of the old high rise and mid rise housing surrounding the Plaza also have Spanish style architecture.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Country_Club_Plaza
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Old 09-16-2014, 10:30 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,765,448 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlo View Post
What's the difference between dense and not urban? If there is not grid it's not Urban? I would think urban and dense are practically synonymous, the grid would have little to do with it. Unless I'm misunderstanding the premise.
Some people (myself included) would say that you have to be relatively walkable and pedestrian oriented to be urban as well. So Tysons Corner, Perimeter Center, Uptown Houston, Mississauga Centre aren't really urban, although they're undergoing efforts to become more urban.

I would lean towards calling County Club Plaza urban.
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Old 09-16-2014, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
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Looks like a streetcar suburb that has grown and densified. I'd say yes it is urban, maybe about the same level of "urban" as my current location of Pasadena, CA.
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