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  #61  
Old Posted Sep 17, 2019, 4:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Handro View Post
Agreed. I do like Elmhurst but the actual walkable downtown is considerably smaller than some of those you listed. It does have some nice, quintessential American suburban leafy residential streets--but so does Geneva, Park Ridge, Naperville, etc.

I think the tiers look like this:

1. Oak Park/Evanston
2. Elmhursts (walkable downtown, a least a moderate selection of local businesses, interesting housing stock)
3. Schaumburgs (extremely auto-centric, cookie cuttetr strip malls, housing stock made entirely of subdivisions built between 1965-2005)
I like this analysis but I think you're missing a tier.

1. Dense, Vibrant Suburbs: Evanston, Oak Park (I recently moved to Evanston so I've got to list it as #1 now..I still love Oak Park though)
2. Well developed, stereotypical pre-war suburban downtowns oriented around a train station: Elmhurst, LaGrange, Glen Ellyn, Park Ridge, Highland Park, Naperville etc..
3. Missing Tier: Transit oriented but punching below their weight, generally only with sparse pre-war bones: Glenview, Northbrook, Deerfield. I'm sure there's more examples here but that's the region of the metro I know best. Btw, I personally think these towns have great potential over the next several decades if they can pull their Nimby heads out of their collective butts because they generally still have some nice developable parcels close to the metra. These places aren't great right now, but they're a hell of a lot better than Schaumburg.
4. Pure suburban hellhole: Schaumburg, Riverwoods, Oak Brook, Lincolnshire, Vernon Hills
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  #62  
Old Posted Sep 17, 2019, 4:09 PM
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^ 100% agree with your missign 3rd tier.

we don't go straight from elmhursts and park ridges and lagranges to schaumburgs and bolingbrooks.


i'd also like to introduce a new category for places like cicero, berwyn, and elmwood park: relatively high density bungalow belt burbs that would very easily just be city neighborhoods had they ever been annexed by the city, but lack the defining downtown center of burbs like evanston and oak park. their commercial development much more closely aligns with the linear commercial arterial street model of city neighborhoods.
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  #63  
Old Posted Sep 17, 2019, 4:11 PM
the urban politician the urban politician is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckman821 View Post
I like this analysis but I think you're missing a tier.

1. Dense, Vibrant Suburbs: Evanston, Oak Park (I recently moved to Evanston so I've got to list it as #1 now..I still love Oak Park though)
2. Well developed, stereotypical pre-war suburban downtowns oriented around a train station: Elmhurst, LaGrange, Glen Ellyn, Park Ridge, Highland Park, Naperville etc..
3. Missing Tier: Transit oriented but punching below their weight, generally only with sparse pre-war bones: Glenview, Northbrook, Deerfield. I'm sure there's more examples here but that's the region of the metro I know best. Btw, I personally think these towns have great potential over the next several decades if they can pull their Nimby heads out of their collective butts because they generally still have some nice developable parcels close to the metra. These places aren't great right now, but they're a hell of a lot better than Schaumburg.
4. Pure suburban hellhole: Schaumburg, Riverwoods, Oak Brook, Lincolnshire, Vernon Hills
I agree with this list.

For example, Elmhurst belongs in a tier above places like Hinsdale or Lake Forest. Even though the latter have nice, charming downtowns, they seem sort of stuck in the past.

The Elmhursts, Arlington Heights, etc of the world deserve a "higher" tier because they are building new, relatively denser structures in their downtowns. We need to see more of this kind of thing in some of the other prewar commuter burbs. Progress continues, but I'd like to see a whole lot more.
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  #64  
Old Posted Sep 17, 2019, 4:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
yeah, after evanston and oak park, i don't see a clear #3 in chicagoland either.

i mean, elmhurst is certainly in the next tier down, and a fine enough place for what it is, but does it clearly stand above downers grove, highland park, naperville, park ridge, des plaines, arlington heights, lagrange, hinsdale, glen ellyn, geneva, wheaton, etc?

i don't think so.
Have you seen the amount of TOD construction going on in Elmhurst? Just saying it's taking full advantage of its Metra stop, not to mention being relatively close-in to the Loop, whether by transit or even <gasp> car.

Perhaps it's just that it's one of the suburbs I'm most familiar with, having spent a decent amount of time out there due to a few breweries/brewpubs I really like.

Aaron (Glowrock)
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  #65  
Old Posted Sep 17, 2019, 4:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glowrock View Post
Have you seen the amount of TOD construction going on in Elmhurst?
I've seen it and have literally nothing but good things to say about Elmhurst, but there's a lot of stiff competition in the top of that second tier. I agree with Steely that there is no clear favorite.
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  #66  
Old Posted Sep 17, 2019, 4:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
i'd also like to introduce a new category for places like cicero, berwyn, and elmwood park: relatively high density bungalow belt burbs that would very easily just be city neighborhoods had they ever been annexed by the city, but lack the defining downtown center of burbs like evanston and oak park. their commercial development much more closely aligns with the linear commercial arterial street model of city neighborhoods.
^ I don't know, I just did a streetview tour of Berwyn and it seems to have its own little distinct downtown, unless I"m missing something.

It's not on the level of a Downers Grove or LaGrange, but it certainly seems to be on par with a lot of other Metra suburban downtowns
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  #67  
Old Posted Sep 17, 2019, 4:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glowrock View Post
Perhaps it's just that it's one of the suburbs I'm most familiar with, having spent a decent amount of time out there due to a few breweries/brewpubs I really like.
that's probably what's going on.

i really like what elmuhurst is doing to improve its downtown with TOD. it absolutely should be commended for its progressive thinking about growth. however, i just don't think elmhurst has made the leap out of tier 2 burbs and into tier 1 with evanston and oak park.

that said, as far as the original question asked in the thread title, elmhurst is a perfectly cromulent answer.



Quote:
Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
^ I don't know, I just did a streetview tour of Berwyn and it seems to have its own little distinct downtown, unless I"m missing something.

It's not on the level of a Downers Grove or LaGrange, but it certainly seems to be on par with a lot of other Metra suburban downtowns
yeah, berwyn has more of that traditional downtown centered around a metra station thing going on. i was really thinking more about where to put cicero in the tiers. it's the most densely populated suburb of chicago, but lacks a cohesive center. more than any other burb i can think of, cicero truly feels like an extension of the city that simply never got annexed, much like enclaved burbs norridge and harwood heights.
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  #68  
Old Posted Sep 17, 2019, 6:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
that's probably what's going on.

i really like what elmuhurst is doing to improve its downtown with TOD. it absolutely should be commended for its progressive thinking about growth. however, i just don't think elmhurst has made the leap out of tier 2 burbs and into tier 1 with evanston and oak park.

that said, as far as the original question asked in the thread title, elmhurst is a perfectly cromulent answer.





yeah, berwyn has more of that traditional downtown centered around a metra station thing going on. i was really thinking more about where to put cicero in the tiers. it's the most densely populated suburb of chicago, but lacks a cohesive center. more than any other burb i can think of, cicero truly feels like an extension of the city that simply never got annexed, much like enclaved burbs norridge and harwood heights.
It might not have a cohesive downtown but Cermak avenue always seemed to me like the heart of Cicero with all the businesses on it.
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  #69  
Old Posted Sep 17, 2019, 6:47 PM
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It might not have a cohesive downtown but Cermak avenue always seemed to me like the heart of Cicero with all the businesses on it.
yeah, that's kinda my point. the long linear commercial strip down cermak more closely resembles typical city neighborhood style commercial development as opposed to the railroad suburb set-up of an assortment of commercial buildings all clustered into a neat little downtown area centered around the metra station.
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  #70  
Old Posted Sep 17, 2019, 7:01 PM
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For South Florida, Coral Gables is the best in Miami-Dade County. Many of the beach towns in Palm Beach and Broward are also good. Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Hollywood, etc.
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  #71  
Old Posted Sep 17, 2019, 9:27 PM
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When I lived in L.A., San Marino was my favorite. Has one of the most beautiful museum/library/art gallery/botanical garden complexes in the world--the Huntington. Also like the westside beach towns for the cool weather in summer and interesting things to do. In San Diego, Coronado and La Jolla if you have money, and Mission Beach, Ocean Beach and Pt. Loma for those with a bit less money (still expensive though). Downtown is OK too. Oceanside coast has cool weather and the prices are quite affordable, although there are pockets of less desirable areas. Nearby Carlsbad is nice but more pricey.
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  #72  
Old Posted Sep 17, 2019, 11:20 PM
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Seriously, I have REALLY appreciated the posts on Chicago burbs. I have learned so much in the last 24 hours...

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  #73  
Old Posted Sep 17, 2019, 11:23 PM
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Speaking of Chicago, that place called Winnetka looks like a really nice suburb. I wouldn't mind living there.
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  #74  
Old Posted Sep 17, 2019, 11:27 PM
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My favourite Toronto suburbs (outside of what is now Toronto proper) are once independent towns that got swallowed up by amalgamation to become part of huge new suburban municipalities.

Port Credit and Streetsville are now part of Mississauga:

https://goo.gl/maps/wKvL6cWeJnw8QHHfA

https://goo.gl/maps/wsGruGNQkUwYKdKG6

Unionville is now part of Markham:

https://goo.gl/maps/MQTra6HkbtuXU4Kg6

Unionville was the location used to portray the fictional Connecticut town of Stars Hollow in the pilot episode of The Gilmore Girls.
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  #75  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2019, 12:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
here's a post i made awhile ago showing all of the pre-war railroad town centers in chicagoland:
Out of those lines my winners would be.....


UP-N....Lot's of good choices and a tough competition here. Still have to go with the obvious choice of
Evanston
2. Highland Park
3. Wilmette
4. Lake Bluff
5. Winnetka
6. Lake Forest

MD-N
Libertyville (with Northbrook and Deerfield as the most disappointing)

UP-NW....Tight competition. Most are pretty decent along this line.
1. Crystal Lake
2. Park Ridge

MD-W
Elgin (by FAR!)

UP-W
Geneva......Elmhurst a close 2nd

BNSF -
Downers Grove
2.Naperville
3. Aurora


I'm also a fan of some of the Fox River towns w/o any Metra service. Though they are close to being rural towns as being included in the metro IMO.

Algonquin
West Dundee
McHenry
Carpentersville
St.Charles
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  #76  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2019, 12:57 AM
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^ You omitted a lot of good ones there.

But Libertyville wins not so much due to size, since it’s not a very large downtown, but because we pack in some really good dining within such a tight area.

And we have Mickey Finn’s, the oldest brewery in Lake County. God save beer
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  #77  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2019, 1:39 AM
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Speaking of Chicago, that place called Winnetka looks like a really nice suburb. I wouldn't mind living there.
Winnetka is nice if you're into that whole ritzy upper class scene. Its Zillow home value index (ZHVI) is $1.2M, which I believe is the second highest such value in the Midwest, second only to neighboring Kenilworth, IL with a ZHVI of $1.3M.

Those might not sound ludicrously high by coastal metro standards, but out here in the creamy middle west, that's about as expensive of a community as you're gonna find.

I grew up just south of Winnetka in the less ritzy (but still north shore) burb of Wilmette, and I had a decent glimpse into that world. It's fine for what it is, but not really my cup of tea. Too sheltered and "bubbly" for my tastes. Even if we could afford to live there (yeah right), we almost certainly wouldn't.
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  #78  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2019, 2:33 AM
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For boston: (not including the obvious brookline/cambridge/somerville which are essentially boston)

Newton is kinda cute!:
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3297...7i13312!8i6656

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3217...7i13312!8i6656

Winchester too:
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.4525...7i13312!8i6656

Norwood's okay:
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.1929...7i16384!8i8192

This one part of Dedham center is nice:
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.2481...7i16384!8i8192

Quincy is great, and they have done tons of work on the center recently:
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.2505...7i13312!8i6656

Also home to one of the largest east asian/chinese population in greater boston:
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.2677...7i13312!8i6656

Medford is cool:
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.4183...7i16384!8i8192

Malden has some great areas, and has done a lot around the T station but it kinda sucks in how it feels:
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.4263...4nLcmJVplA!2e0
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  #79  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2019, 2:46 AM
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From what I've seen this is the best

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I think Brookline, MA is the best suburb in the country.
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  #80  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2019, 8:39 AM
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I don't know that SF has a best suburb, but Concord is nice, with a central city park, a sizeable downtown, and a BART station that provides convenient service to SF.
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