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mattnf

definining downtown

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The term "downtown" means different things to different people and in different cities. Sometimes it's defined as central business districts. Others also include densely-populated centrally located neighborhoods nearby. Where I live (Toronto) many suburbanites use "downtown" for the whole city core.

So how would people define downtowns in general, or in cities they live or know?

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Traditionally, downtown is the oldest/most important part of a city. Downtown Atlanta isn't the oldest part (that's Fairlie-Poplar, the old downtown from the early 20th century and late 19th century), but it was and probably still is the most important part of the city.

Downtown Atlanta today can probably be stretched, like HybridONE said, to Midtown and the Grant Park & Turner Field. Fairlie-Poplar has been a part of our traditional downtown for a long time.

Downtowns might also not be referred to as a "downtown". In Charlotte, some people call it Uptown, for example. Downcity providence might be similar to that, but a Providence forumer would have to tell you more.

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Downtowns might also not be referred to as a "downtown". In Charlotte, some people call it Uptown, for example. Downcity providence might be similar to that, but a Providence forumer would have to tell you more.

Natives call downtown Providence downcity, although I am a native, and I call it downtown. In fact, I pretty much consider all of the limits of Providence (only 18 sq. miles) to be "downtown," since the city is small in area but has a larger metro around it. Probly an age gap thing, I've seen it called downcity on old maps.

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I'd call the downtown pretty much along the boundaries of its central business district, although New York City is the one exception in my experience, since so much of Manhattan is a CBD.

The term "downcity" reminds me of a term emerging from the Squirrel Hill neighborhood in Pittsburgh, where I had friends growing up and spent plenty of time. When kids were heading to the central retail area of the neighborhood they were going "upstreet."

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I think a modern downtown can be described as the traditional CBD & any adjoining 'new downtown' or urban edge city. In Atlanta's case it is Downtown & Midtown. An additional definition could be adjoining areas of high housing unit ratios - indicating large number of multifamily complexes and also areas of high mixed usages. So - I would add Castleberry Hill & Auburn Ave to what is downtown.

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I'm not a native Rhode Islander, and I usually call Downtown Providence, Downcity. It's an historic name, but has come back in recent years as a marketing term. Downtown Providence is a clearly defined area and is one of Providence's 25 neighbourhoods. Though since a neighbourhood is not a political unit the way a city or state is, the area each neighbourhood covers is open to interpretation.

PVD-Hoods-MAP.gif

Downtown Providence and Downcity Providence are also not considered to be the same exact area geographically. The northern edge of Downtown is called Capital Center and is not considered part of Downcity for example.

The northern area of Upper South Providence is universally known as the Jewelry District, and one could argue that once Route 195 is moved south of the Jewelry District it could be consdiered part of Downtown.

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In Quito, downtown is the oldest part of the city, the colonial, historic center. The most comercial area is in the north, but it is not considered downtown. Quito is a very large city, because it constructed betwwen mountains, and thus, it is very difficult to organize it as others cities, which are more "symmetric". Unfortunatelly, in Quito, everybody build where they want, with no concern about city's laws or planifications.

:ph34r:

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Tucson's Downtown/CBD is so small that other neighborhoods are often included in the definition, and sometimes rightly so, like the Fourth Avenue Commercial District.

A lot of people just refer to this area as "Central" and then to the real Downtown as "Downtown" though.

Houston also had the same behavior. People living in the suburbs would generally refer to anything inside the loop (610) as "Downtown" whereas people actually living inside the loop would instead use the correct neighborhood designations (Heights, Montrose, Midtown, etc.). Downtown Houston is pretty large, so I never saw any reasoning for this.

In Phoenix, most people say "Downtown" for the Downtown area as well as the Central Avenue corridor that also serves as a CBD (and offers an equally-impressive skyline) running north out of the real Downtown until about Indian School Road. However, each Phoenix suburb also has its own Downtown, but this is referred to as "Downtown Tempe," "Downtown Glendale," "Downtown Chandler," etc., and never just "Downtown."

Are there any examples of cities that are not suburbs that do not have what could be considered a Downtown?

Just curious.

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In Minneapolis, our downtown has very specific boundries. It includes the CBD and several residential neighborhoods surrounding it. The Downtown is bordered by highways on three sides and the mighty mississippi on the other.

The name downtown refers to the fact that the adresses are the low numbers as oppossed to uptown --which is where the numbers go up -- which is quite different than Saint Paul where the number system makes no sense at all :)

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Originally "downtown" meant the south part of the city which had the main business district. Many cities just borrowed the term over the years to describe their main business district even though the section isn't geographicaly on the southern section of the city. These cities actualy have cbd's. All too often sections that border cbd's or downtowns are included. NYC & Detroit for example still have the traditional downtown and have midtown and uptown areas that move northward. Detroits "midtwown" district is the university & cultural districs, and its "uptown" district is better known as the Newcenter district(which is the secondary business or corporate district).

Detroit also has areas that stretch about 3 miles east of downtown, like Lafayette Park, Rivertown, & the Goldcoast. All too often even people from Michigan will call all the adjoining areas downtown, and this tends to be a very popular trend in many other cities. Just because these areas are in the central part of the city, and or have continuous urban build up does not make them part of downtown.

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New York City defined the terms downtown, midtown and uptown that we use today. Downtown was the traditional business center of NYC, so other cities followed suit. NYC is probably one of the few exceptions to the rule of thumb that "downtown" is the CBD, since arguably all of Manhattan IS the CBD. In this case Downtown, Midtown, and Uptown refer to directions on the island as well as locations within the City and for all intents and purposes, the CBD of the New York metro area.

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A downtown to me is wherever theres a government center, a financial district, a cultural center, a retail core, and residential neighborhoods within blocks of each other. I know that's not always the case. I think rightfully a downtown should be a city or town's retail heart. But don't ask me, I could be wrong... I'm so out of my league here!

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I'm an Australian and Downtown Sydney

is the oldest part of Australia, even older than Parramatta.

The landmarks include the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Tower,

Queen Victoria Building, and the Chifley Tower.

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A downtown to me is wherever theres a government center, a financial district, a cultural center, a retail core, and residential neighborhoods within blocks of each other. I know that's not always the case. I think rightfully a downtown should be a city or town's retail heart. But don't ask me, I could be wrong... I'm so out of my league here!

Well if you consider that the case, then consider the largest mall in your city as downtown. But I believe for a city to be successful, it needs a strong internal core.

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A down town used to represent the central business district of a city that included most of the shops and services. It's where people hung out. It's where you saw movies, bought clothes, and went when you were bored and had money to burn.

With the recent irresponsible, unsustainable, car-friendly sprawl-developments down town is the part of town that is "down."

Let's ditch the acre-sized big box blunders and put some "kick" back into town. And by all means... get out of your car for more than the 10 seconds it takes you to waddle from the car to the door.

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To purists, DT Boston is the Financial District including the downtown crossing shopping area. The Back Bay contains a large office segment, with the cities tallest buildings, and a large victorian residential neighborhood mixed with shopping and entertainment. Bostons CBD now extends from the Seaport District to North Station and south Station and on through the Back Bay to the Longwood Mdical area. Kendal square in Cambridge is something of an extension of the Boston's CBD. This entire area has extensive subway service, endless streetwalls, lots of skyscrapers, banks, museums, all types of shopping, and both low rise and hi rise residential.

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I've always considered downtown as the original established city center. The place where the city probably began trade and commerce. Traditionally the city formed and grew from and around it. In many cities. It has become undistinguihable in many places but it's roots would be traced to the cities enter.

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