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Old Posted Sep 6, 2019, 9:10 PM
edale edale is online now
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Originally Posted by pj3000 View Post
I would say that Ohio starts to really be more "midwestern" from around the Columbus area west. Basically, if you took a N-S line down the middle of the state. That pretty much coincides with where the land gets much flatter, and intensively agricultural -- the "corn belt" I guess.

NE OH is more similar to western PA/western NY and SE OH is more similar to western PA/WV. But once you get to Columbus (or Toledo), there's a palpable difference.

yeah, the vast region is very far from being uniform.
Eh, I don't really agree with that. Cincinnati is very hilly and looks more like SE Ohio, while parts of NE Ohio are very much intensely agricultural.

Architecturally and topographically, Cleveland and Pittsburgh are very dissimilar. They have somewhat similar immigration patterns, with way more in the way of Eastern and Southern Europeans than cities like Columbus or Cincinnati. But Cleveland has a much, much larger African American population than Pittsburgh, and also has a pretty sizable Latino (predominantly Puerto Rican) community, while Pittsburgh has a minuscule Latino community. Demographically, Cleveland seems to be like Detroit meets Pittsburgh.

To answer the OP's question, I can think of several cities that could lay claim to being the most urban non-Chicago city in the midwest:

- St. Louis has a pretty impressive corridor from downtown out to Clayton. Lots of high rises and dense neighborhoods around this corridor and some very pleasant and walkable urban neighborhoods.

- Cincinnati has the most impressive core neighborhood in the midwest (imo), but topography helped to contain the intensely urban stuff to the basin, and urban renewal took out a huge chunk of those basin neighborhoods. Outside of those areas, Cincinnati definitely has some great urbanity, but the city functions more like a collection of towns than a big, cohesive city. Definitely doesn't feel as 'big city' as other midwestern cities.

- Columbus probably has the most in-tact, cohesive walkable urban corridor in the midwest outside of Chicago. High Street from downtown to north of OSU's campus is very impressive and dense. The neighborhoods flanking High are fairly dense, but mostly consist of detached housing and leafy neighborhoods. Also, outside of High Street, there isn't much else in Cbus that I would categorize as particularly urban, and their downtown is still incredibly sleepy and dead, though improving.

- Cleveland has the rail transit and there are parts of the city that do feel like the large city it used to be. Lakewood has a pretty high population density and the wall of high rises along the lake give a pretty 'big city' vibe. Shaker Square and Ohio City are other Cle neighborhoods that give off a big city feeling, in large part thanks to the rail. But the city as a whole has lost so much, and there isn't much in the way of unbroken vitality.

- Detroit's downtown probably feels the most significant of any non-Chicago midwestern city. Outside of downtown, the city has lost most of its functioning urban neighborhoods, and much of the city wasn't even developed in the classic urban sense, anyway. Neighborhoods like Palmer Park give a snapshot of what once was, but they're outliers in the city that is mostly characterized by detached, single family homes.

* Never spent any appreciable time in MSP or Milwaukee, so can't speak to those. Indy has a nice downtown but nothing urban outside of it. Kansas City is cool, but never feels very intensely urban to me. Everything else in the midwest is too small to warrant discussion in this thread, I think.
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