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Old 12-06-2014, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Mishawaka, Indiana
6,514 posts, read 9,068,553 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18Montclair View Post
Off the top of my head...
1 suburban sprawl, suburban shopping malls and white flight
2 resulting in a decentralization of jobs out of the CBD
3 increased auto ownership & expansive highway systems that led to
4 depleted public transit options
All are correct except for number for. It wasn't a decrease of public transit options, but rather an increase of private transit options. Americans had greater access to cars, they could drive where they want when they want, not having to walk, or stick to train and bus schedules. When Americas discovered they could drive more, in turn with all the civil rights movements of the 50's and 60's, they began retreating to the suburbs, and the businesses followed them, seeing downtowns begin to die and dry up, as they were no longer THE place to be, everyone wanted to live in the suburbs, while the downtown was left to corporate offices and the poor minorities.

In the 21st century we've seen quite the opposite happen. Many young people are moving back to the downtown area, and the millenials are overall driving less and own fewer cars than their parents' generation. If anything, I think downtowns in America have really begun to revitalize and reinvent themselves. What's especially fascinating and enjoyable to see is the smaller cities, the ones you've likely never heard of, that are doing all they can to deliver a cosmopolitan feel to their core downtown, trying to attract people to move into the downtown area.
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Old 12-06-2014, 09:07 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,991 posts, read 42,018,377 times
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I'll add that for the cities with the largest downtowns (NYC, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco) the downtown area got wealthier in the "decline era" (say 1950 to 1990). Outer neighborhoods often declined, but center city had already started to gentrify. Shopping options still declined somewhat in many of those cities.
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Old 12-06-2014, 10:28 AM
 
1,689 posts, read 2,227,590 times
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American cities and the urban areas around it have been destroyed by suburbanization
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Old 12-06-2014, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Oceania
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RightonWalnut View Post
There are plenty of extremely bustling and vibrant Downtowns in this country as well:

Manhattan
Chicago
San Francisco
Philadelphia
Boston
DC
Seattle

just to name a few
DC is vibrant/hustling weekdays 8-6. To be more accurate it is like a balloon which is inflated/deflated daily as most of downtown is as one large office building. People go there to work and leave as soon as they can. There are pockets of activity but NOVA is more active.
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Old 12-06-2014, 12:39 PM
 
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In Knoxville quite a number of the old office towers have been converted to lofts. It is the highest price real estate in the city.

So in a way, the fact that it is not a booming Alpha city with high demand for office space gives it the opportunity to have a bustling downtown with lots of residences and restaurants.

What killed downtown in the 70s and 80s? The Malls of course. What brought it back? One was zoning/building codes changes that allowed residential. Also the city built several parking garages that are free on evenings and weekends. That increased the business for bars/restaurants because you could be sure of finding parking after making the effort to drive downtown. Once the bars became popular, there was incentive to live downtown to avoid the possibility of DUI for an established professional. The lofts are very popular with empty nesters.
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Old 12-06-2014, 01:30 PM
 
Location: West Coast of Europe
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Maybe the lack of extensive pedestrian zones. Plus, when people live in suburbs anyway, they won't buy their stuff downtown. So what you have left on many a main street is those small retailers offering antiques, outdated clothes, etc.

Then again, maybe we are clinging to an idea that is itself outdated. If people don't need a busy downtown anymore and their lives take place elsewhere, why even try and keep it alive? I assume the idea of a downtown goes back thousands of years when people traded in the center of towns, bringing all their products, farm animals and what not. Things have changed...

Last edited by Neuling; 12-06-2014 at 01:40 PM..
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Old 12-06-2014, 04:54 PM
Status: "How long till Fall?" (set 3 days ago)
 
Location: Where my bills arrive
8,142 posts, read 9,583,505 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuling View Post
Maybe the lack of extensive pedestrian zones. Plus, when people live in suburbs anyway, they won't buy their stuff downtown. So what you have left on many a main street is those small retailers offering antiques, outdated clothes, etc.

Then again, maybe we are clinging to an idea that is itself outdated. If people don't need a busy downtown anymore and their lives take place elsewhere, why even try and keep it alive? I assume the idea of a downtown goes back thousands of years when people traded in the center of towns, bringing all their products, farm animals and what not. Things have changed...
You really hit on a major issue for many cities, many have moved out of the city and the days of "going downtown" to shop on Saturdays is no more. I have seen down here where the city keeps trying to recreate downtown the way it was 50 years but even if it was ever built who would bother going downtown? The city needs to focus on a downtown that provides services residents needs not 20 specialty shops.
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Old 12-06-2014, 05:13 PM
 
Location: Columbus, OH
381 posts, read 510,335 times
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Something not many have thought of:

Many downtowns had an abundance of massive hotels built during the late 19th/early 20th century. Outside the nation's largest cities, how many of those old hotels still survive? Very few.

In Tampa, FL, there were many hotels on the skyline in the 1940s. By the 1980s, nearly all were demolished. Granted, there were new hotels/motels built along freeways due to suburbanization and the Interstate highway.

But I think that older hotel properties were often viewed as "out of date" and not possessing modern conveniences or design.

Changing demands and tastes, I think, largely contributed to the decline of the American downtown between 1950 and 2000.
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:14 PM
 
8,328 posts, read 14,572,548 times
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No, a streetcar is not a carriage, any more than a car is a bus.

During the "horse and buggy" era, a vast majority of individuals did not own a horse and buggy. Only a small minority did.

And I'm not sure how the horse poo enters into it. Is someone here calling for a return to animal-powered transportation? Horse poo is a huge smelly problem, whether it's on the streets or on the Internet.
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:19 PM
 
48,516 posts, read 83,989,888 times
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What drove down town America was the commerce. then something like shopping centers came who included free parking. As businesses moved they were often replaced by things like bars ;strip joints etc. That mean most of commerce being family shoppers stopped going .Most down towns in America never had much for young people until they started to die off. Large cities still have publicly funded things but finding it harder and harder to fund now.Some like Detroit way over built public funded buildings that was based on one horse driving the funding; auto industry.They real success stories tho is small town in low industrial areas which boomers are starting to bring funding to and the people to service their needs.
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