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Atlanta in the 70's through 80's was probably looking pretty shabby - considering the explosive growth occuring in the suburbs (& still occuring). New Orleans is always a turn around city every year, everyone complains about the crime & economics - yet everyone wants to visit the city (though still not live there). But Chattanooga is still the biggest turn around city - an economic & environmental wasteland 30 years ago, now home to a prosperous downtown.
 

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Thats my wife Aaliyah.
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NCtarheel said:
Baltimore maybe--things are looking up for the city. Washington DC is another example...the city has come a long, long way since the mid 80's.
Other forumers probably knew I was gonna say this but im gonna say it - Is baltimore considered the south? If you want to go by history ya most people in Maryland support the confederacy, but it was still a union state. I dont think washington DC is. it is neutral, geographically it is more northern. I mean if you say that than the southeast is this gigantic landmass and the northeast is a small finger pointing NE.
 

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...wolf in cheap clothing
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Asheville! That's right, Asheville.

Our descent began with the stock market crash of 1929, in which this city went, overnight, from being one of the most fashionable resort towns in the world to the city that held the most per capita debt in America. The boom of the Roaring '20's, in which the majority of our magnificent collection of art deco buildings and several amazing residential buildings were constructed, ground to a halt, and the tallest building in town, the neo-gothic Jackson Building became a popular place for despondent financiers to commit suicide by jumping from the top floor gallery.

Rather than default on its civic debts, Asheville chose to repay what it owed, a task it didn't complete until the 70's. During those fifty years of paying our debts, Asheville couldn't afford any large-scale urban renewal projects, and thus our splendid downtown was preserved intact.

Downtown, even as beautiful as it was, couldn't compete with the malls and shopping centers rising on the outskirts of town. Most of the large stores downtown moved out, and all the grand hotels were converted to low-income housing for senior citizens. By the 1980's, the vacancy rate downtown stood at 90%, and what few businesses were left consisted mainly of porn emporiums, bars, and other unsavory places. The art deco movie theater that now houses our Fine Arts Theatre was at the time a porn theater, in fact.

In the late 80's and early 90's a movement began to rebuild downtown. One of the catalysts was a developer's plan to demolish about half of downtown Asheville and replace it with a shopping mall. The newspaper supported the idea, as did the city government, but a group of concerned citizens lined off the proposed construction site with crime scene tape and began conducting tours of the magnificent architecture that would be lost, and in the end managed to sway opinions.

Downtown began to come back to life. Artists moved in first, then a few practical businesses, and later, upscale boutiques, upscale galleries, and even more practical stores. The people moved in too, such that the census tract that includes downtown Asheville was the tract that showed the most growth in the city during the last census, beating out the city's suburbs, gated golf communities, and exclusive subdivisions.

Today, downtown is a victim of its own success. Many condoes downtown are owned by "summer people" who only used their downtown residences as occasional getaways. Rents have risen to the point that the very artists who colonized the area are moving down to the River District, a defunct Victorian industrial area along the French Broad River. However, three condo projects, one of which is nearly complete, will add more than 150 new residences to downtown in the next two years, and one of the projects is especially targeted toward downtown workers, with rents of less than $500 a month. There are clothing, furniture, and grocery stores downtown and all in all, it's a very practical district. There's lots for tourists there, but all that a resident would need too, and that's rare these days. It's still the seat of our arts economy, despite the high rents, and our artists pump more than $62 million into our area every year.

Vacancy rates these days downtown are less than 10%, and there are only a handful of historic buildings still awaiting renovation. It's almost like being on the other side of the mirror from the bad old days of the 70's and 80's.
 

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Jersey FRESH
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I vote Norfolk. It went from tumbleweeds downtown 7 years ago to having one of the top booming downtowns in the country and has been featured numerous times in Planning Magazine for its urban renaissance. It has even received awards from the American Planning Association. Lots of buzz about that place.
 

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Sic Semper Tyrannis
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Asheville, Chattanooga, Norfolk, DC, Atlanta, are a few that pop into my head.
 

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I'll go by Mason-Dixon Line convention, and I agree, DC, Balt., ATL, and Norfolk definitely.

I don't think DC gets enough credit in this respect, it may not have increased in population and while it's crime has gone down significantly, it's still not good, it is a lot more vibrant and more a buzz then it has been in a long time.
 

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Not to make a broken record out of this thread, but I think all of the cities mentioned so far have been excellent candidates.

How about Miami? Not that it doesn't have problems, but it's a very different place than it was in the '80s. I certainly have a better image of it now than I did when I saw "Scarface". :)
 

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Justadude said:
Not to make a broken record out of this thread, but I think all of the cities mentioned so far have been excellent candidates.

How about Miami? Not that it doesn't have problems, but it's a very different place than it was in the '80s. I certainly have a better image of it now than I did when I saw "Scarface". :)
You know you're right. At one time Miami was in pretty bad shape. High crime, bad economics due to its small city limits and even South Beach was neglected and run down. In fact I went to Miami for the first time @ '93 and I remember S Beach had just begun its comeback but you could get into any bar with no cover. Its hard to even imagine any of that today.
 

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I can give a shout out to J'ville, too. I agree that it was shackled by high crime, bad schools, racial strife and an ongoing (and highly annoying) noxious stench from the decades of unregulated (or poorly regulated) mills that belched their exhausts into the air. The city's infrastructure was bad, too. Bad bus system (bad even by smaller Southern city standard's), poorly built roads and freeways and neighborhoods that weren't being cared for.

Now, the freeways are being rebuilt, bus service has improved, there's a charming little people mover downtown, the St. John's is more appealing, the air isn't as suffocating as before, schools are much better and crime is declining.

And Jax is growing.
 

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Raleigh has made significant changes worth mentioning, though they may pale in comparison to every other city mentioned on the forum.
The success of Glennwood South and the mini construction boom its having.

Durham is turning itself around in the right direction inspite of the "ghetto" reputation it has. Brightleaf Square and ninth street still continues to breathe life into the core.
 
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