Going Downtown

I’ve lived in quite a variety of areas in my lifetime. Suburbs, city, country, apartment, house, dorm…the list goes on. Right now we live in a house out in the country, where the loudest noise we hear are the cows mooing in the pasture next door. So when I visit a friend in the city, it always tends to give me a little bit of excitement. The city sounds. The fast pace. The ease of accessibility. Very different locations, yes, but so many positives to each, depending on your family dynamic! 

So when Matt Towns contacted me about an article regarding communities that are being super innovative in their urban core planning, I was pretty interested in it! After all, the Road to Domestication can be anywhere! Let’s see what Matt has to say…

Since the end of World War Two, people have been moving out of the cities and into the suburbs. Commuting between home and work was considered an acceptable sacrifice to escape the crowds and problems of urban areas and the American dream settled in the suburbs.

As new generations are born and come of age, however, the dream of near rural living that the baby boomers cherished is passing and cities are, once again, growing in both population and importance. The face of the suburbs has changed from nice houses on nice lots to an endless sprawl of postage stamp sized lots holding the largest house that can fit on it.

Welcome to Suburbia

The wholescale adoption of the automobile and access to easy financing after the war began the trend of sprawl in the suburbs. Prior to that, homes had to be within easy walking distance of mass transit and shops sprang up organically near the transit lines allowing people to shop on their way home from work.

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Automobiles made longer commutes and living further away from shopping centers easier for homeowners. The importance of mass transit declined and the retail stores located near transit lines were forced to compete against chain stores that were not part of their community.

The end of World War Two brought about easy access to home financing and millions of veterans could buy or build homes with government provided no down payment loans. The shortage of houses meant an expansion of neighborhoods. When combined with the popularity of the automobile, suburbs sprawled.

Reversing the Trends

Since 2011, however, urban population growth has been higher than suburban growth. Suburbs have been growing, but at a much slower rate than cities. From the nadir of urban growth at the turn of the century, cities are getting a new lease on life.

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Much of that comes from the adoption of mixed-use communities and planning that puts revitalization of the neighborhood at its core. The following communities, all within greater urban areas, have shown a popular trend in urban planning. Communities within communities have made some neighborhoods vibrant, again:

  • Seaport Square (Boston): Anchored by One Seaport Square, the Seaport Square community is currently being built in Boston. The community encompasses 23 acres and will include 20 buildings, retail and office space, parking for over 6,000 cars and 4 public spaces.
  • The Wharf (Washington, DC): Transforming 24 acres of Washington’s Potomac Riverfront, The Wharf will include residential, hotel, office, retail and cultural space. Within transit distance of downtown Washington, this development is anchored by two waterfront condominiums. It is expected to open in October 2017.
  • 3 World Trade Center (New York City): In Manhattan communities build up, not out. 3 World Trade Center is part of the World Trade Center complex, but the mixed-use community is confined to one 80-story skyscraper. The lowest five floors have been allocated for retail space, giving the residents a place to shop, work and live without ever leaving their building
  • Wilshire Grand Center (Los Angeles): Another mixed-use community anchored to a single building, the Wilshire Grand Center is a 73-story tower that includes a hotel, retail, office and residential space.
  • Atlantic Station (Atlanta): Anchored by the Atlantic Condominiums (http://ownatlantic.com/), Atlantic Station was one of the first large-scale mixed-use communities designed and built in the United States. Occupying 138 acres in the northwest corner of downtown Atlanta, the community was built on the site of the Atlantic Steel Mill.

These communities share certain features. Everything that is necessary for living is contained within them. Work, home and shopping can be done without ever getting in your car. Social and cultural spaces are set aside for relaxation and leisure. Most importantly, these communities are redefining the American dream of a house with a white picket fence for a new century.

Author Bio: Matt Towns is an influencer marketing pro with brownboxbranding.com who is passionate about building authentic relationships and helping businesses connect with their ideal online audience. He keeps his finger on the pulse of the ever-evolving digital marketing world by writing on the latest marketing advancements and focuses on developing customized blogger outreach plans based on industry and competition.

Excellent points, Matt! Now you’ve made me want to visit some of these cities and see for myself just what they have going on!

What about you? Where do YOU live? What does your community look like?

Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at Kristen@theroadtodomestication.com. I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!

20 thoughts on “Going Downtown

  1. I live near Seattle and it’s interesting to see how the “suburbs” of those cities are. I live in a town south of Seattle that a lot of people commute out of towards Seattle and the other larger cities in that part of the state.

  2. That is so neat that you got to live in so many areas. I’ve always lived in the city but love the serenity of the countryside. Going downtown is always exciting!

  3. It’s amazing how much a space can change over time. I have always loved timelapses for that reason – you can see how much of a difference time makes

  4. This is such an interesting post for sure. So many of us live in suburbian for sure. I completely agree that urban planning has totally made some neighborhoods so much more diverse and better. Great information.

  5. I live in a pretty decent town, not much here other than the community of neighbors who are awesome. I love learning about how other communities are built and what they have.

  6. The Wharf sounds interesting. DC is one of my favorite places to visit. If they didn’t have snow and ice I wouldn’t mind living there. I live in Florida where it’s warm all year round and I couldn’t be more content. 😉

  7. I loved living in the country. I live in a pretty big city now, not like New York city but big enough that I don’t like my morning commute lol Going different places is always an exciting experience but give me those cows mooing in the mornings!!!

  8. Ours is just a small community where everyonethe seems to know each other. We have pretty much everythinfg inside except for malls. But what I love about our community is it has a church and playground where my kids can play.

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