Great Cities Need Great Downtowns

San Antonio is a city famous for its riverwalk, but this recent article notes that its currently trying to bolster it’s downtown as a method of improving the entire city. Identifying the need for young, educated workers, San Antonio is trying to increase both residential and commercial density in its core.

“It’s not a secret what the young, talented, educated workforce is looking for,” said Hixon Properties Inc.’s Jack Spector. He pointed to several offerings the target audience is looking for in a city such as walkable neighborhoods, reliable mass transit, cultural and educational opportunities, and entertainment options.

“In a nutshell, they’re looking for a vibrant, dense center city. We refer to great cities having great downtowns. There’s not a city that I’m aware of that is a great city without a great downtown.”

I think that last line is worth repeating: “There’s not a city that I’m aware of that is a great city without a great downtown.”

I think sometimes we conceptualize of downtowns as really nice amenities but not something a city absolutely has to have. But think about it; can you come up with a really great city — one that’s prosperous, interesting, thriving, diverse, etc. — that doesn’t have a great downtown? I can’t think of any.

The article goes on to mention that San Antonio currently has about 7,000 housing units downtown, which is far more than Provo currently has right in its own core. However, both cities are expected to increase their urban housing in the future. If that quote above is correct — and I think it is — that should mean a big step in the right direction.

Provo has seen an expansion of it’s downtown commercial and residential space recently, which should help the entire city.

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1 Comment

Filed under Development, Downtown

One response to “Great Cities Need Great Downtowns

  1. Paul

    Interesting factoid: the 2006 Downtown Real Estate Market Analysis prepared by Economics Research Associates noted that central Provo (i.e., a 1 mile radius of Center and University Ave.) had a population of over 32,100. Comparable figures for other cities: Albuquerque, 13,100; Boulder, 27,200; Ogden, 18,400; Palo Alto, 16,400. Central Provo is a fairly densely-populated place!

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