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Thread: Your City's Personality

  1. #1

    Jul 2002
    Chicago, IL

    Your City's Personality

    I'm a firm believer that cities adopt personalities over time. For example, Chicago got the nickname "Windy City" in the 1890s from New York journalists at the Chicago World's Fair -- because of its vigorous boosterism, not because of strong lake breezes. I think Chicago still has a healthy ego bent on self-promotion.

    My take on cities and their personalities:

    Inferiority Complex (we don't have this, we don't have that..)
    St. Louis

    Superiority Complex (everyone should be like us!)
    New York
    Washington, DC

    Emerging Young Lions (we wanna be big, too!)
    Charlotte, NC
    Jacksonville, FL
    Nashville, TN

    We're Different (and we like being that way)
    San Francisco
    Portland, OR
    New Orleans

    Can you think of other cities and their respective personalities?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
    Oct 2001

    Good Post.

    I would agree with your assessment -but I have not been to but a third of the cities on your list.

    I have also noticed that the flavor of communities can change on the micro level also. Certain people in one rural county may have vastly different attitudes than another. But no apparent reason for the major difference in attitudes is noticeable to the outside observer.

    Kansas City, MO - We're an ongoing governmental/school district disaster - but please be kind enough not to metion it will you?
    el Guapo is a former 20 year +/- urban planner (just like you) who thought becoming an attorney was a good life choice.

  3. #3
    You can add Milwaukee, WI to your inferiority complex.
    People here have Chicago envy. They will deny it, but being so close to Chicago, it is inevitable.

    I think the addition of the Calatrava Art Museum, Miller Park, and the all star game are helping, but Milwaukee has a long way to go before people here will get over this inferiority complex.

  4. #4

    Jul 2002
    Chicago, IL
    I'd agree that Milwaukee has a good case of Chicago envy. However, I think it doesn't compare to Detroit's defensiveness.

    Are there other cities whose envy of a nearby big brother affects its general community psyche?

    Oakland and San Jose? (San Francisco)
    Houston? (Dallas)
    Phoenix and San Diego? (LA)

    Just asking.

  5. #5

    Oct 2001
    Solano County, California
    San Jose is not really a City.

  6. #6
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries
    Quiet cities - those cities that you don't really hear much about, despite their positive or negative qualities.

    Greensboro, North Carolina
    Sacramento, California
    Spokane, Washington
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Wichita, Kansas
    Rochester, New York
    Scranton, Pennsylvania
    Dayton, Ohio
    Columbia, South Carolina
    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

    "Why can't you be more like your brother" -- the somewhat smaller sibling city, a town that's always in the shadows of their nearby big brother/sister.

    St. Paul, Minnesota
    Oakland, California
    St. Petersburg, Florida
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Hamilton, Ontario
    Durham, North Carolina
    Tacoma, Washington
    Vancouver, Washington
    Lansing, Michigan

    That unlucky neighbor kids -- parents always gave them secondhand clothes, and maybe slapped them around a little too much. Life's been hard on them, especially compared to the kid next door who had it okay.

    Gary, Indiana
    East St. Louis, Illinois
    Camden, New Jersey

    The fat girls that insist on wearing Spandex (tm) - politically incorrect, I know, but I can't think of any other way to describe such places. They're less than appealing aesthetically, but they know how to strut.

    El Paso, Texas
    Memphis, Tennessee
    Nashville, Tennessee
    Chatanooga, Tennessee
    Atlantic City, New Jersey

    The good, wholesome kids - gets good grades, goes to church, does well in sports, and is generally thought of as allright, albiet a bit dull.

    Columbus, Ohio
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Edmonton, Alberta

    The thumpers - those cities you run away from as soon as they approach you, for fear that you'll be stuck in a long conversation about acknowledgement of Christ Jesus as your personal lord and savior.

    Colorado Springs, Colorado
    Topeka, Kansas
    Greenville, South Carolina

    The perfect kids - Straight A student, a champ at sports, gets all the girls/guys, never had a zit ... you hate them, don't you?

    Denver, Colorado
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Phoenix, Arizona
    San Diego, California
    Seattle, Washington
    Vancouver, British Columbia

    The snotty perfect kids - They're a straight A student, a champ at sports, gets all the girls/guys, never had a zit ... and they constantly chatter on about how they're all that.

    Toronto, Ontario

    The slut -- self-explanatory.

    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Orlando, Florida
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Miami, Florida
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  7. #7
    Cyburbian statler's avatar
    Jul 2002
    Boston Area
    Hmm..I'd have to disagree about your assent of Boston (At least from an insiders view)
    I always felt we've live under the shadow of NYC.
    The Sox vs The Yanks
    The NYC subway system Vs The T
    5 million pop vs 500,000 pop.
    The Babe Ruth Trade
    Boston was once the main shipping port in the US till all the commerce went to NYC.
    Even today there is a lot of 'worry' in the local press about the best academics and doctors leaving Boston institutions (schools and hospitials are the only 'world class' things we have left) and heading down to 'The City"
    For a while there was at least one story a week in the local paper about whether Boston was a 'World Class' city (it 's not)

    I think Boston is kind of like a school-yard bully. Confident on the outside but a scared, insecure little kid on the inside.
    Just my opinion.

  8. #8

    Jan 2002
    Home of the Browns


    Minor Leaguers

    I think that any major city in the rustbelt is like the veteran minor league player who called up for a game in the majors every now and then. They've had the taste of the bigtime (i.e. Industrial Revolution in their younger years, national fame from time to time), and they strive to acquire a spot on the permanent major league roster for its prestige. However, they just never have that luck and skill.

  9. #9

    Jul 2002
    Chicago, IL

    Re: Rustbeltia

    Originally posted by Virtue City
    I think that any major city in the rustbelt is like the veteran minor league player who called up for a game in the majors every now and then. [/B]
    Conversely, Sun Belt cities are the hot-shot prospects in the minors whose progess is closely watched? Who reach the majors full of arrogance and physical skills, but with little knowledge of how to actually play the game?

    The prospect who is occasionally humbled by the veteran minor leaguer who has survived on grit?

  10. #10
    Oct 2001
    Following up on Virtue City's observations, the Cleveland T shirt of the late '70s was "Cleveland: You've got to be tough!" The taste of the big time was so far away in so many ways the city didn't think it could ever get up again. Later, when the breaks started to come it's way there was always a slight to follow. Cleveland lobbied hard to be the home of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, but when it comes to induction time the ceremonies are held in NYC or elsewhere.

    Clevelanders have thin skins: They're proud of Drew Carey and his nostalgic views of local culture but really get sore when some out-of-towner cracks on the city. They like to see the city named in print but if it's on the list of most overweight populations or most segregated city they're quick to object. They love that blue collar rock and country and can't understand why more "artistic" or "difficult" entertainment seldom makes it to town.

    Smaller cities like Akron have it worse. They're under the shadow of the shadow. Grudges against Cleveland last for decades. When Akron lost a network affiliate residents refused to tune in the Cleveland station that pulled the plug. The mayors are talking to one another these days and the fact makes headlines.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
    Aug 2001

    San Diego...

    Dan... I really think of San Diego as a Catholic School Girl... It looks all snotty and perfect, but hangs out with the bad neighborhood kids (such as TJ) and can be a little slutty when she wants to be (like when all the Navy boys are back from cruise).

  12. #12
    Jul 2002
    Farmington, MI/Oxford, OH
    Hey, if you loved Detroit and had to listen to people constantly rip on it, you would be defensive too.

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