Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Hybrid0NE

Best Skyline (of an Edge City)?

Best Skyline?  

39 members have voted

  1. 1. chose from below...

    • Buckhead
      27
    • Vinings/Galleria
      5
    • Sandy Springs/Perimeter City
      7
    • 0


Recommended Posts


Wow, it's kind of hard for me to think of Buckhead as an edge city. It's been an integral aspect of Atlanta almost since the beginning, and has been within the city limits for over 50 years. My guess is that it may the primary tax base of Atlanta. It's also clearly the city's hotel, shopping, and restaurant center. It's home to many of Atlanta's old line churches, parks and schools, and is arguably the city's most prestigious residential district. It's the site of the Atlanta History Center and is undoubtedly the source of much of Atlanta's funding for the arts and for charity. It's got several MARTA stations, city and local bus service, city utilities and city fire and police service. It has produced many of Altanta's mayors and civic leaders. Just about every major developer in the South has or is currently building a signature Atlanta project there. I'd wager that when out of towners think of Atlanta, many of their images and associations are of the Buckhead area. I'd also guess that Mayor Franklin and the City Council members from Buckhead would faint at the description of Buckhead as an edge city.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, it's kind of hard for me to think of Buckhead as an edge city. It's been an integral aspect of Atlanta almost since the beginning, and has been within the city limits for over 50 years. My guess is that it may the primary tax base of Atlanta. It's also clearly the city's hotel, shopping, and restaurant center. It's home to many of Atlanta's old line churches, parks and schools, and is arguably the city's most prestigious residential district. It's the site of the Atlanta History Center and is undoubtedly the source of much of Atlanta's funding for the arts and for charity. It's got several MARTA stations, city and local bus service, city utilities and city fire and police service. It has produced many of Altanta's mayors and civic leaders. Just about every major developer in the South has or is currently building a signature Atlanta project there. I'd wager that when out of towners think of Atlanta, many of their images and associations are of the Buckhead area. I'd also guess that Mayor Franklin and the City Council members from Buckhead would faint at the description of Buckhead as an edge city.

I think the reason that Buckhead is thought of as an edge city is because it is very suburban in nature.

Nonetheless, it is still a very valuable resource to Atlanta :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the reason that Buckhead is thought of as an edge city is because it is very suburban in nature.

Nonetheless, it is still a very valuable resource to Atlanta :)

LOL! Well, that's an interesting take, IC.

Buckhead is certainly one of the city's primary intown neighborhoods -- it was old Atlanta when I grew up here 50 years ago -- although like virtually all intown neighborhoods in Atlanta it is still auto oriented. This is true not only of the older neighborhoods like Buckhead, West End, Inman Park, Grant Park, Ansley, Druid Hills and Midtown, but more recent suburbs like East Atlanta and Sherwood Forest as well. I won't even begin to comment on what's been built in the last 40 years. By those standards I really don't think Atlanta has many, if any, non-suburban communities. Despite that, all the historic neighborhoods ARE Atlanta and they define our city's unique character. They all share geographic proximity, common services and transportation networks, and of course the same municipal government.

By contrast, I tend to think of "edge cities" as distant, recently developed urban centers such as Alpharetta. I'm not good on measurements but I'm guessing it's only 3 or 4 miles from say, Atlantic Station to Buckhead Village. A good way to get a feel for the linkage along that stretch is to run the Peachtree or just take a Sunday afternoon stroll. It's been pretty much wall to wall for as long as I can remember.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL! Well, that's an interesting take, IC.

Buckhead is certainly one of the city's primary intown neighborhoods -- it was old Atlanta when I grew up here 50 years ago -- although like virtually all intown neighborhoods in Atlanta it is still auto oriented. This is true not only of the older neighborhoods like Buckhead, West End, Inman Park, Grant Park, Ansley, Druid Hills and Midtown, but more recent suburbs like East Atlanta and Sherwood Forest as well. I won't even begin to comment on what's been built in the last 40 years. By those standards I really don't think Atlanta has many, if any, non-suburban communities. Despite that, all the historic neighborhoods ARE Atlanta and they define our city's unique character. They all share geographic proximity, common services and transportation networks, and of course the same municipal government.

By contrast, I tend to think of "edge cities" as distant, recently developed urban centers such as Alpharetta. I'm not good on measurements but I'm guessing it's only 3 or 4 miles from say, Atlantic Station to Buckhead Village. A good way to get a feel for the linkage along that stretch is to run the Peachtree or just take a Sunday afternoon stroll. It's been pretty much wall to wall for as long as I can remember.

Actually, I don't really believe what I just said. Sorry if it came off looking like I did! :blush:

However, there are a few on here that do view Buckhead as such.

I actually more agree with what you said. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Andrea you made some good points. Maybe I should've used a better term but that's the first thing that came to mind. Maybe Best Dec-centralized skyline would've been better?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually - based on the original edge city definition defined by Joel Garrou - Midtown is an edge city.

Buckhead is DEFINITELY an edge city, in fact the quentissential edge city. I think the poll is right on - & yes Buckhead does have the best edge city skyline in addition the closest to being a pedestrian friendly business area.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually - based on the original edge city definition defined by Joel Garrou - Midtown is an edge city.

Buckhead is DEFINITELY an edge city, in fact the quentissential edge city. I think the poll is right on - & yes Buckhead does have the best edge city skyline in addition the closest to being a pedestrian friendly business area.

I realize there's substantial debate about whether the concept of "edge cities" really has validity, but to the extent it does I think this is a pretty good description:

"The archetypal edge city is Tysons Corner, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C. It's located near the junctions of Interstate 495 (the D.C. beltway), Interstate 66, and Virginia 267 (the route from D.C. to Dulles International Airport). Tysons Corner wasn't much more than a village a few decades ago but today it's home to the largest retail area on the east coast south of New York City (that includes Tysons Corner Center, home to six anchor department stores and over 230 stores in all), over 3,400 hotel rooms, over 100,000 jobs, over 25 million square feet of office space. Yet Tysons Corner is a city without a local civic government; much of it lies in unincorporated Fairfax County."

Garreau established five rules for a place to be considered an edge city:

The area must have more than five million square feet of office space (about the space of a good-sized downtown)

The place must include over 600,000 square feet of retail space (the size of a large regional shopping mall)

The population must rise every morning and drop every afternoon (i.e., there are more jobs than homes)

The place is known as a single end destination (the place "has it all;" entertainment, shopping, recreation, etc.)

The area must not have been anything like a "city" 30 years ago (cow pastures would have been nice)

Article

For those of y'all who've lived in the D.C. area, Tyson's is far more analogous to Alpharetta or Perimeter than Buckhead or Midtown. Buckhead and Midtown, although suburban except for a few blocks along Peachtree, have been urbanized for generations in ways that have come to the Perimeter and Alpharetta only in relatively recent years. (I'm sure a lot of y'all can remember pasture land at 285 and Ashford Dunwoody in the 1970s, and even now in parts of north Fulton). Midtown and Buckhead have been legally incorporated in the city limits of Atlanta for a long time and are clearly identified as parts of the city in every respect. They're subject to Atlanta zoning, policing, utilities, politics, taxation, etc. Although they are now traversed by freeways, they were intensively developed long before that and it has really been a matter of forcing the interstates through these intown neighborhoods rather than vice versa.

By contrast, Perimeter, Galleria and Alpharetta have grown specifically around major freeway interchanges. They either exist as relatively small independent cities, or are simply unincorporated county land.

While I can see how Midtown and Buckhead might have fit the somewhat slippery definition of "edge city" 80 or 100 years ago, that's about like saying Atlanta is simply an edge city that's sprung up around metropolitan Decatur. I realize Garreau describes Midtown and Buckhead as two of Atlanta's four edge cities (Perimeter and Galleria being the other two), but his reasoning sounds pretty shaky to me, for the reasons I mentioned above and others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I realize there's substantial debate about whether the concept of "edge cities" really has validity, but to the extent it does I think this is a pretty good description:

"The archetypal edge city is Tysons Corner, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C. It's located near the junctions of Interstate 495 (the D.C. beltway), Interstate 66, and Virginia 267 (the route from D.C. to Dulles International Airport). Tysons Corner wasn't much more than a village a few decades ago but today it's home to the largest retail area on the east coast south of New York City (that includes Tysons Corner Center, home to six anchor department stores and over 230 stores in all), over 3,400 hotel rooms, over 100,000 jobs, over 25 million square feet of office space. Yet Tysons Corner is a city without a local civic government; much of it lies in unincorporated Fairfax County."

Garreau established five rules for a place to be considered an edge city:

The area must have more than five million square feet of office space (about the space of a good-sized downtown)

The place must include over 600,000 square feet of retail space (the size of a large regional shopping mall)

The population must rise every morning and drop every afternoon (i.e., there are more jobs than homes)

The place is known as a single end destination (the place "has it all;" entertainment, shopping, recreation, etc.)

The area must not have been anything like a "city" 30 years ago (cow pastures would have been nice)

Article

For those of y'all who've lived in the D.C. area, Tyson's is far more analogous to Alpharetta or Perimeter than Buckhead or Midtown. Buckhead and Midtown, although suburban except for a few blocks along Peachtree, have been urbanized for generations in ways that have come to the Perimeter and Alpharetta only in relatively recent years. (I'm sure a lot of y'all can remember pasture land at 285 and Ashford Dunwoody in the 1970s, and even now in parts of north Fulton). Midtown and Buckhead have been legally incorporated in the city limits of Atlanta for a long time and are clearly identified as parts of the city in every respect. They're subject to Atlanta zoning, policing, utilities, politics, taxation, etc. Although they are now traversed by freeways, they were intensively developed long before that and it has really been a matter of forcing the interstates through these intown neighborhoods rather than vice versa.

By contrast, Perimeter, Galleria and Alpharetta have grown specifically around major freeway interchanges. They either exist as relatively small independent cities, or are simply unincorporated county land.

While I can see how Midtown and Buckhead might have fit the somewhat slippery definition of "edge city" 80 or 100 years ago, that's about like saying Atlanta is simply an edge city that's sprung up around metropolitan Decatur. I realize Garreau describes Midtown and Buckhead as two of Atlanta's four edge cities (Perimeter and Galleria being the other two), but his reasoning sounds pretty shaky to me, for the reasons I mentioned above and others.

I completely agree w/you Andrea. I don't see how Buckhead & Midtown can be described as edge cities when they are clearly within ATL city limits and account for much of the city's main importance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

By the way, I don't mean to be argumentative or imply personal criticism of anyone in any way whatsoever. There's obviously room for many different opinions on these issues. In fact, a community of people with differing ideas and perspectives is probably one of the most delightful characteristics of urban life!

;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In what I consider 'edge city', no I don't think Midtown is - though arguably, the fact that it was primarily residential 50 years ago does provide some credence. But because it was developed as an extension of downtown in an urban framework does in my mind proove it not to be an edge city.

Buckhead on the other hand, & more importantly Lenox - with is certainly in many ways as different from Buckhead as Midtown is to Downtown, is a true edge city. The Lenox area was just developing as a suburb 50 to 60 years ago, with the development of a shopping center. Just 30 years ago it was still the typical suburban environment, low density single family subdivisions encircling a shopping mall. The Lenox / Buckhead edge city developed as not an extension of the urbanization of Buckhead but as a counter to the decline of the central urban core of Atlanta. Still - this edge city is full independent of the central urban core of Atlanta & is developed as primarily an automobile oriented commercial center. (though it could also be argued that Midtown is as well)...

Being in the city limits has NO influence on being an edge city. In fact being that Buckhead was not incorporated until the 1950's provides some additional validity of it being suburban, the oldest portions of Buckhead are late era streetcar suburbs. Houston, LA & Miami are just a few other large cities that have major business centers that are edge cities within their municipalities.

What is the future prognosis of it's edge city status? Though densification & a greater level of pedestrian orientation is occuring - as long as it is a seperate commercial core from Downtown / Midtown it will continue to be an edge city. The very meaning of edge city has little to do with density or even urbanity - simply it's an isolated commercial center from the CBD. So that doesn't mean Buckhead is going to hell... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People that want to consider Buckhead as an edge city and not Midtown as edge city, must have some personal issues against Buckhead. The replies that Andrea makes are facts and not an opinion. Teshadoh, why do you spend so much time not wanting or trying to persuade people that Buckhead is just an edge city. Are you poor and jealous, wishing you could afford to live there? Are do you live in an area like Edgewood, wanting your area to be urban or part of the city, so you make every effort to try and bring the status of Buckhead to just an edge city. You are the only one that responds so quickly that Buckhead is just an edge city, when someone ask what is, or where is Buckhead. I think it's very interesting that people know of NY city(the bronx, brooklyn, manhattan, etc.) And there is a growing number of people who know of Atlanta and think of Buckhead and sometimes not even Midtown. Even to start this thread, you have to ask youself why? Buckhead clearly has a better skyline than Vinings or Perimeter, just as Midtown does also. You simply wanted to again stress your feelings about Buckhead not being city, just an edge city. Buckhead is not an edge city. It is the city no matter how surburban you think of Buckhead or Midtown. I would hate to think you have to go the edge city to do high end shopping and eating in Atlanta. That would be pathetic for the city.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Lenox area was just developing as a suburb 50 to 60 years ago, with the development of a shopping center. Just 30 years ago it was still the typical suburban environment, low density single family subdivisions encircling a shopping mall. The Lenox / Buckhead edge city developed as not an extension of the urbanization of Buckhead but as a counter to the decline of the central urban core of Atlanta. Still - this edge city is full independent of the central urban core of Atlanta & is developed as primarily an automobile oriented commercial center. (though it could also be argued that Midtown is as well)...

Being in the city limits has NO influence on being an edge city.

I don't recall the Buckhead of 30 years ago as a typical suburban environment encircling a shopping mall. Lenox Square had been built in the 1950's, and had undergone significant renovations and enlargements by the mid-70s. A number of highrises had been built in Buckhead during the 1960's and 70's, and the area clearly had a mature urban feel to it.

It's true, however, that the big boom in construction didn't really hit until a decade later. I had an office in Resurgens Plaza in the late 80's and can remember looking out over the skyline, which by then included older buildings such as Lenox Towers and Tower Place, but many newer ones like the Ritz Carlton, the JW Marriott, Park Place, the Concorde, Atlanta Plaza, Buckhead Plaza, etc. That was also about the same time that Midtown first began to see significant new construction.

I'll have to admit that much of my feeling about this is simply personal and anectdotal. I've lived in the Lenox area for about the last 20 years, and have had offices in downtown, Midtown and Buckhead. To me, Lenox has always subjectively felt very much a part of the city, and certainly as distinctly urban as Midtown. I may be wrong but from a "boots on the ground" standpoint, being in the city limits DOES have a tremendous influence on the character of the area. It's not simply our geographical location in the midst of the city, or the fact that many of our mayors and civic leaders come from Buckhead. Buckhead is a major campaign battlefield in Atlanta politics, and I daresay that no citywide office can be won without the support of Buckhead. Our taxes fund a significant share of Atlanta schools, projects and government. Our zoning follows the Atlanta code, our city services and transportation are provided by Atlanta, our libraries, history, culture, shopping, churches, parks, street names, and virtually every element of life in our community identity has always been distinctly "Atlanta." So to those of us who live here, it at least "feels" like we live in Atlanta rather than some edge city other than Atlanta.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh my, people take this seriously don't they. But Andrea - I really do appreciate your clarification & knowledge of the city, my knowledge of Atlanta is primarily from research, not personal as yours clearly is. Considering this topic is obviously so personal for some - I'll just back off from my defense, attla, chill out - this isn't anything personal.

But I again want to reiterate - municipality boundaries are very irrelevant & arbitrary methods of determing city character or design. By the arguement that Buckhead isn't an edge city because it is in the city limits, Perimeter & Cumberland could be said the same if Atlanta's city limits were as large as Houston's.

And no attla - I live in a marginally urban neighborhood, though I am only a mile from downtown. Realistically Atlanta's only urban environment is in Downtown & in parts through Midtown, with some remaining urban neighborhoods along Auburn Ave or Whitehall St that survived urban renewal. Virginia Highlands, Garden Hills, etc. - as much as I love these neighborhoods, they are inner suburban. And guess what? There is NOTHING WRONG WITH NOT BEING URBAN!

Incidentally - I don't consider myself poor - though thank you for asking - but I still don't care about 'fine dining' or expensive retail in general. I like Old Navy or Target & I like to eat in Virginia Highlands or East Atlanta.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

teshadoh, I very much appreciate your take on this, too -- you're obviously quiet knowledgeable!

The problem, I think, gets back to what we consider "urban". The edge city notion has some validity in my view, but the trick is how you define it. As I mentioned earlier, Garreau proposed five rules for a place to meet his concept of an edge city:

1. The area must have more than five million square feet of office space (about the space of a good-sized downtown)

2. The place must include over 600,000 square feet of retail space (the size of a large regional shopping mall)

3. The population must rise every morning and drop every afternoon (i.e., there are more jobs than homes)

4. The place is known as a single end destination (the place "has it all;" entertainment, shopping, recreation, etc.)

5. The area must not have been anything like a "city" 30 years ago.

The first four rules are easy, although they could apply to Manhattan as well as Tyson's Corner or Alpharetta. The real question when you try to make this sort of classification is whether the area was "anything like a city."

Legal city limits alone certainly don't determine that, although they can be an important factor. I think you have to look at a multiplicity of cultural, historical and economic considerations. I also think you have to give serious weight to what people think about themselves and the area they live in.

It's entirely possible, for example, that people who were living off Mansell Road in 1975 did not consider themselves to be living in Atlanta. For that matter, lots of people living in the Mansell Road area probably still don't think of themselves as Atlantans. However, I do know for a fact that people who live in Buckhead have for generations considered themselves proud, dyed in the wool, 100% Atlantans. And that is how they've been considered by others. Buckhead is unquestionably an integral aspect of the city of Altanta from the legal, historical, economic, cultural, transportation, political, entertainment, educational and just-about-any-other perspective you can imagine.

Now, I think whether an area is urban or suburban is a quite different question. (And I completely agree with you that there's nothing whatsoever wrong with suburban, semi-urban, rural, etc.). Perhaps Garreaux was grasping for at least one definition of urban when he talked about whether or not an area was "anything like a city." Admittedly, that's about as circular as saying a person is not a nurse if they are "not anything like a nurse" and that's probably why his edge city theory has met with so much resistance.

Nonetheless, we all do have some ideas about what constitutes a city and what makes an area "urban." Personally, I don't think the fact that an area is car oriented disqualifies it from being urban or from being a city. Most American cities are car oriented, as are cities in many other parts of the world. My personal feeling is that you are part of an urban area when you think you are, are considered to be by others, and are functioning as such. In other words, I believe it is a matter of identity, both internal and external.

Okay, I've now stated my own ridiculous theory, so I hope everyone will feel free to poke holes in it. I'm reasonably sure it's wrong but I need some help figuring out how and why.

Edited to add: Many Atlantans who live in Buckhead have also lived in other parts of the city and undoubtedly will again. It's as fluid as any part of town. A lot of us shop at Tar-Jay and eat in East Atlanta, too. I had lunch today at one of my favorite places, Thomas Restaurant at the Farmers Market in Forest Park. They've got some of the best fried okra in town.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I absolutely enjoy your 'ridiculous' theories ;)

But allow me to take a few steps back & provide a much simpler definition of an edge city: It isn't the CBD nor is it an extension of the CBD. Midtown of course was in Garreau's mind an edge city & following the strict principles possibly so. But my view is simpler - depending on the population density between a CBD & a sattellite commercial center, determines if it is an edge city.

But another concern is the idea that just because it's an edge city means it is of lesser value or not even 'part of the city'. I fully believe that Buckhead is a part of Atlanta, now I do admit to having a very conceited view of what dictates 'mylanta' - but having been in the city for 50 years I would have to be blind. For that matter, many of the areas of southwest Atlanta along Cascade are very different from intown Atlanta. So just allow me to get that straight, just because I think the Lenox commercial area is an edge city, does not mean I don't think Buckhead is a 'suburb' of Atlanta. It is Atlanta.

Does that make everyone happy?

My third but will be this - and I want to restate this again - there are many cities in the US where the primary business sectors are edge cities. Houston & LA are great examples, many of these edge cities are in urban environments only a few miles detached from the CBD. But they are very much edge cities in the sense they are DETACHED from the urban core of the city.

How about our own classification of edge cities:

Primary Sattellite Commercial Sector: being an edge city in close proximity to the CBD & is nearly an equal in significance

- Buckhead

Secondary Sattellite Commercial Sector: being an edge city in post WWII suburban environment, significant employment base

- Peachtree & Cumberland

Edgeless City - developing edge cities on the near exurban edge of suburbia, these are characterized by low density office parks

- North Point / Windward

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder, however, whether "edge city" is a distinction without a difference in the context you're discussing. As I mentioned earlier, the only only real difference Garreau suggests for his concept of edge cities is that the area was "nothing like a city 30 years ago." That's something we can probably say about zones such as Alpharetta, Perimeter Mall or the Galleria, but I don't see how that terminology makes sense when you're talking about intown neighborhoods like downtown, Buckhead and Midtown which are long-established, well-urbanized, contiguous, economically integrated and historically linked and which have existed under a common municipal government for several generations. I see a very high level of commonality (and relatively little difference) among these three areas vis-a-vis one another, yet signficant differences between them and new communities such as Alpharetta.

Does it help our undersanding to classify Midtown and Buckhead as "edge cities" (or a sub-type of edge city) associated with Atlanta? Or are they simply parts of the urban fabric we call Atlanta because of their historic, political, legal, economic, cultural and geographic unity?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But Andrea - that is another subject that is possibly much more inflamitory for some, the subject regarding 'urban'. That should deserve a thread of it's own, but it is typicall - either here or other urban issue forums highly contentious.

Urban can either be defined as a land use pattern that makes the distinction between undeveloped 'rural' & developed 'urban'. Or urban is a classification of a type of developed environment - 'urban', 'suburban' or even 'exurban'. I believe Garreau is refering to a type of developed environment, 'urban' or 'city', not 'suburban' or 'town'.

Without going into detail on why or how I view my opinion of 'urban', I still view Buckhead as varying degrees of suburban, either inner-suburban (Peachtree St neighborhoods) to modern suburban (Lenox area). Midtown on the other hand developed from the framework of a urban neighborhood.

But that is based on a view of what urban is, because otherwise - you would certainly be correct. If it is developed - it is urban, which is the Census Bureau's general definition, an area of 500 to 1000 people per square mile. But then - in another 5 to 10 years, the Perimeter Center area will have been developed for more than 30 years, does that mean it is no longer an edge city?

But to provide a hint of why my views are based regarding 'urban', this is why - Atlanta, for the size of it's metro - has a remarkably small & unnoticable urban core. This is due to Atlanta not being a large city during the formative urban era leading up to WWII & also due to urban renewal of the 1960's. Most of 'intown' Atlanta - which would be the pre-WWII developed area, is typically known nationally as inner-suburban, or streetcar suburbs. Though they are walkable, provide a mix of uses, & in my view - the perfect developed environment - I'm not sure they qualify as 'urban' by national standards. Because what we consider 'urban' in Atlanta, Virginia Highlands - in Chicago it is considered a suburb - Oak Park. This may not appear to be fair, but when you consider how noticable other southern city's urban core is - Richmond, New Orleans, Louisville, & the modern urban core of Miami, I think we do have to accept it as a reality.

Atlanta simply isn't a very urban city.

But that would be best left to discuss in another thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You say tomatoe, i say...what ever you want to call it, the built environment of Buckhead is very different from Downtown and Midtown. Both DT and MT are built on an urban grid system, which makes them fairly pedestrian friendly (whether or not developers have taken advantage of that is another story...but it's getting better). Buckhead, by contrast, is built in a sub-urban pattern. No grid system, buildings set back from the street, often with parking in between the street and the building, and verry little street front retail (save the tiny little Buckhead village). I don't know whether Buckhead fits the definition of an "edge city" and frankly don't care, but their IS a marked distinction between Buckhead and it's more urban neighbors to the south.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But to provide a hint of why my views are based regarding 'urban', this is why - Atlanta, for the size of it's metro - has a remarkably small & unnoticable urban core. This is due to Atlanta not being a large city during the formative urban era leading up to WWII & also due to urban renewal of the 1960's. Most of 'intown' Atlanta - which would be the pre-WWII developed area, is typically known nationally as inner-suburban, or streetcar suburbs. Though they are walkable, provide a mix of uses, & in my view - the perfect developed environment - I'm not sure they qualify as 'urban' by national standards. Because what we consider 'urban' in Atlanta, Virginia Highlands - in Chicago it is considered a suburb - Oak Park. This may not appear to be fair, but when you consider how noticable other southern city's urban core is - Richmond, New Orleans, Louisville, & the modern urban core of Miami, I think we do have to accept it as a reality.

Atlanta simply isn't a very urban city.

I think it just depends on what one's Holy Grail is, teshadoh. If the standard of "urban" is Manhattan, then I doubt seriously that there will ever be another urban city in North America. The myriad economic and social conditions that drove the development of cities like that simply don't exist anymore in most parts of the US.

I personally don't think that's the only definition of urban, although my interest has far less to do with how "urban" a city may be considered than with how livable and sustainable it is. I'm not at all sure we should rank cities on how dense or urban they are, how many skyscrapers they have, or how big their urban core is. So I don't think Atlantans have to "settle" for being "not very urban."

My own preference runs toward cities that actually don't have a lot of skyscapers, but which have lots of human scale buildings, great walkability and parks, convenient mixed uses, sensible traffic plans and useful public transportation, etc.

I lived over in Virginia Highland for a while and agree with you that it is delightful.

And yeah, I would agree that one of these days we won't think of the Perimter area as being particularly distinct or separate from Atlanta. It's getting pretty close to that status now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with you, Ryan, with the one reservation that I'm not sure what people mean by the phrase "more urban."

One of my personal bugaboos is the practice of putting parking between the building and the street. GAH!!!! That is so wrong for so many reasons, as well as so easily rectified.

:angry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

urban - street connectivity (this almost mandates a grid system, but I suppose good connectivity is possible w/o a true grid), buildings built to the sidewalk, hidden parking, active street uses on the ground floor, built for the pedestrian, many different uses in close proximity

suburban - local, connecter, and arterial street systems, buildings built utilizing a setback, parking often in front of buildings, built for the automobile, different uses seperated into "pods"

This is obviously a gross simplification of what constitutes urban vs suburban, but the existance of towers in a certain area do not urbanity make.

BTW, using my humble definition of urbanity, Va-Hi is most definately urban.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.