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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This should be interesting, a thread where we rank of the 50, the Top 20 states for urbanism. I lot of this will probably be based on opinion, for example, I love cities like Cincy and Cleveland (not to mention Columbus is pretty cool, which is like a northern Austin), but I hate cities like Orlando and especially Miami. Here goes my ranking:

1. California
2. Illinois
3. Potomac States
4. New York
5. Texas
6. Ohio
7. Massachusetts
8. South Carolina
9. Minnesota
10. Connecticut
11. Pennsylvania
12. Georgia
13. Louisiana
14. Washington
15. Michigan
16. Missouri
17. Tennessee
18. Oklahoma
19. North Carolina
20. Colorado

Honorable mentions: Oregon, Wisconsin, Indiana, Alabama, Maine, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island

Surprisingly low rankings or high rankings could be due to a fact that, for instance, Denver is pretty awesome, but there is no other major city in that state, so there is no other urbanism to weigh in, or with South Carolina for instance, which earns props for its historic cities like Charleston, Clemson, etc. Michigan gets low props because they have a lot of work to do despite all the potential there. Florida is completely excluded from here; there is no urbanism there.
 

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I don't see New Jersey or Maryland, but urbanism isn't good to rank by state. I hate it when I people imply that since New Jersey is the most dense state, it's some great urban experience anywhere you go, it has plenty of sprawly suburbs and exurbs and many rural areas. It has a lot of urban areas for sure, but there are no states as a whole that have the urbanity that people on this website would like so there's no point in measuring urbanity at a state level.
 

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Yes, because I'm sure you've experienced every city in every state to actually have any idea of urbanity.

I think it is funny that you mention your own state above 32 other states, and you must seriously have something against Michigan if you think one of the 10 largest states with a rather healthy collection of cities ranks near the bottom. While cities like Saginaw and Flint might not be the greatest examples of a viable urban experience, Michigan makes up for it with tons of other cities such as Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Jackson, Monroe, Muskegon, Holland, Port Huron, Traverse City, Adrian, Bay City, and yes even Detroit. In 2000, Michigan had 10 urbanized areas with more than 90,000 people; Oklahoma had 2.

The only reason I bring this up is because you obviously ranked your own state higher than an unbiased person would and you specifically singled out Michigan for supposedly ranking near the bottom of the barrel.

Ann Arbor:

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Grand Rapids:

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Bay City:

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Lansing:

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Kalamazoo:

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Jackson:

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How could there be urbanism anywhere else, what with it being monopolized by places like Georgia, North Carolina and Oklahoma and all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
OMG you are so immature. Instead of attacking me for my opinions which I never claimed as fact, debate them with me. I would have fun with that. You should share your opinion which is neither fact as well, instead of focus on trying to make me look stupid.
 

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I think if you wanted to do a reasonable ranking, you would have to define some criteria for that ranking. There are far to many cities in the US for anyone to be familiar with them all. For instance I haven't really visited OKC or Tulsa since the early seventies and could not possibly give a fair ranking of OK. I understand there has been a lot of nice developmet out their but really, I couldn't say. Actually I find Detroit a real Urban experience. It's had its problems we all know but its downtown architecture is quite impressive and there are at least two Museums there (the Henry Ford and the Detroit Institute of Art) that rank with the best nationally. Throw in Greektown and the Ren center, and I wouldn't put Michigan down. Also Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor are as nice small cities as you might find anywhere.

I would also quibble about your placement of New York. New York City defines Urban experience in the US, but there are numerous other cities in the State worthy of respect including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany, any of which seem as worthy to me as Tulsa. I would probably put NY number 1 followed by California, then Pennsylvania. Illinois has only one real Urban center even if it's a great one. And I would classify Washington DC with Maryland rather than Va. And how can you say that Miami isn't urban?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm talking about urban life, ranking states on that, not talking about something tourists would search out. That's Miami's downfall. MY rankings were subjected to my personal experiences in a place, the states with my favorite urbanism, the most of it, the healthiest collections of it, etc. Which also cuts down Michigan, although Michigan does redeem itself because its collateral mass of urbanism is great enough to override some of its derelict qualities.

California is a great urban experience than you give it credit for. LA and NYC are even, though neither impress me all that much. LA is actually very urban, dense, and vibrant.. it's really a shame that I've gotten tired of going there. But what else that there is in Cali is San Diego, one of most people's favorite cities, along with San Fran, plus Oakland which most people have never been to but is really urban, Berkeley, that whole area, San Jose and Long Beach have their core areas which are pretty new-urbanist. Plus there is Sacramento, etc..

Also I'd like to mention that I didn't create this thread to assert anything, just would like to see a state perspective from different people on urbanism since states are so rarely brought into this.

And your point about DC is valid. When I was thinking about all of that, it seemed tough to split up the Washington metro area so many ways..DC/VA/MD.. Virginia has Richmond and Charlottesville which are pretty good, but so much of its urbanism, if not most of it, would be with Alexandria, Rosslyn, Reston, all that. DC and Virginia should be together. I didn't put Maryland with the two because I doubted that 3 states lumped together specially was justified, and Maryland is easier to split from DC than Virginia is because the Maryland side of the Washington metro has another very major city to revolve around, Baltimore, which the Virginia side does not.

However you classify the Washington area, which is a toughie, I take it we're all agreed that NoVa/DC/Baltimore are one of our most integral urban areas. At least as integral as LA and NYC.
 

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Any list of "urban states" that doesn't have Rhode Island at or near the top is bunk. Rhodie is the definition of a city-state - hell, metro Providence has a higher population than the state of Rhode Island does!
 

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This is the definition or a definition of "urbanism". I got it from Wikipedia but you can find similar definitions else where.

"Urbanism is the study of cities - their geographic, economic, political, social and cultural environment, and the imprint of all these forces on the built environment. Urbanism is also the practice of creating human communities for living, work, and play, covering the more human aspects of urban planning. Urbanists define urban areas by their high population density. They maintain that this characteristic makes cities physically and sociologically distinct from rural areas.

Some scholars[citation needed] initially rejected the notion that there were any significant differences between the social and political order between the rural or urban, hence there was no point in a specifically 'urban studies'. However, this debate has been largely resolved. It is widely accepted [1] that cities do exist in a fundamentally distinct state from rural areas, and that the world population is increasingly living in urbanized areas. The world urban/rural population distribution provides evidence for this, and since 2007, at least 50% of the population has been living in urban environments.[2] The importance of the interaction between the urban and rural is also studied, along with the importance of the hinterland.

In the contemporary world this hinterland is less easily defined due to communications technology, but in pre-industrial, agrarian societies, it would have been much more evident that the city cannot exist without a hinterland to supply it. This, however, assumes that such an agrarian society thought within the same framework as the modern, and in many cases (such as that of the Roman Empire or ancient Greece) this can be seen to be untrue; The Roman and Greek municipium or polis can be seen to be a social, political and economic entity consisting of "urban" centre and hinterland.

Having established that cities are genuinely distinct from rural areas, scholars have studied cities according to several dimensions: the internalist perspectives which looks at spatial and social order within a city, externalist perspectives which views cities as stable points or nodes in the wider globalizing space of networks and flows, and the interstitial perspective which attempts to reconcile the two perspectives: by trying to understand how globalizing flows and external forces influence, and are influenced by, the social, temporal and spatial ordering of a city. Amin and Graham (1997) argue in The Ordinary City that the urbanscape can best be understood as a site of co-presence of multiple spaces, multiple times and multiple webs of relations, tying local sites, subjects and fragments into globalizing networks of economic, social and cultural change."

So this is the problem; "urbanism" is either the study of Urban planning or the study of how people live in cities. Once you have established an area as "urban" i.e. not rural or suburban, one way of living is as valid as the other.

You might try rephrasing this question as which states have the most interesting cities? or which states have the best cities? or in which states do you find urban living the most attractive? There is no most urban state unless you want to count percentage of land given over to urban development which you make NJ, CONN, and RI the "most urban" I suspect or which state has the most land developed as urban spaces in which case I believe CA would be the winner. Without a better definition, we really can't give a intelligent answer to the question.
 

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First thing that I thought when you were ranking this list was by "urbanity", but you were ranking it on urban experiences. There is no way that a state like South Carolina would be that high if it was on urbanity, it has no big cities.
Obviously, you have never been to Charleston, SC.
Charleston is not a huge city, but it is not small either......a very colonial, historical, dense Southern city.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Any list of "urban states" that doesn't have Rhode Island at or near the top is bunk. Rhodie is the definition of a city-state - hell, metro Providence has a higher population than the state of Rhode Island does!
Texas has a lot more urbanity than Rhode Island does. Hell, the urban PORTION of Houston is bigger and a million times more impressive than Providence, which is just treading water trying not to become the Northeast's Birmingham. I gave Rhode Island probably too much credit for being a pretty urban landscape. It's half the size of a county in Texas, which boasts urban jewels like Galveston, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin.. which equates to a lot of urbanity, and a lot of diversity in its urban centers, too. Texas, Ohio, and California all don't get nearly as much credit for their collateral mass AND diversity in urban centers. Especially Ohio, an awesome state.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Obviously, you have never been to Charleston, SC.
Charleston is not a huge city, but it is not small either......a very colonial, historical, dense Southern city.:)
Charleston is breathtaking. It's not the only thing gunning for SC though, which is very chock-full of really pretty historic cities.
 

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Which also cuts down Michigan, although Michigan does redeem itself because its collateral mass of urbanism is great enough to override some of its derelict qualities.
What derelict qualities? You act like most of Michigan is "derelict". You do realize that Detroit's urban core has 4 million people right? The city of Detroit accounts for less than 25% of that. And the "derelict qualities" of Detroit don't even account for half of the city. Believe it or not but there is a lot of great urbanity in and around Detroit. Detroit and it's suburbs already had well over 3 million people by the 1960's, so it's not as if you have an old downtown surrounded by millions of acres of McMansions. Places like Birmingham, Royal Oak, Dearborn, Hamtramck, Wyandotte, etc. have urbanity that isn't typical of modern suburbs.
 

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How can you exclude Florida!?! I won't attack you or your crazy assumptions..
But what can lead you to believe Miami has no urbanism. Miami Beach might be a tourist trap but it is also synonymous with urbanism, beside the tourist that like to enjoy it too, Miami Beach ahs everything a good urban enviorment need and then some, its incredible.
Then on the other side of the bay there are the areas north of Downtown like the Design District, Wynwood, Downtown, then down to Brickell, Coconut Grove, and other areas seperated from the main urban core like Coral Gables, Dadeland and to some extent Miami Lakes. So its there, its big, and its growing, so my question is why make such an assumption besides your pure hatred to a city and apparently state as well you obviously know very litttle about.

DOWNTOWN








DESIGN DISTRICT




Dadeland, Coconut Grove & Coral Gables








I won't post any pics of South Beach because I think everybody knows enough about it. I might have posted too much pics but just trying to make a point. And then other Florida areas like Orlando which has a thriving core, more liveable than alot other downtowns and quite large, Tampa has places like Ybor City, Jacksonville too has alrge urban core with charming liveable urbanism in it.
 

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Texas has a lot more urbanity than Rhode Island does. Hell, the urban PORTION of Houston is bigger and a million times more impressive than Providence, which is just treading water trying not to become the Northeast's Birmingham. I gave Rhode Island probably too much credit for being a pretty urban landscape.
Birmingham is among the most diverse and architecturally impressive cities in the Southeast. The geographic core of Birmingham is among the largest in the Southeast and is filled with an interesting blend of historical and new architecture. Some of the most beautiful and viable urban neighborhoods in the Southeast are located adjacent to downtown Birmingham – not to mention areas that are not “officially” part of Birmingham city, but nonetheless part of the urban core, hence Mt. Brook and Homewood. I would not be so quick to proclaim “Birmingham” the name given to a distasteful or unappealing urban area. Downtown Birmingham has several major projects that are underway (a major park, convention venue, entertainment district and several hotels); however, Alabama does not have the strong SC cheerleading clique like many other cities – especially in the Southeastern Forum. I find it ironic that you would pout (earlier in this thread) about people attacking you for your comments and opinions – sounds a bit hypocritical to me.




 

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Charleston is breathtaking. It's not the only thing gunning for SC though, which is very chock-full of really pretty historic cities.
Charleston is an incredible city. It's my favorite place in the South. I like it 10 times more than Atlanta and Charlotte. South Carolina has a couple decent cities aside from Charleston, those being Greenville and Columbia. Greenville has a pretty little downtown with a few blocks of bars, etc. However once you exit downtown there's really not too much to write home about...basically just a bunch of strip malls.

Columbia is alright, but it's really, really dirty. The Five Points area downtown is a lot of fun, and it's a great party town. Unfortunately it has an overwhelming feeling of being a grimy, dangerous town.

I wouldn't call either of these cities "urban". I feel like the most urban state would probably be Pennsylvania...I always get the impression that outside of cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (both of which I would definitely call urban), there are a bunch of small little mountain cities that have old, urban downtowns. New York and Massachusetts also fit the description in my opinion. To me, urban means centrally located, walkable downtowns...having a ton of people isn't urban to me if everywhere you go is completely sprawling.
 

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Charleston is breathtaking. It's not the only thing gunning for SC though, which is very chock-full of really pretty historic cities.
Well, the same can be said about any of the old "13 colony" states.
I somewhat agree with your list, though I think North Carolina should be a wee bit higher :D ...and some of the other Southern states should be lower.
Even though NC has a VERY rural, agrarian past (even by old antebellum Southern standards) she also has dense, walkable jewels like Wilmington, Asheville, New Bern and even Winston-Salem (especially Old Salem). Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, etc are bigger but also much sprawlier.
And like Nova said, Maryland and New Jersey should definitly be in the top 10. But I realize this is an opinion thread. ;)
 
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