Author Topic: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles  (Read 22631 times)

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Online BigDipper 80

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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #140 on: May 19, 2017, 08:50:24 AM »
One other thing that makes Cincinnati unique among Ohio's cities is that it has a distinctive-enough skyline to avoid being a Houston or a San Diego, but even if the skyline was awful, there are enough showpiece buildings that the city could still have a strong national visual brand. No one raves about New Orleans' or San Antonio's skylines, but one photo of Jackson Square or the Alamo and you already have a vision of the city in your mind. Cincy could easily have had that same image with Music Hall or Union Terminal if its skyline was really crappy.

Offline westerninterloper

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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #141 on: May 19, 2017, 09:56:26 AM »
Skylines, like cities, benefit from natural limits. Cities with a river, coastline, hills or even political boundaries to hem them in, and you'll usually find a denser skyline, which in part benefits from the concentration of transportation and development.

Chicago, New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Detroit are all limited by natural features.

Houston, Dallas, Indianapolis, Columbus, Minneapolis, Denver, Atlanta, have few if any limits to their spread.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 10:02:24 AM by westerninterloper »

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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #142 on: May 19, 2017, 10:26:53 AM »
Right. That's why Pittsburgh is one of my favorites. It's one of the best case scenarios for that. It's especially cool if you're a fan of bridges. I almost look at Downtown Pittsburgh like it's a micro-Manhattan. 

Downtown Columbus looks like good from afar but up close it looks far from good  :-o Tragic.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 10:33:34 AM by David »
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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #143 on: May 19, 2017, 12:10:24 PM »
Cincinnati's skyline is compact because postwar zoning only permitted skyscrapers on blocks owned by the city's wealthiest families.  A few of the 1980s skyscrapers stand upon land that is still family-owned and fuels decadent country club lifestyles and funds the political campaigns of the Lukens, Cranley, etc. 

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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #144 on: May 19, 2017, 12:39:41 PM »
I love JMecks random facts. They sound bizarre and questionable at first, then you realize that it explains so, so much.
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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #145 on: May 19, 2017, 01:37:51 PM »
I love JMecks random facts. They sound bizarre and questionable at first, then you realize that it explains so, so much.

They have also used cultural institutions to remove potential rival skyscraper locations.  The CAC, the Aronoff Center, and most recently the new SCPA were all put where they were put to remove those prime parcels from competing with land that they themselves own. 

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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #146 on: May 19, 2017, 03:04:37 PM »
I highly recommend this book:
https://www.amazon.com/Downtown-Its-Rise-Fall-1880-1950/dp/0300090625/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495220718&sr=8-1&keywords=downtown+its+rise+and+fall+1880-1950

Discusses the rust belt downtowns individually as well as the bigger cities.  Spends a lot of time talking about how so much that goes on behind closed doors does so with either the aim of moving the center of a downtown or preventing that from happening.  This is a big reason why so many subway plans were scuttled before they broke ground, and of course why Cincinnati's was shut down after construction began. 

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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #147 on: May 19, 2017, 03:43:37 PM »
I wonder what all happened behind closed doors to cause the short north to be Columbus' new downtown. I bet there's a lot we don't know about.
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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #148 on: May 19, 2017, 04:03:53 PM »
I wonder what all happened behind closed doors to cause the short north to be Columbus' new downtown. I bet there's a lot we don't know about.

Good point. Are there any books or in-depth articles about how the Short North came about?

There are a number of factors here. Actually, it's probably far fetched to see any other stretch in the state of Ohio duplicate the same level of success...

-proximity to downtown
-proximity to ridiculously large state university
-proximity to gentrified Victorian Village
-High St. is the major thoroughfare
-existing infrastructure
-cheap space available for eclectic pioneers
-walkable streets

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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #149 on: May 19, 2017, 04:20:58 PM »
Also, a lot of absentee landlords Downtown uninterested in renting out first-floor retail spaces.

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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #150 on: May 22, 2017, 12:38:26 AM »
Wanted to weigh in on the posts of May 19th comparing favorite skylines between Cleveland Cincy Columbus and Pittsburgh (primarily)  I think Cleveland's skyline is unique in that Key Tower is significantly taller than even the second tallest Terminal Tower - and it more than doubles the majority of high rises in the heart of the downtown.  That factor along with a relative shortage of 500' high towers creates the feeling of gaps in the skyline which you don't feel with Pittsburgh or Cincinnati.  So it's "balance" and "density" that are a part of the reason why Cleveland seems (from certain angles) a bit "thin".  Though  Cleveland has the tallest building at 950 feet there are only 3 other towers over 500 feet compared to Pittsburgh with 10 towers over 500 and even Columbus with 6 over 500. Imagine how much more  impressive Cleveland would be if it added even a couple plus 500 feet towers - especially if one was, say Terminal Tower-like in height. I agree with those who say that height isn't everything - but height is a game-changer.  Think of Philly before the zoning change that allowed towers to eclipse William Penn's hat.  I think most would agree, however that Key Tower and the Terminal Tower are both world-class iconic buildings.

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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #151 on: May 22, 2017, 02:25:42 AM »
Key Tower is the contemporary of those two very tall office towers in Atlanta and the BoA tower in Charlotte.  The four of them are all kind of the same thing -- symbols of the insane late-80s commercial building boom that went bust right when each topped out.  It's more than noteworthy that each are still the tallest in their respective cities, 25+ years later.  Really illustrates how preposterously large the buildings were when they were built relative to actual market need. 

Tall buildings are being thrown up around the world at an unprecedented rate and they're definitely not special or interesting anymore.  It's hard to say if any tall building built after the Depression is actually interesting, since the technical challenges were all solved in the 1920s.  Only about ten cities in the United States have more than one prewar skyscraper.  In Ohio, we have yet to see a new building challenge the old icons in each of the 3c's.  Queen City Square in Cincinnati is a total dud. 

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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #152 on: May 22, 2017, 05:09:45 AM »
Queen City Square a dud? Nah, not at all! Keep in mind, it's easy to criticize the latest skyscraper in Cincy when it's in your home town. Not only do you know more about the project (and experienced headaches along the way) than most people but you see it often enough to where you can critique the hell out of it instead of just enjoying it as most people would. When it was first built, I had moved to Columbus and had been there a few years, after moving from Cincinnati. I remember going down to Cincy around '2011 - from Columbus (to The Justice Center to pay off traffic fines) and seeing it along the way, from 71 South. I remember it not only being a surprisingly cool, new addition to the skyline but a very iconic and aesthetically pleasing one at that. It really is a very nice looking high rise. Within the past 9 years I've lived in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland and I honestly think that Queen City Sq is the best and most significant, memorable and iconic building to come to fruition in Ohio, in the past decade. If I were still a Cincinnatian, I'd be really proud of it. Cleveland is soon to have NuCLEus but it pales in comparison, honestly.

I really like Queen City Square and I'm sure many others feel the same way.

I'm curious what all you don't like about it.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 12:03:37 PM by David »
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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #153 on: May 22, 2017, 07:28:29 AM »
Wanted to weigh in on the posts of May 19th comparing favorite skylines between Cleveland Cincy Columbus and Pittsburgh (primarily)  I think Cleveland's skyline is unique in that Key Tower is significantly taller than even the second tallest Terminal Tower - and it more than doubles the majority of high rises in the heart of the downtown.  That factor along with a relative shortage of 500' high towers creates the feeling of gaps in the skyline which you don't feel with Pittsburgh or Cincinnati.  So it's "balance" and "density" that are a part of the reason why Cleveland seems (from certain angles) a bit "thin".  Though  Cleveland has the tallest building at 950 feet there are only 3 other towers over 500 feet compared to Pittsburgh with 10 towers over 500 and even Columbus with 6 over 500. Imagine how much more  impressive Cleveland would be if it added even a couple plus 500 feet towers - especially if one was, say Terminal Tower-like in height. I agree with those who say that height isn't everything - but height is a game-changer.  Think of Philly before the zoning change that allowed towers to eclipse William Penn's hat.  I think most would agree, however that Key Tower and the Terminal Tower are both world-class iconic buildings.

You've said it better than I could - having even one building that is significantly taller and set off from the rest of the skyline can really throw things out of whack and diminish the impact of the rest of the skyline. Detroit has the same problem from some angles, where the RenCen just completely dominates everything to the point that it looks to make up an entire third of the skyline.

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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #154 on: May 23, 2017, 05:51:59 AM »
Cleveland has an expanse and scale unmatched by the others.

QCS has grown on me over the years. I thought it's top-third proportions were off and should have been another 5-10 stories taller at the setbacks with a less dominant uh, tiara.

As for that Cincy angle from say, Bellevue Hill, Carew looks ridiculously thin. It's always bothered me how this angle betrays that wonderful building, reducing it to an almost imperceptible spire.

Cincy's dynamism comes from how significantly the vistas change with the angle. In my opinion, it's most attractive and impressive viewing either from the SE (Covington cut or the Devou money shot) or NE (Prospect or Mt. Adams).

More recently, it's actually been possible and pleasing to stand at the river's edge and look at the Cincy skyline. Now that the parking lots and produce warehouses are gone, it's quite a view to take in. This has created a nice wall effect completely from your left to your right.

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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #155 on: May 23, 2017, 05:24:05 PM »
Wanted to weigh in on the posts of May 19th comparing favorite skylines between Cleveland Cincy Columbus and Pittsburgh (primarily)  I think Cleveland's skyline is unique in that Key Tower is significantly taller than even the second tallest Terminal Tower - and it more than doubles the majority of high rises in the heart of the downtown.  That factor along with a relative shortage of 500' high towers creates the feeling of gaps in the skyline which you don't feel with Pittsburgh or Cincinnati.  So it's "balance" and "density" that are a part of the reason why Cleveland seems (from certain angles) a bit "thin".  Though  Cleveland has the tallest building at 950 feet there are only 3 other towers over 500 feet compared to Pittsburgh with 10 towers over 500 and even Columbus with 6 over 500. Imagine how much more  impressive Cleveland would be if it added even a couple plus 500 feet towers - especially if one was, say Terminal Tower-like in height. I agree with those who say that height isn't everything - but height is a game-changer.  Think of Philly before the zoning change that allowed towers to eclipse William Penn's hat.  I think most would agree, however that Key Tower and the Terminal Tower are both world-class iconic buildings.

You've said it better than I could - having even one building that is significantly taller and set off from the rest of the skyline can really throw things out of whack and diminish the impact of the rest of the skyline. Detroit has the same problem from some angles, where the RenCen just completely dominates everything to the point that it looks to make up an entire third of the skyline.

I agree; Detroit's skyline looks so small because of that and the Ren Cen sticks out like a sore thumb. Detroit has a beautiful collection of grand historic high-rises but the real tragedy in the Detroit skyline is that it's common knowledge that for a metro area that big, the skyline ideally should be roughly double the size or at least 1.5x the size it is and there really hasn't been much in the way of new construction and it's so obvious just by looking at it. It's also just...not dynamic at all (which I guess is sadly a direct reflection of their economy.) I remember one year going to the Detroit Auto Show... it must have been 2004 because I had just turned 18 and was able to also have fun in Windsor. That same year, I also drove to Florida and passed through Atlanta. I was a closet nerd back then and knew that Detroit and Atlanta (at that time) had very similar MSA populations. Reasonably comparable, anyway. But my God... Atlanta's skyline was MASSIVE and so impressive compared to Detroit's, even back then. More sprawly, obviously, but there was just so much more going and it looked so eclectic and vibrant. I think skylines can be a decent indicator of a city's economic health and culture and can really effect a city's perception - for both residents and visitors.

We stayed at the Marriott in the Ren Cen for the NAIAS. Overall it was really cool and memorable! They had just renovated it. It was so clean and modern and it had a movie theater, car museum, food court...all these cool amenities right there but at the same time it was sort of a bummer because we wanted to explore downtown a lot and we did but it was somewhat hard to feel motivated to do that. You feel like you're trapped in this giant, isolated, self-sustained indoor city that takes forever to get out of. It wasn't well-integrated with its surroundings. Perhaps because it was built at a time when architecture went the complete opposite direction of hypermodernity, putting form before function, as a reference point. The huge complex IMO is bad urban form though. The Ren Cen complex didn't seem to care about the rest of downtown. I believe a subconscious part of what makes a skyline/downtown aesthetically pleasing is when it's dynamic, diverse and yet you can sense the strong relationships between all of the buildings. IMO, far away, aesthetics can even translate to defragmentation and close proximity of buildings. After all, the whole point of the density is that the buildings have this healthy, efficient symbiotic relationship - like an ecosystem or organism. Up closer, I believe aesthetics can translate to very 'permeable' buildings that provide quick and easy access to each other, transit, parks, and other nodes. First floor store fronts with giant windows that expose some of the inside activity to the outside. Eclectic buildings for all types of uses with lots of windows and entrances. It's hard to describe without getting too philosophical but essentially the opposite of a suburban office park. I think a lot of people would agree that the ugliest skyline would look like a glorified suburban office park.

I'm not sure but maybe another reason Cleveland's skyline seems less impressive than it should from certain angles is that it's big skyscrapers tend to take up entire mega-blocks with relatively very small buildings next to it. Cincinnati's skyline (which appears much fuller) has skyscrapers that take up 1/4th-1/2 of the block with a wide variety of building sizes for buildings on those same blocks so you really get that sense of depth and urban density with Cincinnati. I'm sure it also helps that the streets are so narrow. I love Cleveland's skyline though. Key Tower really is an iconic, world-class structure and I wouldn't trade Terminal Tower for anything. Once they finish a couple of these projects up here, the skyline will seriously look incredible and much fuller. I'm excited to see what its going to look like.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 05:29:14 PM by David »
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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #156 on: May 23, 2017, 06:00:48 PM »
Only about ten cities in the United States have more than one prewar skyscraper. 

Over 30 US cities have more than one prewar skyscraper.  I once did a spreadsheet on this very subject, using 80' as the minimum height.  Cleveland has 7, Cincinnati has 4, and Columbus just the one.  Akron has 1, Toledo and Dayton both have 2.  For reference, NYC has 118 (remaining) and Chicago has 37.
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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #157 on: May 23, 2017, 09:48:36 PM »
Come on 80 feet is weak.  I mean more like 300 feet, if not 500.  Cincinnati has two 500 foot prewar skyscrapers, both of which are still prominent in the skyline. 

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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #158 on: May 23, 2017, 10:58:08 PM »
Only about ten cities in the United States have more than one prewar skyscraper. 

Over 30 US cities have more than one prewar skyscraper.  I once did a spreadsheet on this very subject, using 80' as the minimum height.  Cleveland has 7, Cincinnati has 4, and Columbus just the one.  Akron has 1, Toledo and Dayton both have 2.  For reference, NYC has 118 (remaining) and Chicago has 37.

Your spreadsheet is incorrect regarding most of those cities, if not all.  For example, Downtown Columbus alone has 15+ buildings over 80 feet built before WWII.  I don't know if you meant 80, or 180 (either case, Columbus still has more than 1 in downtown alone).
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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #159 on: May 23, 2017, 11:21:18 PM »
I think he meant 80 meters, not feet.

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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #160 on: May 23, 2017, 11:57:25 PM »
I think he meant 80 meters, not feet.

That would give Cleveland more than one as well, with AT&T and Huntington
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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #161 on: Yesterday at 08:34:06 AM »
I think he meant 80 meters, not feet.

That's a random metric, if so.
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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #162 on: Yesterday at 08:53:20 AM »
So, about the Rust Belt revival ideas.....
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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #163 on: Yesterday at 10:47:19 AM »
I think he meant 80 meters, not feet.


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Re: Rust Belt Revival Ideas, Predictions & Articles
« Reply #164 on: Today at 11:44:07 AM »
Yes I meant 80 meters, not feet.  Sorry about that.  Reality determined the cutoff metric as 80-100 meters turns out to be the most common height for them.  The heights follow a pretty regular distribution up from there, 100 meters being a bit more rare, 120 a lot more rare, etc.  Below 80 meters you get a lot of church spires and city halls and other structures that don't really fit the bill.  80 meters still eliminates a few things it shouldn't, like Cleveland's Midland/Landmark building at 79, but them's the breaks.
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