Originally Posted by simms3_redux
Ok you win, DC is the most urban city. You are typing from the perspective of a googly eyed visitor, and I have more of a perspective formed not just from visits, but also real estate talks and articles, and I work for a company that owns and has owned well over a billion dollars of RE in DC metro/downtown. Now back to Atlanta, which I find to be similar to DC in many many ways (Rosslyn-Balston corridor vs Peachtree corridor, suburban spurs, metro, beltway vs perimeter, etc etc).
BTW you say you haven't seen cities with highrises and downtowns outside of the CBD, but if you live in Atlanta, you live in a city like that. Houston is like that. LA is like that. Dallas is like that. Miami is like that. Charlotte and San Antonio and Denver and Phoenix are like that. DC just does it best and connects via a very expensive metro system that has more federal support than any other metro. Like I said, it's not as "classic" a city as Boston or Chicago or San Francisco or New York (which all also have "downtowns" outside of the CBD, except for Boston). Not all of DC's business districts are connected to the metro, btw. Some of the largest, like Reston and Tysons Corner, are not. DC also has sprawl comparable to any large city with cul de sacs, low density, strip centers, etc etc.
Back to Atlanta.
PS: Downtown DC is a defined district and Dupont Circle is not considered "downtown"; it is its own neighborhood much like Adams Morgan immediately adjacent to it.
And you're right, I do think DC is a good model for Atlanta. Like I said, there are similarities there and if Atlanta could get its act together and better connect all the business districts with MARTA like DC does with the metro (we just don't have the same funding abilities as NoVA/DC), then we would have a similar situation with downtown, Midtown, Buckhead, Lindbergh, Central Perimeter, Vinings, Decatur, and Emory. Plans are in the works, fortunately.