Originally Posted by urbanactivistTX
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I had the opportunity to look at three different areas in Kansas City... a new town centre, an "old" town centre, and the regular downtown. To the typical urbanist, the downtown is immediately preferred, but are there any advantages to the other two?? What might they be? what are these models doing to improve the overall environment?? Is this growing model really a better alternative than our perfectly usable downtowns??
Its fascinating how similar KC is to Tulsa in this respect, and as someone has mentioned, many cities have similar types of areas.
Of the areas in KC the area around the Plaza would be my choice of area to live in. The Plaza itself is nice with plenty of shops, restaurants, busy street life, etc. and is simply a nice looking and pleasing environment. The large number of residential and office buildings around it give it a more urban feel, its like,,, old world charm, fountains, trees and trendy, is nestled between a canyon of tall buildings. The older neighborhoods with their grand homes nearby also lend to the "niceness" of the area.
The equivalent area in Tulsa would be Utica Square. Was originally an old outdoor style shopping center. Said to be one of the first of its kind in the US actually. Couple of miles from downtown, surrounded by neighborhoods of genteel mansions and has over the years seen larger buildings and highrise and midrise living/office grow up around it. Again, I would prefer the area over downtown simply because I like the beauty, the upscale nature, its quiet yet bustling with everything you need in walking distance. An ideal "Urban Village".
....... It tends to cater to the more upscale and wealthy crowd that likes mid-town living. I would looove to live in that area, but cant afford it lol.
One of our closest suburbs is also getting a new "urban center". A billion dollar development with a main street, football field sized Bellagio styled fountain, apartments surrounding structured parking, offices, shops, restaurants, etc. For a while until downtown really picks back up, it may end up having more foot traffic, and more often than our real downtown.
........It will cater to the upper middle class young families that are in the area and their kids/teenagers.
Downtown on the other hand, and areas around it, is seeing a slow rebirth. No need to go into details. But it seems to cater more towards the "real urban" crowd. The young professionals, empty nesters, artists, gays, college age people, etc. And it also acts as an areas center, with large facilities, stadiums, arena, ballpark, Performing Arts, and other entertainment areas with supporting infrastructure.
It seems that each different area has a definite personality and generally attracts a different group of people. Not sure if those demographic patterns have any similarities in KC though. I do think each area adds to the city as a whole enabling a person who would consider moving to, say Tulsa, to have different lifestyle options to choose from. Thus it helps to make our city more attractive.