orlandouprise

Comparing Orlando...

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That is, of course, the big reason the EDP's big advertising is "Orlando...You Don't Know the Half Of It. 

Most visitors don't get to know about our downtown or Winter Park and even fewer have any clue about our tech prowess, especially in simulation and optics.

We are making inroads, though, in unexpected ways. Bill Clinton, of all people, spent the better part of a couple of years promoting our simulation success in his speeches.

Meanwhile, the whole UCF National Champions brouhaha got us more interest in the school than anything ever done. We're probably never going to give anyone a run for our money with our English majors but we have established a presence for years in computer science competitions.

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Interesting points all around.

To me, about the only US city in which an apple-to-apples comparison with Orlando works is Las Vegas. Both young Sun Belt cities with explosive growth driven by tourism interests.  In that match up, I think Orlando has done a great job of creating a sense of place beyond the tourism areas. 

Hard to compare our city to places like Nashville and Austin. Both were significant capital cities long before Orlando was a blip on the map.  Being a capital carries quite a bit of cache, as well as provides a sizable workforce downtown. Nashville, like Charlotte and Portland -- two other cities mentioned in the thread -- is also the leading city in the state. It might be hard to quantify, but there's something to be said for being the biggest city in your state. That's where all of your state's industry congregates. Even the leading cities in smaller states, Oklahoma City, Birmingham, etc., have more a corporate presence. Orlando is competing with Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville, with places like Fort Lauderdale, St. Petersburg and other cities not too far behind.

 

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3 hours ago, spenser1058 said:

This is a fun topic for me because I lived in Nashville for 4 years. It's important to note a couple of things:

(1) Nashville is 100 years older than Orlando (President Andrew Jackson, whose home The Hermitage - way out in the Nashville 'burbs btw - was president from 1829-37, almost 40 years before we existed,) so a bit of a head start;

(2) Because it's the state capital, Downtown Nashville always had the employees of the state government to keep it afloat when downtowns were falling out of favor across America from the 1950's-1970's (not coincidentally, that's when Orlando' s great period of growth was beginning, at the very time there was zero interest in downtowns);

(3) Despite that, Nashville still lost two of its biggest employers downtown, L&C and NLT,  along with its major local banks in the 1980's (the NLT Tower, still one of the larger buildings downtown, is now occupied by the State);

(4) I attended a meeting of the Nashville Chamber in the 1980's where there was a great hue and cry as to why they couldn't grow like... Orlando!

(5) The Grand Ole Opry moved out of downtown in the 1970's to the site of the Opryland theme park (it didn't make it, which to this day means Nashville loses a lot of its tourism business to Dollywood and the millions of dollars annually that could remain in the local economy);

(6) Thankfully, just as Orlando rediscovered its downtown, when there was horror expressed that the Ryman Auditorium might be permanently closed, or worse, torn down, the Opry moved back for some performances, jump-starting the tourism/convention business downtown;

(7) A big debate going on when I was there was whether Nashville should be promoted as "Music City". This was a horror to the Vandy/Belle Meade crowd who had always looked down their noses at the country music crowd which was the very thing the rest of the country thought made Nashville unique. In Orlando, we see the same thing with the "downtown crowd," who think our world-class theme parks and the opportunities for upward mobility they create for tens of thousands are somehow beneath contempt. (I say this having straddled the fence as a downtown resident for over 25 years and having worked for pillars of the downtown establishment like the Stuarts even as I came from humble citrus worker roots in West Orange.)

(8) Interestingly, what made Nashville take off in the 1990's and after was not downtown: it was the Bridgestone/Nissan plants out in Rutherford County and the sweepstakes it won (the HQ2 contest of its day) for GM's Saturn plant in Spring Hill.

I should say I loved Nashville but for a Florida boy the weather was a pain (temps well over 100 in the summer - no ocean breezes - and cold from November-March but with not enough snow to allow the landscape to look anything other than dead.) 

The people were very friendly, but 'tho Nashville is more progressive than the rest of Tennessee (which has lurched so far to the right as to make FOX News blush), it still can't approach the built in diversity Orlando has come to champion (one example: on HRC's Municipal Equality Index, Orlando has a perfect 100; Nashville a meh 60.)

As far as amenities, it's well balanced: Nashville wins for music while we do better with local theater and Fringe; they have NFL but we have NBA and MLS; we tend to be stronger on the visual arts; Vandy is a better-respected private school than Rollins (although the Rollins campus is so much more attractive than Vandy) but UCF has come much further in 50 years than TSU or MTSU have in 100.

The bottom line for me was, ironically, downtown. Our close-in neighborhoods like Thornton Park and Eola Heights have much better pedestrian access to downtown than any of Nashville's neighborhoods, due to the river, the 265 loop and urban renewal "slum clearance" in the 50s and 60s. When I left, East Nashville wasn't a thing (I worked for a while in an office at the old Genesco plant on Main St but gentrification had not arrived); I'm especially glad to see that. Also, I had to live without Publix for four years; that too, is no longer the case.

Both cities in the end have much to be proud of but I don't regret my choice to come back home.

Off topic, but you've got to hand it to Vanderbilt for their capital campaign and campus vision:

https://www.vanderbilt.edu/collegehalls/

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As a new Charlottean, ex-Orlandoan, Charlotte has a healthy inner-core, but it doesn't have the organic, close-in historical neighborhoods like Orlando has.

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Instead of moaning about the lack of leadership in Orlando, why not be a leader? The members of this forum seem to engage in a lot of “train spotting” of development projects, but I never see anyone pushing to organise to pressure developers and government agencies to build the kind of city that makes people want to stick around. I don’t live in Orlando (but I care because I grew up there and my extended family is mostly there) and the cities that you cite as great places enjoy a level of civic involvement I don’t often see in transient Orlando. Orlando could use more shared public spaces that don’t cost $100 to enter, more choices for transportation, etc. but often community pressure is needed to push government in the right direction. I will tell you this: most people I know who come to Orlando for business travel hate going there. The Orlando tourism industry has created a substandard product for business travellers, and that creates a deeper impression for business decision makers than any of those Buddy Dyer voice announcements on the airport people movers. It’s the hard truth: very few people over the age of 10 are thrilled at the prospect of visiting Orlando. These people who attend conventions in Orlando are the same people who make the decisions to invest their capital and talents in local businesses. If the brand is poor, they aren’t going to jump at new opportunities.

 

In the age of Trump, the escalating level of civic participation throughout the country gives me hope, but as they say: all politics is local. Potholes do matter.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, jliv said:

Instead of moaning about the lack of leadership in Orlando, why not be a leader? The members of this forum seem to engage in a lot of “train spotting” of development projects, but I never see anyone pushing to organise to pressure developers and government agencies to build the kind of city that makes people want to stick around. I don’t live in Orlando (but I care because I grew up there and my extended family is mostly there) and the cities that you cite as great places enjoy a level of civic involvement I don’t often see in transient Orlando. Orlando could use a large public park, more choices for transportation, walkable areas, etc. but often community pressure is needed to push government in the right direction. I will tell you this: most people I know who come to Orlando for business travel hate going there. The Orlando tourism industry has created a substandard product for business travellers, and that creates a deeper impression for business decision makers than any of those Buddy Dyer voice announcements on the airport people movers. It’s the hard truth: very few people over the age of 10 are thrilled at the prospect of visiting Orlando.

 

In the age of Trump, the escalating level of civic participation throughout the country gives me hope, but as they say: all politics is local. Potholes do matter.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

 

 

 

Funny, lots of folks I know over ten love Orlando. Lost track of the number of people up here who've remarked, "Wow! you're from Orlando ?"

And I've always thought that downtown Orlando was unique for it's "lake in the middle" and its quaint brick streets.

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Funny, lots of folks I know over ten love Orlando. Lost track of the number of people up here who've remarked, "Wow! you're from Orlando ?"
And I've always thought that downtown Orlando was unique for it's "lake in the middle" and its quaint brick streets.


Completely different experience for me. Then again, I have to tell them about Winter Park as a pleasant respite from conventional tourist Orlando.


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7 minutes ago, jliv said:

 

 


Completely different experience for me. Then again, I have to tell them about Winter Park as a pleasant respite from conventional tourist Orlando.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

 

Everybody likes Winter Park. But while living in Orlando, taking out-of-towners downtown was typically a revelation to them. The "real Orlando", so to speak.

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43 minutes ago, jliv said:

Instead of moaning about the lack of leadership in Orlando, why not be a leader? The members of this forum seem to engage in a lot of “train spotting” of development projects, but I never see anyone pushing to organise to pressure developers and government agencies to build the kind of city that makes people want to stick around. I don’t live in Orlando (but I care because I grew up there and my extended family is mostly there) and the cities that you cite as great places enjoy a level of civic involvement I don’t often see in transient Orlando. Orlando could use more shared public spaces that don’t cost $100 to enter, more choices for transportation, etc. but often community pressure is needed to push government in the right direction. I will tell you this: most people I know who come to Orlando for business travel hate going there. The Orlando tourism industry has created a substandard product for business travellers, and that creates a deeper impression for business decision makers than any of those Buddy Dyer voice announcements on the airport people movers. It’s the hard truth: very few people over the age of 10 are thrilled at the prospect of visiting Orlando. These people who attend conventions in Orlando are the same people who make the decisions to invest their capital and talents in local businesses. If the brand is poor, they aren’t going to jump at new opportunities.

 

In the age of Trump, the escalating level of civic participation throughout the country gives me hope, but as they say: all politics is local. Potholes do matter.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I couldn't agree more. I have said in this forum before that Orlando is often joked about elsewhere.  I (yes me!!) often defended Orlando when others derided it.

A problem I have found is that most locals are not particularly well-travelled and they don't have much to compare the area to.  Students in other places in lived in were almost expected to move cities to go to colleges.  They took internships in NYC and DC.  Anyone could jump in a train and visit pretty much anywhere.  

People here are more isolated from other places and, quite honestly, are more insular.  I know a ton of people who have never been anywhere and don't have any interest in traveling.  I know people here who don't leave their own little 2 square-mile neighborhood.  I personally would kill myself if I didn't see different places.

The challenge I am finding is getting people to realize where Orlando stands compared to other places.  Someone once wrote that I am overestimating how bad things are here economically.  I feel I am actually underestimating it.  We are spending money in the wrong places, while other cities are like heat-seeking missiles seeki g great jobs. The change is not only happening in other places...the change is actually accelerating.

And I'd really hate to see my hometown fall more behind.

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Someone on UP lovingly called our city Slowlando and it's pretty fitting IMO. I recently visited family in Toronto and whenever I'm there I do feel a bit envious of their progress.  Not sure how Toronto relates to metro Orlando population-wise and it may be apples to oranges. If housing wasn't so expensive up there, I'd probably sell everything and move. I'm not bashing Orlando's progress at all, but these are the prime years of my life. I'm patient, but not that patient lol.

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6 minutes ago, nite owℓ said:

Someone on UP lovingly called our city Slowlando and it's pretty fitting IMO. I recently visited family in Toronto and whenever I'm there I do feel a bit envious of their progress.  Not sure how Toronto relates to metro Orlando population-wise and it may be apples to oranges. If housing wasn't so expensive up there, I'd probably sell everything and move. I'm not bashing Orlando's progress at all, but these are the prime years of my life. I'm patient, but not that patient lol.

I've been to Toronto several times and am going again in a few weeks. Quick answer: it is SPECTACULAR, possibly my favorite city.

And then Torontonians go to NYC and come back depressed.

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12 minutes ago, Dale said:

I've been to Toronto several times and am going again in a few weeks. Quick answer: it is SPECTACULAR, possibly my favorite city.

And then Torontonians go to NYC and come back depressed.

Never been there, but I hear Toronto is amazing.

Google is building its first Smart City there.  It's going to be the most innovative city in the world. 

 

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48 minutes ago, orlandouprise said:

Very nice explanation Spencer.

 

any chance Orlando could merge and consolidate with Orange County...like Nashville did with Davidson and Jax with Duval?

Having lived in Nashville, Jacksonville, Orlando and unincorporated Orange County, I have to say Orlando city government has been the most responsive to me when I've called with a request. 

Orlando is also the most progressive and welcoming to a gay Democrat like myself. That said, OC is becoming more and more blue every day and I'm not reflexively opposed as I once was.

Having said that, and given that I didn't see any reason to believe consolidated government as more advantageous (mostly, it was bigger and therefore more ponderous), I'm of the opinion, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

I should also add that if the FOX News folks living in Apopka happy with their own little slice of 1950's America  have their bit of heaven while I have mine in Buddy's Wonderland, then I think that's a win-win for everyone.

As of today, neither Jax nor Nashville are politically places I would want to live so I think our decentralized form of government is more to my liking.  There's also lots of in-between like Winter Garden and Ocoee where my cousin Rusty is doing amazing things!

Edited by spenser1058
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2 minutes ago, spenser1058 said:

Having lived in Nashville, Jacksonville, Orlando and unincorporated Orange County, I have to say Orlando city government has been the most responsive to me when I've called with a request. 

Orlando is also the most progressive and welcoming to a gay Democrat like myself. That said, OC is becoming more and more blue every day and I'm not reflexively opposed as I once was.

Having said that, and given that I didn't see any reason to believe consolidated government as more advantageous (mostly, it was bigger and therefore more ponderous), I'm of the opinion, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

I should also add that if the FOX News folks living in Apopka can be happy with their own little slice of 1950's America can have their bit of heaven while I have mine in Buddy's Wonderland, then I think that's a win-win for everyone.

As of today, neither Jax nor Nashville are politically places I would want to live so I think our decentralized form of government is more to my liking.  There's also lots of in-between like Winter Garden and Ocoee where my cousin Rusty is doing amazing things!

Spenser, you ought to give Nashville another shot. Look at what recently deposed Mayor Megan Berry's "inclusive values" enabled her to do.  ;)

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8 minutes ago, orlandouprise said:

I'm just saying...strength in numbers...Buddy could do more with out having to fight Teresa on everything.

The funny thing about that is - when's the last time Buddy had to fight Teresa for anything? After the venues battle, Buddy has pretty much gotten his way ever since (and he got the venues too, for that matter.)

OC went to a modified strong-mayor system in 1990 that was supposed to make the OC mayor the stud duck of the region. Here we are almost 30 years later and Orlando's mayor still sets the agenda.

I'd also add that city staff also tends to have more of an urban mindset than the county does. I'm not at all sure in consolidation that the city's thinking would win out.

Edited by spenser1058

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One more thing (eeek, I sound like Steve Jobs!), I found myself up in Altamonte today for the first time in ages.

The appointment I had was in the very 1970's Crane's Roost Office Park, but to get there I had to circle around the lake and past all the shops and things now adjoining it.

It was a little too suburban cute for my taste, but it was light years better than the all-out sprawl that Altamonte started out with. Further, the apartments along that stretch are still approachable for middle incomes. With the easy access to the mall, it's a walkable environment for most of what you need.

Again, not my first choice, but a great compromise.

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20 minutes ago, spenser1058 said:

One more thing (eeek, I sound like Steve Jobs!), I found myself up in Altamonte today for the first time in ages.

The appointment I had was in the very 1970's Crane's Roost Office Park, but to get there I had to circle around the lake and past all the shops and things now adjoining it.

It was a little too suburban cute for my taste, but it was light years better than the all-out sprawl that Altamonte started out with. Further, the apartments along that stretch are still approachable for middle incomes. With the easy access to the mall, it's a walkable environment for most of what you need.

Again, not my first choice, but a great compromise.

A new complex with 2  more apartment towers is being built there at Crane's Roost.  It will include a 16 and a 10-story building.

IMG_0562.JPG

Edited by I am Reality

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As a Torontonian, you can’t even put Orlando in the same league. Toronto is Global Business City and one of the 10 most Global cities in the world. Toronto has suburbs bigger then Orlando.  

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48 minutes ago, idroveazamboni said:

As a Torontonian, you can’t even put Orlando in the same league. Toronto is Global Business City and one of the 10 most Global cities in the world. Toronto has suburbs bigger then Orlando.  

I didn’t realize anybody had compared us to Toronto. 

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I believe a conv center can be a huge jump starter for an area. Conventions = heads in beds in hotels so more are needed, restaurants are filled. Workers are needed. Retail is needed around them. Transport options are needed. Could a 350-500k SF center in creative village be the answer to fast tracking DT to a vibrant destination? Instead of adding more and more to the existing cc why not build an additional one DT and reap the rewards...?

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