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Old 05-18-2009, 09:39 PM
 
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Which do you prefer? Cities where almost all of their urban goodies are centralized, located in the downtown area or areas where there are 2, 3 or more sizeable areas where one can live, work and play. Some prefer cities with such multiple areas such as in DC, LA, Atlanta, ect. Is it more important to you live in a city with many option areas to choose from?
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Old 05-27-2009, 07:42 PM
 
Location: West Town, Chicago
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I prefer cities with more concentrated CBDs. These tend to be the most characteristically urban, and I like that. However, many of these cities have great "downtowns" outside of the central business district. And New York has Downtown and Midtown... as well as probably hundreds of other areas of "work and play." It being the most urban city in the US, I wonder if I need to retract my previous statement.

Cities that are more spread out tend to have more expansive skylines, though. And that's cool.
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Old 11-03-2009, 05:43 AM
 
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Centralized cities do tend to be greater cities, in my opinion. Like LA is a great place...but it's not a walkable city in the same way San Francisco or Boston are. There are merits to decentralization, but in the end, centralized cities tend to be more vibrant.
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Old 11-03-2009, 07:55 AM
 
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
13,966 posts, read 24,174,498 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chitown2pa View Post
I prefer cities with more concentrated CBDs. These tend to be the most characteristically urban, and I like that. However, many of these cities have great "downtowns" outside of the central business district. And New York has Downtown and Midtown... as well as probably hundreds of other areas of "work and play." It being the most urban city in the US, I wonder if I need to retract my previous statement.

Cities that are more spread out tend to have more expansive skylines, though. And that's cool.
Interesting comment coming from Chicago. I see Chicago as a classic example of multiple urban areas within the city limits. For me, urbanity is not just about a CBD but rather areas where living is not car dependent. Chicago is filled with these sorts of places. It's a great city with great urban neighborhoods!
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Old 11-03-2009, 08:03 AM
 
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^ yeah, I guess I'm curious what cities would qualify as centralized. Not sure what the criteria is here.....

Chicago has many "nodes", but they all play a different role. The Loop is the commercial and financial center - but gets quiet after 7pm on a weeknight except for the Opera, Theatres and a few other places.

Michigan Ave is directly north, basically a continuation, and is the main "showcase" street with shopping, multiple bars, tons of hotels and more of a play area for people visiting town or coming in from the suburbs.

As far as residents of the city though, I know of very few that spend their free time anywhere near Michigan Ave or the Loop, especially in the evening. There are lots of areas that are centers of residential and leisure life. The lakefront, Lincoln Park for college aged people, Lakeview for a mix of everything from dive bars, fratty, wrigleyville, gay areas, the highest concentration of restarurants. Then areas around North/Division, etc. I'm not even sure what's hot on the west or southwest sides. I tend to focus my life within 2 miles of the lake, and from Bridgeport to the far north side.



DC really tended to be like this as well. The commercial centers of employment, the government areas, Georgetown and M Street, the areas north of Dupont Circle, etc.
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Old 11-03-2009, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Boston
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnc2mbfl View Post
Interesting comment coming from Chicago. I see Chicago as a classic example of multiple urban areas within the city limits. For me, urbanity is not just about a CBD but rather areas where living is not car dependent. Chicago is filled with these sorts of places. It's a great city with great urban neighborhoods!
I agree. I'm having difficulty getting at how the O.P. defines these terms. I live in Boston which would probably be considered a "centralized city" in that it has a core highest density area that does indeed offer quite a bit for work and play. But downtown is far from being the only vibrant urban area. I live in a neighborhood about six miles out from downtown where I can walk to dozens of restaurants, bakeries, shops, parks, etc. There is quite a bit to do there, and most of the time it covers my non-working needs.

I cannot walk to my office (well I can, but it would be a long walk) but I can walk to a train station and get downtown in about 15 or 20 minutes. So the centralized section is very accessible, and is certainly where the tourists will be. But at the same time, I have great urban amenities outside my front door. And that is true throughout Boston. So is it spread out, or centralized?
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:10 AM
 
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I agree with these comments; I'm having a tough time finding an example of any "centralized" city that doesn't also have lots of interesting neighborhoods outside of the core center that area that are also work/play nodes.

I like LA so much because it does have lots of interesting, walkable neighborhoods, but agree that while its downtown is interesting and has a lot going on (despite the stereotypes) it's also not the classic core of the city in the way that you find in some places. I think part of the reason I like LA is because there are so many vibrant neighborhoods spread out across the region, so the opportunities for exploration (and options for urban living) are vast.

I would think that only really small cities would have truly centralized areas in the way being described, so in that case, no, I wouldn't be happy with a city with only one central interesting area. I like to have options, and the bigger the city the more options available. Some of my favorite American cities are NYC, LA, SF, Boston, DC, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis, and while each have their own quirks and layout, all feature multiple neighborhoods and business areas, so all could under these definitions count as decentralized.
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:47 AM
 
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
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I think that most new cities that are just now coming into their own from a CBD perspective are probably more likely to only have one (or fewer) urban areas. I would think that this includes most cities in the sunbelt whose growth has been primarily since WWII.
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Old 11-04-2009, 08:33 PM
 
Location: New Albany, Indiana (Greater Louisville)
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Centralized cities have better name recognition.

Examples...
Louisville has the same metro population as Spartanburg/ Greenville SC, yet everyone's heard of L'ville while if you say 'Greenville' people ask "which one?"

Jacksonville FL well known since it has a large city population and an NFL while the jumble of Virginia's coastal cities (Norfolk, VA Beach, etc) isn't considered a major metro area nationally
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Old 11-04-2009, 09:03 PM
 
Location: Virginia Beach/Norfolk.
1,565 posts, read 4,344,038 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by censusdata View Post
Centralized cities have better name recognition.

Examples...
the jumble of Virginia's coastal cities (Norfolk, VA Beach, etc) isn't considered a major metro area nationally
Tell me about it...

We have 5 downtown's and 4 "town center's." If we put all of those together our central core would be unbelievable. I still think we are a major metro area nationally. major port city, largest city in the commonwealth, largest shipyard in the country, top 7 metropolitan product in the Southeast. I'd say we qualify
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