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Old 12-01-2014, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Baja Virginia
2,798 posts, read 2,392,718 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyn7cyn View Post
Same for Raleigh NC. All the new housing is " luxury".And all the old houses are "historic".
Raleigh has a pretty vibrant downtown these days if you want to go out drinking or eat at a good (mid- to upscale restaurant). But if you wanted to live downtown, there are no grocery stores, no big clothing stores, no hardware stores, only a couple of small pharmacies, etc. I'm sure it's better than it was 10-20 years ago, but it's got a long way to go before it feels like a "real" downtown.
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Maryland not Murlin
8,193 posts, read 22,323,197 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert_SW_77 View Post
Cities like Boston and San Francisco have had improvement over the years, but I think they've always maintained a healthy level of vibrancy to some degree. In a nutshell, the key to having a successful downtown is to have people living in or near downtown with strong core neighborhoods.
I lived in Boston but cannot speak of its history. I am originally from Nor Cal and can say that SF was not always vibrant. It was always an economic powerhouse but The City itself was largely working class and down-and-out. The SF you see today was not the same place in the 1980s.

Both SF and Boston have a small footprint combined with large populations. It is easier to get to both downtowns since both downtowns are not far from the city limits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NOLA101 View Post
Yeah, but that's basically it. I would also add New Orleans and Portland.

Pretty much every other U.S. downtown is a underperformer relative to size. Visit Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, LA, Detroit, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Kansas City, etc. Do you think these cities have strong downtowns relative to size?

Also, why do people put "Manhattan" for NYC? They don't know that Manhattan is a borough in NYC? NYC has a central business district; Manhattan basically is a central business district.
Downtown Portland was rather decayed until recent history. The same with San Francisco.

Manhattan is NYC. People from the Bronx or Brooklyn may say they are New Yorkers (as in a reference to the city) but they will say they live in/are from the Bronx or Brooklyn. Those who are from Manhattan are the only ones who specifically say they are from NYC.

Thanks to Ellis Island, both sides of my family "originated" in Brooklyn. Neither side claims they are from NYC.
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Old 12-01-2014, 11:32 AM
 
1,417 posts, read 1,029,455 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scratchie View Post
Raleigh has a pretty vibrant downtown these days if you want to go out drinking or eat at a good (mid- to upscale restaurant). But if you wanted to live downtown, there are no grocery stores, no big clothing stores, no hardware stores, only a couple of small pharmacies, etc. I'm sure it's better than it was 10-20 years ago, but it's got a long way to go before it feels like a "real" downtown.
Yeah, I think that is basically describes almost all downtowns outside the top 7 or 8.

Seems that there are a fair amount of cities that are in "phase 1" revitalization. Downtown is a weekend nightlife district. Suburbanites drive in for a slightly more urban dinning feel or to attend a ball game or maybe a jazz festival. Downtown is starting to get some residential life return, but there's not enough "residential critical mass" to support all the neighborhood amenities you mention.

In many cities, of these "phase 1" cities this "revitalization" is really more of a "transformation" from downtown as an office and retail zone to a residential and eating and drinking destination. Hundreds of new apartments is nice, but no replacement for the "thousands and thousands" of shoppers many downtown used to draw.

"Phase 2" is basically when downtowns are the complete package and the true civic heart of the MSA. Seattle and Portland are probably the best examples. (NYC, SF, BOS, CHI, Philly, DC are too unique to ever really be replicated.) These downtowns offer not just drinking options, but active street life and a retail base at least equivalent to a big suburban mall. No doubt in time, more US cities will achieve Phase 2 level. But, I'm afraid most won't. Going from phase 1 to phase 2 isn't just a natural transition following steady growth, but involves massive cultural changes on behalf of the citizens of the entire region.

My guesses are Denver, Minneapolis, LA, San Diego and maybe Midtown Atlanta, Austin, Pittsburgh and a couple others have the best shot of achieving level 2.
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Old 12-01-2014, 12:43 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,988 posts, read 102,554,590 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpdivola View Post
My guesses are Denver, Minneapolis, LA, San Diego and maybe Midtown Atlanta, Austin, Pittsburgh and a couple others have the best shot of achieving level 2.
Care to elaborate on why you think that? I am seriously interested.
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Old 12-01-2014, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Living on the Coast in Oxnard CA
15,726 posts, read 26,757,800 times
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Years ago Ventura, a city of over 100,000 had a dead down town area. The city has been around since before California was part of the United States. Maybe 20 years ago it had gotten to the point that no one wanted to be there after 5pm. Lots of homeless and crime in the area. Since that time things have changed. Ventura's down town is alive now and has been for maybe the last 10 years or so. I would say that things have swung toward the other end of the pendulum with upscale shops, eateries, and night clubs. The city even put in pay parking maybe 5 years ago. we have never had pay parking here. LOL

In Oxnard where I live the same thing has been happening. The down town area has been around since 1903. They have this old plaza park in the center of down town. For years no one would go there. Maybe 15 years ago the city took a cue from their neighbor across the river bottom and changed the downtown area. Sure it is all investor driven but who cares. Down town Oxnard had drug dealers, gangs, lot of other crime. Their was an old hotel with strung out prostitutes. All that is in Oxnard's past. It is safe to hang out down town now. We are there maybe 4 or 5 days a week in the evening time. For the last 9 years the Plaza Park has been decorated during the Christmas season. The area is alive with events. Just next to down town is a place called Heritage Square where these old 1800 and early 1900 homes were moved. They are office buildings, resteraunts, and other business operations. The Heritage Square area has a park like area that they have a summer concert series, anything from Rock to Salsa to Classical.

Any down town can change over time. I think that down town areas just need to have the right people involved with how to make the changes needed to bring people back down town.
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:30 PM
 
1,417 posts, read 1,029,455 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Care to elaborate on why you think that? I am seriously interested.
Too build a world class downtown, I think you needs:
1) a critical mass of affluent yuppies- urban development is expensive
2) relatively low levels of crime/social issues in the central city- many cities have lots of social issues that keeps the middle class out.
3) growing regional economy- it is easier to revitalize a downtown in a growing MSA than trying to redistribute people in a stagnate MSA.
4) a regional commitment to support the core- state/regional governments in the area need to view the downtown as an asset for the entire region, not simply as just another part of the area. Citizens themselves must be willing to visit/patronize the core.

Most US cities seem caught in a chicken and egg development, conceptually everyone would like a Portland style city center. But, not enough people want to be the first movers.



I'm not an export. But, these cities all seem to have potential to have world class downtowns: Denver, Minneapolis, LA, San Diego and maybe Midtown Atlanta, Austin, Pittsburgh.

The best shots for obtaining Portland or Seattle style downtowns in the next 10-20 years:
1) Denver- seems like an "emerging Seattle" type city. The area has a thriving, high skilled economy. The city is relatively free of a lot of the "urban social issues" that plague many American cities. There seems to be a regional commitment to developing the core.
2) Minneapolis- see Denver. It probably has a stronger existing base, but slightly smaller growth prospects.
3) San Diego- again see Denver. On the downside, perhaps the regional economy isn't as strong as Denver, MSP, Seattle.
4) LA- This is such a huge MSA that it seems this city can easily have a thriving midsized downtown if it wants one. LA will never been NYC or even SF, but no reason in the world it can't have a lively mixed use downtown on par with say Philly or Seattle. The biggest stumbling block is that much of the "downtown stuff" is located on the quasi-urban Westside.

Others with potential:
5) Atlanta- this one is more hypothetical. Midtown Atlanta seems to me the most organically urban of the sunbelt boomtowns (Dallas, Hou, Atl, Phoenix). It still needs probably 20 years of heavy development, but someday perhaps it could have a Seattle style "mixed use urban center". Competition with Buckhead and a regional anti-city bias are major problems.
6) Austin- much smaller than Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle. But, it seems to have a lot of the same underlying fundamentals (affluent progressive yuppies, healthy economy, relative lack of urban issues, support for downtown/smart growth).
7) Pittsburgh- Lots of decay and disinvestment over the years, but it has great urban bones and an urban character. Recently, there seems to be some positive movements. If the city can grow it's tech/high skill economy it maybe able to revitalize it's downtown to a level of say Portland Oregon. If any rust belt downtown is going to come back, Pittsburgh probably has the best shot.

Not to say this is a complete list. But, I would bet on these being among the strongest candidates for breaking through and having a true "regional center" downtown.

Last edited by jpdivola; 12-01-2014 at 02:43 PM..
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,884 posts, read 25,311,688 times
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Las Vegas has a very active downtown. But they still don't have a real grocery store. There are a couple pricey markets. More people are moving in to downtown but it is still a dicey place to live once you are out of sight of the casinos.

A few years ago I went on a 2 week business trip to Seattle. It was my first time there. It has a wonderful downtown full of people and lots of shopping. I was amazed! I left thinking if I lived in Seattle I would definitely want to live in the city. The idea of leaving your residence and being able to just walk and get anything I needed was very appealing. Even if I knew I would always have to carry an umbrella! I did a little looking online and it's a very expensive place to live. Considerably more expensive than suburban living and I could afford about 1/3 the space downtown. I know there would be some savings if I had no commute and no longer needed to keep a car but not nearly enough to balance it out.

In that same period of time, I lived in rural Minnesota and worked in the city. I had a 100 mile a day commute. But I lived in a small town. We had one grocery store and a couple mom & pop places. Small locally owned restaurants, a hardware store, an antique mall, an appliance store. One movie theater. You get the picture. In the years I lived there I saw it all destroyed by the big box stores and franchises. The worst offenders were Cub Foods and Walmart. But all the fast food places came in too and it wasn't long till most of downtown was gone. Depressing empty storefronts. Probably took decades to build it up and in just a couple years it was gone. Maybe the biggest loss was the sense of community. I knew the people who owned and worked at all the old stores and they knew me. I was just another shopper at the big box places.

There has to be a place for regular people in the downtowns. Today I see very poor and wealthy. Not much inbetween.
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:38 PM
 
Location: South Florida
1,007 posts, read 867,019 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scratchie View Post
Raleigh has a pretty vibrant downtown these days if you want to go out drinking or eat at a good (mid- to upscale restaurant). But if you wanted to live downtown, there are no grocery stores, no big clothing stores, no hardware stores, only a couple of small pharmacies, etc. I'm sure it's better than it was 10-20 years ago, but it's got a long way to go before it feels like a "real" downtown.
This has always been why I never wanted to live downtown. I don't go out to bars hardly ever, but I do go to grocery stores, Target, Walmart, etc. It would really be a real pain not to have these close by. The last few jobs I have had have been in the suburbs so living downtown would have meant commuting. Where I live now, it is super expensive to live downtown. It seems to be geared toward people in their 20s who want the social scene of bars and restaurants. My brother lived downtown in his 20s and even he said the parking was a major pain in the butt and although there was a grocery store within walking distance, it was very small and didn't have the selection you find in larger stores. Until they start putting more "everyday" amenities downtown, I think people will continue to live elsewhere and only come downtown for shows, events and festivals.

I loved Boston's downtown. I doubt I could afford to live there.
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Old 12-01-2014, 03:05 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,264,546 times
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When they decided that every city street, no matter how big or small had to be prioritized
to the automobile, it pretty much put the nail in the coffin for downtown America.

When you make it hard to go anywhere without a car, then naturally 99% of people will drive.
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Old 12-01-2014, 04:25 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,277,518 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpdivola View Post
Too build a world class downtown, I think you needs:
1) a critical mass of affluent yuppies- urban development is expensive
2) relatively low levels of crime/social issues in the central city- many cities have lots of social issues that keeps the middle class out.
3) growing regional economy- it is easier to revitalize a downtown in a growing MSA than trying to redistribute people in a stagnate MSA.
4) a regional commitment to support the core- state/regional governments in the area need to view the downtown as an asset for the entire region, not simply as just another part of the area. Citizens themselves must be willing to visit/patronize the core.

Most US cities seem caught in a chicken and egg development, conceptually everyone would like a Portland style city center. But, not enough people want to be the first movers.



I'm not an export. But, these cities all seem to have potential to have world class downtowns: Denver, Minneapolis, LA, San Diego and maybe Midtown Atlanta, Austin, Pittsburgh.

The best shots for obtaining Portland or Seattle style downtowns in the next 10-20 years:
1) Denver- seems like an "emerging Seattle" type city. The area has a thriving, high skilled economy. The city is relatively free of a lot of the "urban social issues" that plague many American cities. There seems to be a regional commitment to developing the core.
2) Minneapolis- see Denver. It probably has a stronger existing base, but slightly smaller growth prospects.
3) San Diego- again see Denver. On the downside, perhaps the regional economy isn't as strong as Denver, MSP, Seattle.
4) LA- This is such a huge MSA that it seems this city can easily have a thriving midsized downtown if it wants one. LA will never been NYC or even SF, but no reason in the world it can't have a lively mixed use downtown on par with say Philly or Seattle. The biggest stumbling block is that much of the "downtown stuff" is located on the quasi-urban Westside.

Others with potential:
5) Atlanta- this one is more hypothetical. Midtown Atlanta seems to me the most organically urban of the sunbelt boomtowns (Dallas, Hou, Atl, Phoenix). It still needs probably 20 years of heavy development, but someday perhaps it could have a Seattle style "mixed use urban center". Competition with Buckhead and a regional anti-city bias are major problems.
6) Austin- much smaller than Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle. But, it seems to have a lot of the same underlying fundamentals (affluent progressive yuppies, healthy economy, relative lack of urban issues, support for downtown/smart growth).
7) Pittsburgh- Lots of decay and disinvestment over the years, but it has great urban bones and an urban character. Recently, there seems to be some positive movements. If the city can grow it's tech/high skill economy it maybe able to revitalize it's downtown to a level of say Portland Oregon. If any rust belt downtown is going to come back, Pittsburgh probably has the best shot.

Not to say this is a complete list. But, I would bet on these being among the strongest candidates for breaking through and having a true "regional center" downtown.
I agree with Denver (well, and the rest of them too!) I think the perception of downtown Denver throughout metro Denver is that it's fun, nice and even if people live way out in the 'burbs, they still have a certain pride in downtown Denver.

Comparing that to downtown Kansas City, you find that people in the KC suburbs tend to be very anti-downtown (go there and you'll get killed!!), it's rather cut off by a freeway loop, many surrounding neighborhoods suffer from decay and high crime, and overall, people just don't seem to care if it's a dead downtown. That said, downtown KC has improved in the past decade from its worst days.
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