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Old 12-08-2014, 05:53 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,011 posts, read 102,621,396 times
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Not to beat a dead horse (pun intended), but look what showed up on the NPR website today:

New York City Council Will Weigh Ban On Horse-Drawn Carriages : The Two-Way : NPR
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Old 12-09-2014, 02:28 PM
 
Location: South Park, San Diego
4,944 posts, read 7,600,696 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eok View Post
Crime is a much bigger factor than most people think. The downtown of a major city has thousands of visitors, who stay in downtown hotels, but most of them avoid doing much walking in downtown, simply to avoid crime. When people get off work, they often go to a local bar or whatever, but it's usually one very close to their office building, because they want to avoid doing a lot of walking through crime-infested areas. And when they drive somewhere other than work, it's usually to a place outside of downtown, for the same reason.

If we could somehow get rid of crime, nearly all downtowns would suddenly come alive again.

Besides crime, the 2nd biggest factor is that downtown real estate is expensive, so a business has to have a lot more income to survive there. The kind of business that makes a place seem alive is often the kind of business that can have a hard time surviving. But that's partly caused by crime too. They get fewer customers because those customers are scared of crime. But another factor is that it can be harder to drive to places in downtown because it's harder to park there. So people who can choose where they go are more inclined to choose a place outside of downtown where it's easier to park. And that can make it harder for some downtown businesses to survive. But crime is a factor in that too. In downtown people want to park closer to their destination, so they don't spend as much time walking through crime-infested areas.

Public transportation is a major factor too, but crime is a factor in that too. A lot of people don't like to take public transportation because of fear of crime. If you sit on a bus bench waiting for a bus, you're a target of crime while waiting. On the bus itself you're a target of crime.

So it's really all mostly caused by crime. And crime is caused by the incompetence of our criminal justice system.
Wow, remind me not to live in the city you are nearest to or go to the ones that seem to have defined your feelings towards cities.

While there are some cities where crime seems to run rampant and regular citizens find it difficult to escape there are plenty of cities whose residents experience all the amenities of a large downtown and barely give crime a second thought.

I've been in some of the largest cities in the world and always walk nearly everywhere through them (is there any other way to truly experience a city?) or take public transportation and other than being aware of my surroundings, rarely, ever think that I am imminently threatened with being a victim of a crime. NYC, London, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco (although there are definitely some sketchy areas there that I avoid) are all areas that I relish every moment walking through them and experiencing the vibrant life going on all around me, taking public transportation without a second thought. Never am I cowering in fear.

Our downtown is certainly not one that is in anyway considered dead. There are 10s of 1000s of new residents living there in the past few years, one can barely make headway on the sidewalk on a warm baseball night in the Gaslamp Quarter and crime is absolutely minimal. My friends, partner and myself are down there - roughly two miles from my house- a few times a week, either walking there day or night, taking the bus or Uber and always having a grand old time and never even thinking of crime.

I think you are ascribing your fear of crime and cities to more people than actually share your beliefs.
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Old 12-09-2014, 02:34 PM
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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Generally in any American city with even a halfway decent downtown, the high crime areas aren't downtown but neighborhoods outside of downtown — usually far enough that a visitor wouldn't stumble into them by chance. San Francisco is a rather ironic exception, considering how affluent most of the urban neighborhoods are. Though public transportation in San Francisco appeared to be non-sketchy.
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:48 PM
 
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Yeah, the highest-crime neighborhoods in my city are mostly 1950s era suburban areas of single-family homes and low-rise apartments.

My San Francisco friends might beg to differ with your description of SF Muni as "non-sketchy." Of course, their experience is firsthand because most people in SF actually use transit at one time or another, vs. present day assumptions people make about the current state of transit based on the last time they took the bus in 1979.
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Old 12-14-2014, 02:33 AM
 
Location: Mishawaka, Indiana
6,514 posts, read 9,061,738 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
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.
Really? Was it just those 5 cities? I know for a fact that Chicago, Boston, and Philly all saw a HUGE population loss between the 50's and 90's, with a mass exodus to the suburbs, how could the downtowns have improved?
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Old 12-14-2014, 10:22 PM
 
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"Getting wealthier" is not necessarily "improvement." In many cases, the neighborhoods perhaps became wealthier because the poor people were kicked out--not in a mass exodus to the suburbs, but a forced exodus to places where poor people could live, in industrial neighborhoods near downtown, or public housing projects, or the street. So it's just the law of averages--instead of one rich guy and ten poor guys, it's one rich guy and three poor guys, one of whom lives on the street, so the "average" income actually spikes, while the neighborhood itself looks abandoned, that one homeless guy is spare-changing on the street, and the other poor guy sells drugs to get by and doesn't report the income.

At the same time in those big cities that had concentrations of downtown business and finance headquarters, rich people built high-rise condos that could protect them from day-to-day life on the street.

Having read plenty of articles written about my own city in the 1970s, a medium-sized one that certainly didn't have a large or healthy downtown during that era, gentrification was already an issue of public discussion. But we didn't have major corporate/finance sector, so we did not get any high-rise condo towers (technically, we still don't have them.)
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Old 12-15-2014, 07:26 AM
 
Location: Laurentia
5,593 posts, read 6,379,471 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdAilment View Post
Really? Was it just those 5 cities? I know for a fact that Chicago, Boston, and Philly all saw a HUGE population loss between the 50's and 90's, with a mass exodus to the suburbs, how could the downtowns have improved?
I think he's distinguishing between different parts of the downtowns - the very core of the downtown versus the outer part of the downtown.
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Old 12-15-2014, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
4,896 posts, read 7,660,338 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
I think he's distinguishing between different parts of the downtowns - the very core of the downtown versus the outer part of the downtown.
It also probably depends on what the definition of "downtown" is. For most people I know, "downtown" = "central business district." Wealth would have increased as these areas transformed from a mixed zone of retail/residential/commercial to all commercial/office space.
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Old 12-15-2014, 08:00 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,990 posts, read 41,989,613 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdAilment View Post
Really? Was it just those 5 cities? I know for a fact that Chicago, Boston, and Philly all saw a HUGE population loss between the 50's and 90's, with a mass exodus to the suburbs, how could the downtowns have improved?
You can have population loss in large parts of the city and increased wealth in one part. I think both Boston and Philly lost shopping downtown, however many of the center city residential areas became more affluent.
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Old 12-15-2014, 08:01 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,990 posts, read 41,989,613 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
It also probably depends on what the definition of "downtown" is. For most people I know, "downtown" = "central business district." Wealth would have increased as these areas transformed from a mixed zone of retail/residential/commercial to all commercial/office space.
I thought "downtown" is used as a synonym for the city center area. I was referring to the wealth of the residents.
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