Another Question

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Can anyone think of an example of either:

1. A metro area that is doing well with a downtown that is failing?
2. A vibrant downtown that anchors a failing metro area?

3 thoughts on “Another Question

    Mark Miller said:
    March 25, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    1. Worcester, MA according to The Boston Globe. “Whatever the reason, downtown Worcester is the ‘hole in the doughnut’. The suburbs around Worcester are thriving; bringing the money, energy, and creative strengths back into the downtown area is really the challenge.” It has roughly half the area and population of Cincinnati, but slightly higher density.

    Another example is Camden, NJ. “There is little left today except neighborhoods of the extraordinarily poor and their government. Its children are the poorest in the nation; 61 percent live below the Federal poverty level. Everything has flown over the wall that could. Where did everyone go? A 10-minute drive away, to the thriving suburbs of Camden County. There, tens of thousands of cars clog highways lined with businesses and stores that offer more jobs than anyone can fill; there live the families that left Camden 20 years ago and have hardly looked back. In a mostly suburban county of 500,000 people, property taxes are rising to pay the growing bills of urban decay. While an underclass remains isolated and unemployed in the city, businesses in the suburbs are starving for workers.

    2. I can’t find a single example. If the metro area is failing (e.g. Detroit, Cleveland) then the downtown fails with it. One notable opposite seems to be Austin, TX, where the whole area is thriving. But their downtown appears to be outpacing even their stronger ‘burbs. This seems to be the exception.

    cincystreetcar responded:
    March 26, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Worcester is slightly smaller than Dayton, about the size of Grand Rapids. It might be the exception to the general rule that so goes downtown, so goes the region

    Camden is part of the Philadelphia Metro Area. It is across the river from Philly, kind of like Newport is to Cincinnati. So I don’t know if it is the best candidate.

    Chris S said:
    March 26, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Worcester is a completely depressed manufacturing era boom town that has never recovered. The downtown area is dead.

    The suburbs are thriving, but not because they are suburbs of Worcester, but because the Worceseter suburbs are still within commuting distance of Boston, and Boston’s Metro West jobs centers.

    Worcester is a very poor example here because it is the population density of the Boston metro area that makes the suburbs of Worcester feasible, not Worcester itself.

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