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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 2, 2014, 12:01 AM
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A Place Called Kansas City, MO

Just some photos of KCMO on a Sunday. There were some lively places, but a majority of my photos didn't capture that (another day). Thanks for looking.





































































Areas seen in photos: Quality Hill, Power and Light (Downtown), and Westport.
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Old Posted Jun 2, 2014, 3:15 AM
ue ue is offline
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KCMO strikes me as an overlooked city. These photos and others I've seen throughout the years show a city with great bones and awesome revitalization projects but still the focus lies elsewhere.
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Old Posted Jun 2, 2014, 5:21 AM
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KCMO strikes me as an overlooked city. These photos and others I've seen throughout the years show a city with great bones and awesome revitalization projects but still the focus lies elsewhere.
You bring up a good point. The city is somewhat perplexing to me as it has some great qualities, but is somewhat stunted in its development. Even though there are a few notable projects in the pipeline, the pace of development will always seem slow from my West Coast perspective. In the end, the urban core is slowly revitalizing, yet the local mindset needs to change in order for it to be something more in the future.
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“Most planning of the past fifteen years has been based upon three destructive fallacies: the cataclysmic insists upon tearing everything down in order to design from an absolutely clean slate; the automotive would plan for the free passage of the automobile at the expense of all other values; the suburban dislikes the city anyway and would just as soon destroy its density and strew it across the countryside.” Vince Scully
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Old Posted Jun 2, 2014, 12:06 PM
soleri soleri is offline
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That one picture of those three deco (with one midcentury) skyscrapers sitting in a vast field of parking seems to tell the story here. Kansas City has great buildings but the city itself has been largely destroyed at street level. And it's hardly unique in this way. Almost every American city you see has the same cancer. Go back to 1950 and gaze in wonder how vital every American city and town looked. Gaze today and weep.
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Old Posted Jun 2, 2014, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by soleri View Post
That one picture of those three deco (with one midcentury) skyscrapers sitting in a vast field of parking seems to tell the story here. Kansas City has great buildings but the city itself has been largely destroyed at street level. And it's hardly unique in this way. Almost every American city you see has the same cancer. Go back to 1950 and gaze in wonder how vital every American city and town looked. Gaze today and weep.
Quite true. The closet photo I can find of the area in 1950, which shows the city was already losing low rise buildings downtown.
http://www.kchistory.org/cdm4/item_v...ISOBOX=1&REC=6

I hope these empty parcels will be developed in the future, but it will take a number of years and more progressive local developers.
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“Most planning of the past fifteen years has been based upon three destructive fallacies: the cataclysmic insists upon tearing everything down in order to design from an absolutely clean slate; the automotive would plan for the free passage of the automobile at the expense of all other values; the suburban dislikes the city anyway and would just as soon destroy its density and strew it across the countryside.” Vince Scully
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  #6  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2014, 2:06 AM
d'trolley d'trolley is offline
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Originally Posted by BigKidD View Post
You bring up a good point. The city is somewhat perplexing to me as it has some great qualities, but is somewhat stunted in its development. Even though there are a few notable projects in the pipeline, the pace of development will always seem slow from my West Coast perspective. In the end, the urban core is slowly revitalizing, yet the local mindset needs to change in order for it to be something more in the future.
Obviously this city develops much slower than on the coasts. Whenever a development gets the go ahead it feels like it takes year for it to actually happen, though I'm sure this is true for most cities. Let me tell you though: the local mindset has already changed. I don't know if you have paid much attention or not, but the overall attitude of the people in this city has changed DRASTICALLY the last 10 years. 10 years ago this city was depressed, with little civic pride or entrepreneurship. It was a mostly lame, aging place. Today it feels as if it is full of young, enthusiastic people. Civic pride is at an all time high. Local businesses are flooding the town, and there is an energy and enthusiasm about the city right now that you can feel in the air. It feels as if it is about to burst.

I mean we finally have a streetcar being built, and we are on the fast track to already expanding it significantly before the tracks have even been laid. This is definitely a changed city my friend.

Btw... that photo link you posted from 1950 of the downtown east side is absolutely mind blowing. For those of you who aren't familiar with the area, literally almost everything in that picture outside of the few skyscrapers have been torn down, and remain down. While the density in the foreground is captivating considering the parking lots that are currently there, the density in the background is the most impressive. Check out the buildings in the neighborhood beyond the skyscrapers. 99% of those don't exist anymore. They are now either an interstate, parking lots, low-rise industrial buildings, or housing projects. It is terribly sad that this part of town has been so decimated.

Oh and btw... that is the legendary 12th street and Vine area in the background. That intersection literally doesn't even exist anymore. I need to find a similar picture for comparison sake.
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Old Posted Jun 3, 2014, 3:45 AM
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Old Posted Jun 3, 2014, 5:20 AM
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Completely deserted, not a single traveling car that whole length of street. They solved their traffic and parking problem by massacring the city and replacing it with a dead placeless sterile environment.


This reminds me of the Henry Ford quote “we will solve the problem of the city by leaving the city"
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Old Posted Jun 3, 2014, 6:12 AM
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Originally Posted by pdxstreetcar View Post
Completely deserted, not a single traveling car that whole length of street. They solved their traffic and parking problem by massacring the city and replacing it with a dead placeless sterile environment.


This reminds me of the Henry Ford quote “we will solve the problem of the city by leaving the city"
Well to be fair I do see one car in motion unless my eyes have gotten so bad that what I see isn't a car.

Also I'm not saying this scene doesn't look sterile and uninviting, but at the same time it looks as if this was perhaps a Sunday. This strip to me looks mainly like a business district with no retail so there would be no reason to have much activity on a Saturday or Sunday. Just look at the surface parking lot it's empty, and I'm sure on a weekday it would be full of cars.

I don't live in Kansas City, but have visited twice and I will admit when we went through downtown it was on a Sunday and it was completely deserted. Yet just a mile or so from this area there was a beautiful European looking shopping district that was very inviting and busy with pedestrians. Kansas City downtown IMO could be a lot better, and I can't say how much activity there is on a weekday. Yet the city does have at least one district (could be more???) in the inner city that I found quite impressive.

I also wanted to say there are parts of the city that is urban by American standards that I remember passing through that gave the feeling/vibe of a northeast city neighborhood. Granted there are many parts of the city that we drove through that is low density, like where my grandmother and step grandfather once lived. It was rather hilly and a bit rugged in their neighborhood so that could have been why it was built up that way.

Last edited by ChrisLA; Jun 3, 2014 at 8:49 AM.
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  #10  
Old Posted Jun 3, 2014, 8:20 AM
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I appreicate the tour. I'd also like to pushback on some of the critiques, though. Kansas City could have done better in preserving it's downtown - that's true of most cities in this country. But, KC seems a bit more intact than quite a few other inland cities, and it doesn't strike me as particularly more torn apart than comparable cities, yet these comments would make you think it's among the more "bombed-out" inner-cities in terms of where it's parking has been placed.

It's just weird to hear an inner-city more intact than quite a few painted as some kind of uniquely lifeless area. Certainly, the time these pictures were taken doesn't help, but I still don't see how anyone can look at even these photos and conclude having seen a lot of other cities that inner-city KC is some parking wasteland. I think despite all of the loss its suffered that the urban fabric is quite a bit more intact than even more vibrant cities in the sunbelt.
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Old Posted Jun 3, 2014, 9:03 AM
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Originally Posted by d'trolley View Post
Obviously this city develops much slower than on the coasts. Whenever a development gets the go ahead it feels like it takes year for it to actually happen, though I'm sure this is true for most cities. Let me tell you though: the local mindset has already changed. I don't know if you have paid much attention or not, but the overall attitude of the people in this city has changed DRASTICALLY the last 10 years. 10 years ago this city was depressed, with little civic pride or entrepreneurship. It was a mostly lame, aging place. Today it feels as if it is full of young, enthusiastic people. Civic pride is at an all time high. Local businesses are flooding the town, and there is an energy and enthusiasm about the city right now that you can feel in the air. It feels as if it is about to burst.

I mean we finally have a streetcar being built, and we are on the fast track to already expanding it significantly before the tracks have even been laid. This is definitely a changed city my friend.

Btw... that photo link you posted from 1950 of the downtown east side is absolutely mind blowing. For those of you who aren't familiar with the area, literally almost everything in that picture outside of the few skyscrapers have been torn down, and remain down. While the density in the foreground is captivating considering the parking lots that are currently there, the density in the background is the most impressive. Check out the buildings in the neighborhood beyond the skyscrapers. 99% of those don't exist anymore. They are now either an interstate, parking lots, low-rise industrial buildings, or housing projects. It is terribly sad that this part of town has been so decimated.

Oh and btw... that is the legendary 12th street and Vine area in the background. That intersection literally doesn't even exist anymore. I need to find a similar picture for comparison sake.
I don't doubt the local mindset has changed a bit over the years. Sadly, my perception of the local mindset has been shaped by my time briefly working in the area of Independence and fellow graduate students at KU (I don't doubt a Kansas/Johnson County bias exists). Believe me, I'm a huge champion of urban centers and I have been since going to San Francisco as a little kid and now working towards entering a profession in which its life blood has been developments in urban centers. I think the city has come a long way from what it was and I look forward to its continual transformation.

The area east of city hall was certainly a more urban place in the past. For example, http://www.kchistory.org/cdm4/item_v...ISOBOX=1&REC=1

Quote:
Well to be fair I do see one car in motion unless my eyes have gotten so bad that what I see isn't a car.

Also I not saying this scene doesn't look sterile and uninviting, but at the same time it looks as if this was perhaps a Sunday. This strip to me looks like mainly a business district with no retail so there would be no reason to have much activity on a Saturday or Sunday. Just look at the surface parking lot it's empty, and I'm sure on a weekday it would be full of cars.

I don't live in Kansas City, but have visited twice and I will admit when we went through downtown it was on a Sunday and it was completely deserted. Yet just a mile or so from this area there was a beautiful European looking shopping district that was very inviting and busy with pedestrians. Kansas City downtown IMO could be a lot better, and I can't say how much activity there is on a weekday. Yet the city does have at least one district (could be more???) in the inner city that I found quite impressive.

I also wanted to say there are parts of the city that is urban by American standards that I remember passing through that gave the feeling/vibe of a northeast city neighborhood. Granted there are many parts of the city that we drove through that is low density, like where my grandmother and step grandfather once lived. It was rather hilly and a bit rugged in their neighborhood so that could have been why it was built up that way.
The European looking shopping district was the Country Club Plaza, ChrisLA. It's a great place and certainly one of the great highlights of KC. Other areas of activity in the city would include the Westport area, 39th Street West District, and parts of Midtown are a few off the top of my head. My main compliant would be other than the Plaza, these areas are somewhat small in size, but are urban and typically lively.

Quote:
I appreicate the tour. I'd also like to pushback on some of the critiques, though. Kansas City could have done better in preserving it's downtown - that's true of most cities in this country. But, KC seems a bit more intact than quite a few other inland cities, and it doesn't strike me as particularly more torn apart than comparable cities, yet these comments would make you think it's among the more "bombed-out" inner-cities in terms of where it's parking has been placed.

It's just weird to hear an inner-city more intact than quite a few painted as some kind of uniquely lifeless area. Certainly, the time these pictures were taken doesn't help, but I still don't see how anyone can look at even these photos and conclude having seen a lot of other cities that inner-city KC is some parking wasteland. I think despite all of the loss its suffered that the urban fabric is quite a bit more intact than even more vibrant cities in the sunbelt.
Good points overall. I have taken photos of adjacent areas downtown that aren't overrun with parking in the past. For example,



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Old Posted Jun 4, 2014, 12:06 AM
d'trolley d'trolley is offline
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Oh my god another awesome picture of the east side of downtown, BigKidD. Great find! It pisses me off so much that the entire area has been destroyed. Just east of downtown was the densest, most interesting part of the city. Hundreds of nightclubs, jazz, extremely urban apartment and rowhome blocks. Almost all of destroyed. It makes me so sick to think about how cool this city would be with even half of it remaining, and no interstate running through it.

And yea man if you are hanging out in Independence, you probably aren't witnessing much of the changed local mindset. That is a city that is stuck in its old ways and generally not very exciting. Not a lot of Kansas City pride found in Independence except for the Chiefs and Royals.

And Pdxstreetcar, downtown is not completely sterile and soulless. These pictures were taken on a Sunday by someone who went out of their way to not have pedestrians and cars in their photos. Those are easier pictures to take no doubt, and it goes with the theme of this thread.

I mean, downtown KC is certainly not Manhattan by any means and on Sundays can be a bit slow, but there is definitely still activity. The financial district isn't the place to be on a Sunday though.
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Old Posted Jun 4, 2014, 4:40 AM
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Oh my god another awesome picture of the east side of downtown, BigKidD. Great find! It pisses me off so much that the entire area has been destroyed. Just east of downtown was the densest, most interesting part of the city. Hundreds of nightclubs, jazz, extremely urban apartment and rowhome blocks. Almost all of destroyed. It makes me so sick to think about how cool this city would be with even half of it remaining, and no interstate running through it.

And yea man if you are hanging out in Independence, you probably aren't witnessing much of the changed local mindset. That is a city that is stuck in its old ways and generally not very exciting. Not a lot of Kansas City pride found in Independence except for the Chiefs and Royals.

And Pdxstreetcar, downtown is not completely sterile and soulless. These pictures were taken on a Sunday by someone who went out of their way to not have pedestrians and cars in their photos. Those are easier pictures to take no doubt, and it goes with the theme of this thread.

I mean, downtown KC is certainly not Manhattan by any means and on Sundays can be a bit slow, but there is definitely still activity. The financial district isn't the place to be on a Sunday though.
You're welcome. Just east of downtown and really the whole East Side has seen better days. Hopefully the area will improve, especially at a socioeconomic level. The city is doing its best to revitalize the West Side in the urban core and tremendous progress has been made.
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