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citifiedlbj

Is the STL bigger and faster than the ATL?

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I was talking with a coworker at work yesterday, she lived in the St. Louis area for about 5 years and she said that STL was bigger than Atl. I was wondering about that since ATL has a much bigger metropolitan population. I never been to STL before. I know that St. Louis is by far more dense than Atlanta judging from pictures I have seen posted by other forumers. Does being more dense and developed make a city bigger than one less dense? Anyone from Atlanta or St. Louis that have visited both cities ?

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Lets compare...

Saint Louis:

Population

352,572 in city and 2,848,399 in metro

Total of 296 high-rise buildings

Tallest Building: Metropolitan Square - 181 m

Biggest Company: Emerson Electric - Rank 126 on Fortune 500-2006

Atlanta:

Population

470,688 in city and 5,249,121 in metro

Total of 391 high-rise buildings

Tallest Building: Bank Of America Plaza - 312 m

Biggest Company: Home Depot - Rank 14 on Fortune 500-2006

So, in all, Atlanta beats STL in everything.

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St Louis' density: 5,623 ppl/square mile.

Atlanta's density: 3,161 ppl/square mile.

I'd say that population density is a pretty major indicator of how 'big' or urban a city feels, though not an absolute one. That said, St. Louis is not a particularly dense city by that measure. Atlanta just happens to be one of the least dense major center cities in the country. That is one fact that boosters neglect to mention when they say that the city population (of what, 450k) is very small compared to the metro population. That might be a rational argument in cities that have dense centers and constricted borders -- Boston or San Francisco, for instance -- but not for a city whose municipal boundaries are as rambling as Atlanta's and includes so many low-density areas.

Anecdotally, from what I've heard, St. Louis does seem to have more of a downtown lifestyle. Coming from lots of other cities, the deadness of many central Atlanta areas can be pretty shocking. There was a thread a while back about downtown populations and densities of U.S. cities. Even Atlanta's downtown population density was comparatively very low -- and I think it included much of Midtown -- suggesting that the city's overall low density isn't just a consequence of including a lot of underdeveloped land, like those areas within the city limits that stretch southwest of 285.

I would argue that every single measure CusK cites is pretty much irrelevant to the experience of being in either city. That's what you're talking about, right? The "sense" of bigness you get from being a human being at street level. That is what cities are about, not skyscraper height, Fortune 500 companies, or arbitrary population counts.

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I would argue that every single measure CusK cites is pretty much irrelevant to the experience of being in either city. That's what you're talking about, right? The "sense" of bigness you get from being a human being at street level. That is what cities are about, not skyscraper height, Fortune 500 companies, or arbitrary population counts.

I have to agree. Thank you dixiecupdrinking for bringing up the issues the topic starter is looking for. These SS fanboi stats get rather tiring.

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Just drove through St Louis recently, & regarding any comparison about 'urbanity', I would agree - St Louis is much bigger than Atlanta. Sadly though, there is also a massive amount of abandoned buildings which I didn't expect to be as prominant. But also from pictures I've seen of the neighborhoods, St Louis is easily more urban than Atlanta.

But 'bigger'... I don't know how to quantify that.

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Ack! What happened? I could have sworn I posted twice accidentally. Oops.

anyway, thanks m.

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i never been to st. louis before so i really have no right to say. Do you know what factors that stl has that might contribute to the overall feeling that it is a much bigger city than atlanta?

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i never been to st. louis before so i really have no right to say. Do you know what factors that stl has that might contribute to the overall feeling that it is a much bigger city than atlanta?

As I mentioned - urbanity. Very hard to 'prove' that point, but late 19th century & early 20th century era development is simply far more imposing than modern standards. So - downtown St Louis 'looks' bigger than downtown Atlanta b/c of the wall-to-wall buildings & extends further. Also, the residential neighborhoods are more compact & street-oriented than those in Atlanta, so that also gives the impression that St Louis, at least was, larger than Atlanta.

Just a tip - a good way to identify the size is by reviewing the population in the early 1900's. St Louis was one of the largest cities in the US at that time, Atlanta was still only a regional significant city. Otherwise, in terms of metro size or urbanized area - Atlanta is larger than St Louis.

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Somehow I have this impression of St. Louis as a city that's still struggling to stave off urban decay and population loss. While the core of the city may be vibrant and picking up steam, outside of the very center of downtown, the city is de-urbanizing.

My impression of Atlanta however is that it's urbanizing in many neighborhoods in a real way and at a rapid pace.

Once again, this is just my impression based on very little in the way of personal observation.

So maybe we could put it this way... between these two cities, St. Louis is the 'was' and Atlanta is the 'will be'.

Am I just way off target here?

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Am I just way off target here?

No not really. Other than Detroit, STL has suffered more urban decay than just about anywhere else in the USA. One benefit is that it is a city waiting for renewal as it did not go through a lot of the horrific urban renewal programs in the 60s and 70s (except for the arch area) that bulldozed down most of the older cities in the US. There are vast neighborhoods that if rennovated, would be great places to live.

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I will say that flying into STL in June, I was amazed at the large number of inner core neighborhoods. Looked like a lot of urban neighborhoods with a LOT of potential. I also was pleasantly surprised with the airport there. Hopefully STL can turn their fortunes around, as it looks like a place with lots of promise for renewal.

As far as being bigger and faster than the ATL, no way. Atlanta has it all over STL and as mentioned before, denser urbanization is occuring all over the ATL metropolex. (at least I haven't had the pleasure of using ATL's airport, I hear it can be overwhelming not to mention delays!)

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I will say that flying into STL in June, I was amazed at the large number of inner core neighborhoods. Looked like a lot of urban neighborhoods with a LOT of potential. I also was pleasantly surprised with the airport there. Hopefully STL can turn their fortunes around, as it looks like a place with lots of promise for renewal.

I got this same feeling from driving around St. Louis last November. It reminded me a lot of Chicago in that respect, with the more urban brick apartment buildings all surrounding the downtown area. My wife's stepbrother (my stepbrother-in-law?) lives in one and loves it. It's not nearly as rough as it looks... it's actually quite nice.

St. Louis has a lot of density in its downtown area, so it definitely has that "large" feel to it. I've never been to Atlanta, though, so I'll end my comments here as I can't truly compare the two.

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Just a tip - a good way to identify the size is by reviewing the population in the early 1900's. St Louis was one of the largest cities in the US at that time, Atlanta was still only a regional significant city. Quote

I agree with this statement...in 1920 St. Louis's population was almost 800,000 and most of these people probably lived in relatively urban areas out of necessity (if not mixed use buildings and streets, then relatively dence neighborhoods). In the same year Atlanta's was only 200,000. I would imagine that much of the development was kinda sprawly since then, but it still leaves St. Louis with a much larger urban infrastructure than Atlanta's.

I think you will be hard pressed to find a city less urban than Atlanta really...but that could change in the next 10 or 20 years. My opinion is that we need to stop going up. We have a great skyline as it is...lets improve the pedestrian experience a little.

I really like projects like (sorry I don

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I have spent considerable time in both cities and am baffled by those who think St. Louis is "bigger and faster" than Atlanta. Frankly, I don't really think of either as "big" or "fast", but St. Louis feels surprising small and provincial to me. Atlanta, though lacking in density, feels far more "major league" to me.

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I have spent considerable time in both cities and am baffled by those who think St. Louis is "bigger and faster" than Atlanta. Frankly, I don't really think of either as "big" or "fast", but St. Louis feels surprising small and provincial to me. Atlanta, though lacking in density, feels far more "major league" to me.

As mentioned above St. Louis is obviously the more dense and larger urban center but still if I had no clue about population or anything else its hard for me to imagine having the perception that St. Louis was the larger city.

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I have spent considerable time in both cities and am baffled by those who think St. Louis is "bigger and faster" than Atlanta. Frankly, I don't really think of either as "big" or "fast", but St. Louis feels surprising small and provincial to me. Atlanta, though lacking in density, feels far more "major league" to me.

I agree. Atlanta is more comparable to Dallas-Ft Worth or Houston, it's sizably bigger than St Louis. I guess you could make a core city comparison but Atlanta still has a much bigger feel to it. I'm from neither place but have spend a good bit of time in both areas so I think I'm pretty objective.

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I agree. Atlanta is more comparable to Dallas-Ft Worth or Houston, it's sizably bigger than St Louis. I guess you could make a core city comparison but Atlanta still has a much bigger feel to it. I'm from neither place but have spend a good bit of time in both areas so I think I'm pretty objective.

Atlanta does feel bigger, much bigger, but that is because it is really a suitcase city, few people actually live there. For the people that live in the city proper I'm sure it looks like Chicago, but really they are in a city significantly smaller than Charlotte!

I wonder if Dallas really is a good comparason...sure the metros are about the same size...but the cities themselves are quite different. Dallas proper is about 3 times the size of Atlanta proper. If this thread was in the skyscraper forum, then maybe its a good comparison, but as far as urbanity goes...I dont know.

So yes, it does look bigger, especially from far away, but without the older denser infrastructure that St. Louis has, to me on the ground it feels "less urban" but still bigger...if that can happen. :blink:

Thats not to say in the future that wont change....

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Atlanta does feel bigger, much bigger, but that is because it is really a suitcase city, few people actually live there. For the people that live in the city proper I'm sure it looks like Chicago, but really they are in a city significantly smaller than Charlotte!

I wonder if Dallas really is a good comparason...sure the metros are about the same size...but the cities themselves are quite different. Dallas proper is about 3 times the size of Atlanta proper. If this thread was in the skyscraper forum, then maybe its a good comparison, but as far as urbanity goes...I dont know.

So yes, it does look bigger, especially from far away, but without the older denser infrastructure that St. Louis has, to me on the ground it feels "less urban" but still bigger...if that can happen. :blink:

Thats not to say in the future that wont change....

"Atlanta does feel bigger, much bigger, but that is because it is really a suitcase city, few people actually live there."

Do you mean that Atlanta has more leisure and business travelers in the city on a daily basis as compared to St. Louis, making it "feel" bigger than it is?

And I would venture to guess that locals still outnumber tourists, business people, and conventioneers when it comes to counting Atlanta's "daytime" population.

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Do you mean that Atlanta has more leisure and business travelers in the city on a daily basis as compared to St. Louis, making it "feel" bigger than it is?

Right, all the people who drive in from the burbs and leave town at 5.

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Atlanta does feel bigger, much bigger, but that is because it is really a suitcase city, few people actually live there. For the people that live in the city proper I'm sure it looks like Chicago, but really they are in a city significantly smaller than Charlotte!

I wonder if Dallas really is a good comparason...sure the metros are about the same size...but the cities themselves are quite different. Dallas proper is about 3 times the size of Atlanta proper. If this thread was in the skyscraper forum, then maybe its a good comparison, but as far as urbanity goes...I dont know.

So yes, it does look bigger, especially from far away, but without the older denser infrastructure that St. Louis has, to me on the ground it feels "less urban" but still bigger...if that can happen. :blink:

Thats not to say in the future that wont change....

All of this is extremely relative... Yes technically the city of Charlotte is bigger... so is Louisville, Ky... thier city limits are also much much bigger (in the case of Louisville... its the whole county now)... This means very little-- the only significant way to measure comparative size in American cities anyway is by metro area... as far as this mysterious suitcase thing... I would NEVER think of Charlotte or Louisville as being in the same league with Atlanta, much less as bigger... I don't really get it... the city of Atlanta is growing by some 10,000+/- per year now in an area of only about 130 sq. miles... Its daytime pop. is 250K more or so...

Much of the way a city feels has to do with the era in which its most significant growth occured... for Atlanta thats the 1950's to Now and seems to be accelerating...

Density has more to do with history than anything else (it may be the future of American cities as well)...

As for feel... Atlanta has quite a bit of urban energy... has since I can remember (as a child in the the 60s)... sort of like you can feel it growing (how's that for a non-literal, undefinable unprovable observation)...

While I wish St Louis all the luck in the world... it seems that it is a city whose prime has passed...that doesn't mean it can't be or isn't a great place... it just may means that its future growth potential is limited... and as for Atlanta... those of us that live here know that growth is a double edged sword...

But, all in all I prefer the messy vibrancy of the place-- warts and all...

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I've driven through St. Louis many times and I can say that while it is a major city, it didn't make me go "WOW". The awe factor just wasn't there. The Gateway Arch was impressive but I had driven through Atlanta, Chattanooga, and Nashville before going up there and to be honest, Nashville felt just as urban as St. Louis with Atlanta being far and away more urban. I guess all in all, it was a typical, large city with an extra bit of density in the core. It just didn't last long enough and took only a few minutes to blow through town.

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As I mentioned - urbanity. Very hard to 'prove' that point, but late 19th century & early 20th century era development is simply far more imposing than modern standards. So - downtown St Louis 'looks' bigger than downtown Atlanta b/c of the wall-to-wall buildings & extends further. Also, the residential neighborhoods are more compact & street-oriented than those in Atlanta, so that also gives the impression that St Louis, at least was, larger than Atlanta.

Just a tip - a good way to identify the size is by reviewing the population in the early 1900's. St Louis was one of the largest cities in the US at that time, Atlanta was still only a regional significant city. Otherwise, in terms of metro size or urbanized area - Atlanta is larger than St Louis.

St. Louis' downtown core may be more dense, but in no way does St. Louis seem bigger than Atlanta. It is completely dwarfed by Atlanta in size. Atlanta's skyline is much more impressive than St. Louis as well.

I really don't get it. Atanta's built-up area is much more spread out, too. It sounds like the co-worker, to whom the post was being argued was your typical northerner who still holds onto a lot of outdated stereotypes about the south, despite how ludicrous they are.

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After seeing some census numbers, it's evident the STL's heydays have passed. STL peaked around 1950 and has lost over 500K since then. I would say ATL's heydays are here and now and for sometime to come!!!

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After seeing some census numbers, it's evident the STL's heydays have passed. STL peaked around 1950 and has lost over 500K since then.

That's true for just about any sizable city in 1950: New Orleans, Memphis, Washington, Detriot, Baltimore, Cincinatti, Boston, Milwaukee, etc. Truth is, most of our cities are only just beginning to see signs of a turning tide.

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Just drove through St Louis recently, & regarding any comparison about 'urbanity', I would agree - St Louis is much bigger than Atlanta. Sadly though, there is also a massive amount of abandoned buildings which I didn't expect to be as prominant. But also from pictures I've seen of the neighborhoods, St Louis is easily more urban than Atlanta.

But 'bigger'... I don't know how to quantify that.

Funny how "more urban" (an elitist term for social engineers) St. Louis is growing at a snail's pace (no offense to St. Louis-one of my favorite cities-and one for which I wish more success) compared to "low-density" (an elitist term for social engineers) Atlanta. It's easy to see which lifestyle trumps the other and it's easy to tell which way people wish to live no matter the efforts of the Socialist Engineers of America. Around the world, city density is falling as people grow wealthier and move to less "dense" areas. In the U.S. the fastest growing areas are low density. The main reason older dense cities are growing is because of immigration. Once upward mobility is achieved, they too head for thier own little dream in the suburbs.

As for the main question, I'm afraid St. Louis is the smaller of the two. Both in population (the only determining factor-cities are ranked by population only) and area.

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