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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can you share pictures, locations, and/or descriptions of the parts of suburbia in your metropolitan area that are suburban in name only as they have morphed into true and complete urban environments??

Can you do the same for areas within the city limits that are not truly urban at all but actually typically suburban, perhaps exurban or.....dare I say.....almost rural?
 

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Is this only about north american suburbs?

Because I could post many examples of very urban european suburbs
 

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Is this only about north american suburbs?

Because I could post many examples of very urban european suburbs
Yeah, this is really only about American suburbs, since this is in the US seciton. Discussing urban suburbs around the world is a discussion that should be done in the CItytalk section.
 

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Towson, outside of Baltimore, fits the bill. It has lots of 10-25 story buildings, a huge mall with 8 story parking garages surrounding it, a big university, and lots of foot and auto traffic. The whole area is walkable. Black and Decker is based there. Here is a picture of the skyline from a distance.

 

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Bethesda and Silver spring in DC are quite urban for North American standards, at least their downtowns and the surrounding areas are.
 

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Bethesda and Silver spring in DC are quite urban for North American standards, at least their downtowns and the surrounding areas are.
They're technically in Maryland. You can add North Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Frederick and Rockville to that list. On the other side of the river in Virginia you've got Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax and Tyson's Corner on the list of urbanized ring cities of Washington. I'll eventually post pictures.
 

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Yep I meant DC suburbs.

I don't find Rockville to be as "urban" as the others though, I don't think there is a real pedestrian friendly dense downtown/city center as in the rest.

Maybe I'm wrong?
 

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They're technically in Maryland. You can add North Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Frederick and Rockville to that list. On the other side of the river in Virginia you've got Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax and Tyson's Corner on the list of urbanized ring cities of Washington. I'll eventually post pictures.
I'd hesitate to call Tyson's Corner urban. Sure it's a dense edge city with lots of office space and retail, but it really isn't walkable nor is it served by the Metro (although there are plans for that underway).
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
No...

...what? Stick to Chicago.
you may disagree, but i've got a lot of the Bay Area running through my blood too and yes, I do believe downtown Oakland has more going for it right now than downtown SJ. BART service for years gives it a strong urban fabric. Lake Merrit is a classic.And the waterfront near Jack London Square gives it another element of attractiveness. Oakland itself is a more urban environment than San Jose in general, so I don't think its a surprise that its downtown functions differently than San Jose's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You DC area guys have it totally right. Suburban DC is arguably the most urban environment in any city's metropolitan area. It is also effectively and delightfully urbanized with its concentrations in places like SS and CC being geared for walking.

Why the success? I would think two factors are key:

DC height restrictions allows things to happen outside city limits that would happen within city limits of other cities

The nation's most effective and brilliantly conceived rapid transit system, Metro. It is in a class by itself. It alone among transit systems blankets both city and suburbs with service, allowing for development along its lines that would not make sense in other less comprehension system. Other systems do great jobs: NYC's subway system covers NYC like no city is covered, but does not leave city limits. And BART links SF with vast areas of the Bay Area but offers minimal service to SF itself with just one set of tracks in the whole city. Metro gives both city and suburbia great coverage...which gives us the suburban urbanization you guys have noted.
 

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Tyson's corner is more like a dense car-oriented place. We have so many of those in Paris as well, but I don't really think it makes them "urban" in the way the thread creator meant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Tyson's corner is more like a dense car-oriented place. We have so many of those in Paris as well, but I don't really think it makes them "urban" in the way the thread creator meant.
as the creator of the thread, i agree. but my thoughts were more about the MD side of the area, not necessarily VA...and the suburban towns that grew up long before the concept of urban sprawl have developed into true urban centers in their own right.

there is nothing very urban about a mall that spawns endless office towers in a sea of parking lots in edge cities; suburban towns that morph into suburban ciies are a whole other matter. And DC, particularly east of the Potomac, does it better than anyone.
 

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Ive never been to the DC suburbs before, other than the dense downtowns, do they see an urban layout in their residential areas or is it more like a traditional suburb?
 

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Well...

I spent 2 days in the DC area in the beginning of June (sidetrip from visiting Maryland's eastern shore) almost the whole time in the Virginia side (mostly Fairfax co), I was pretty impressed, especially with Arlington and Silver Spring. If there was no height limits in the entire metro (not talking about DC), the area would probably have the best suburban skylines in the US, if not already. If it wasn't so expensive down there, I would move there after college in a minute.

I wouldn't call it more urban overall, probably more dense. Outside the major job centers and edge cities, especially in the Virginia side, it's as suburban as it gets.

Then again, I'm looking at the whole thing also from a outsider's perspective.
 
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