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MireLanski

Taking in 95 North

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I took a trip up 95 North the weekend leading into New Years. I went to visit a buddy of mine who lives in District Heights, MD. For those whom are geographically challenged that mere 1-2 minutes from DC. After staying over night my buddy and I went to Philadelphia. And there was something I noticed.

Small towns...and surprisingly sized skylines by way of either height or density. Namely Alexandria, VA and the real sleeper that I couldn't take my eyes off of was Wilmington, DE. For a population around the 76,000 they have 20 story buildings amidst lots of midrises. (Pictures of Wilmington Skyline

I was wondering if towns to the North generally have larger city cores than towns of comparable size in the South.

The construction in Alexandria was really something else. 18-25 story towers being errected and several cranes. I bet the culmination is being fueled by DC.

Another thing I noticed is, Richmond's skyline is larger and denser than Baltimore's.

I wonder what dicates a large city having a large city core? Raleigh and Colorado Springs seem to have a commonality. Large population, small city core. Of course improvments are in the works.

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Density and the incomplete nature of population figures, your geography education sometimes misses this part. Alexandria, Wilmington and the whole of New Jersey for example, consist of towns of tiny land areas, their metros are large though if you look those up, and the skylines will make sense. This is why Atlanta is really the same size as Dallas and Houston even though your Atlas or census lists tell a very different story. And why Boston, DC and Miami are in reality much larger than Phoenix.

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Regional mentality, geography, when population booms occurred.....these all influence what a city looks like. Compact growth happened 1)pre 1920 or so because there was little automobile influence before then, 2)happens often near rivers and coasts and 3) happens in places where people are accustomed to living near each other...I think the south is very tilted towards privacy and distance between neighbors. I personally love how Alexandria has all those highrises going up near a METRO stop and they did not encroach on the historic district, one of the oldest and most intact in the country. George Washington spent most of his time in Alexandria since Washington D.C. had not been built yet (obviously).

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Great observations. It's true, most cities in the northeast are more compact, often denser and higher than a lot of the southern cities I've been to, and a lot of it has to do with transportation, like Jones133 just said.

I'm not sure Richmond's skyline is actually larger or denser than Baltimore's. You just get a lot closer to Richmond's center on 95 than you do Baltimore's. Either way, both towns have some pretty marvelous buildings.

Keep driving north to Connecticut and you'll find a few more reasonably substantial skylines in Norwalk, Stamford, New Haven and Hartford. I make the trip from Durham to Boston a few times a year and just recently took the Palisades Parkway which runs along the cliffs of the Hudson River in New Jersey. There's a scenic overlook to Manhattan there - what a view!

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