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Thread: Cities that seem like fraternal twins separated at birth (or close to)

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    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Cities that seem like fraternal twins separated at birth (or close to)

    There's been a thread identifying twin cities, or areas that are near each other and share a lot of common ground, workforce, etc., but where one is slightly larger than the other, like Minneapolis-St. Paul, Dallas-Fort Worth, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Bloomington-Normal... the list goes on.

    On the other hand, there are cities that seemed to have similar demographics, economics, population numbers (both city and/or metro), histories, sometimes climates (but not always), and culture, or cities that just conjure up images and feelings that are similar to certain people. A close analogy is in the title of this thread: cities that almost seem like fraternal twins separated at birth, yet who have wound up in somewhat similar circumstances and attributes. So what does Cyburbia feel constitute these types of groupings?

    Here's my list:
    • Dallas and Houston (and sometimes Atlanta)
    • Cleveland and Pittsburgh
    • Cincinnati and Louisville
    • Seattle and Denver
    • Portland and Austin
    • San Francisco and Boston (and sometimes Washington DC)
    • Tucson and Albuquerque
    • Tulsa and Omaha
    • Oklahoma City and Fort Worth (and sometimes Kansas City)
    • Chicago and Detroit (historically until the post-WWII era - not currently)

    Any others? Or any expounding or refutation of my list?

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Though some may not agree, I'll venture out and say Portland, Austin and Boise could have been siblings birthed in that order.

    Related article

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  3. #3
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Hartford CT and Springfield MA
    Albany/Schenectady/Troy
    Lowell and Lawrence MA
    Fall River and New Bedford MA

    A lot of smaller cities in the northeast share similar characteristics

  4. #4
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    I often think that the similarities between the Bay Area and Boston are a bit exaggerated. Sure, both areas have higher income and education levels than most areas, both are historical second tier banking centers (after NY and Chicago), both have a large group of top level colleges and graduate schools, and both are primary tech and biotech hubs, but beyond that the similarities really fall apart.

    Culturally and ethnically, Boston has always seemed far more homogeneous to me, though perhaps that's just my perception. Built form is somewhat similar, though SF is almost entirely on a few different grids, while Boston has the crazy medieval feel to much of its street network, and SF is almost entirely devoid of masonry buildings, where Boston's got quite a lot of multi-century old masonry buildings. Topography is quite different as well. Most of the sprawl around the Bay Area is much more similar to LA sprawl than New England sprawl.

    In a lot of ways, I think it's a tough call over whether the Seattle area is closer fraternal twin to SF or whether Boston is.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    That's a pretty good list, I think. Albuquerqueans hate to be compared to any other city (and its true that its hard to find a comparable) but I think Tucson is definitely the closest.

    I would add Philadelphia and Baltimore (and their smaller bastard child Wilmington)

    I didn't spend a lot of time in either, but Bloomington, IN and Madison, WI have always seemed similar in my mind.
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    To me, many of the college towns in the South, especially those that are the location of the state's flagship universities have similar feelings, Gainesville, FL, Athens, GA, Chapel Hill, NC, Charlottesville, VA....good transit, pedestrian-friendly, large local arts community, many cultural activities.

    I am trying to figure out the twin of my current metro...Raleigh/Durham, we get compared to Austin quite a bit as far as our workforce and the research that goes on here, but as far as the setting, its pretty unique as far as I know.
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  7. #7
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Champaign-Urbana, IL and Lafayette-West Lafayette, IN
    Columbus, OH and Indianapolis, IN
    Atlanta, GA and Nashville, TN
    Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA
    Toronto and Chicago
    Calgary, Alberta and Denver, CO
    Salt Lake City and Colorado Springs, CO
    Las Vegas and New Orleans (Strip and Bourbon Street)
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  8. #8
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Adding a few more.....

    Cincinnati and Pittsburgh
    Lansing and South Bend
    Traverse City and Alpena
    Toledo and Rochester (NY)
    Minneapolis/St. Paul and De Noc
    Rapid City and Kalispell

    Bear
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Boston and Providence, RI (although Boston is clearly the big brother)
    Minneapolis and Seattle and/or Denver
    Portland, ME and Burlington, VT
    Hartford, CT and Springfield, MA


    BTW, I agree with Bear's comments on SF and Boston, although I would venture that Berkeley, CA and Cambridge, MA have a lot in common. Berkeley is like Cambridge in a much more naturally beautiful location.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Flagstaff and Boulder.

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    From the photos I've seen of its residential areas, Milwaukee seems like the bastard child of Chicago and Buffalo.

    Politically and culturally Austin and Portland are similar, but the built environment is entirely different. When I spent a few days in Portland several years ago, it seemed to feel like a greener Denver. With legal marijuana in Denver now, I'd say there's an even closer similarity.

    Surprised nobody said Dayton, Ohio ≈ Akron, Ohio

    Grand Junction, Colorado ≈ Las Cruces, New Mexico
    South Bend, Indiana ≈ Syracuse, NY? (Both metros around the same size, both with so-so economies, both with large-ish private colleges, both with large Irish-American communities)
    Fort Collins, Colorado ≈ Eugene, Oregon?
    Cary, North Carolina ≈ pick any large uber-planned suburb of Denver (Aurora, Arvada, Louisville, Parker, etc).
    South Euclid, Ohio ≈ Kenmore, New York
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  12. #12
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    This is a fun game. Allow this Bear to add a few more.....

    Thunder Bay, Ontario and Duluth, MN
    Grain elevators, Lake Superior, Upper Great Lakes climate, heavy forest to the west
    Both have "twins".....Duluth-Superior and the merged twins that now make-up Thunder Bay

    Edmonton, Alberta and Yakutsk, Russia
    Large cities that each claim to be the "coldest major city" in the world

    Gary & East St. Louis
    Down-on-their-luck suburbs of Chicago and St. Louis, respectively
    Urban battlegrounds
    Often discussed by urban planners and Cyburbiafolk

    Vancouver and Hong Kong
    Striking skylines and topography
    Dense
    Economic description: Bustling

    Ann Arbor and Madison
    Good-sized Big 10 towns
    Short distance (relatively speaking) from major metro
    Hip, liberal

    Timmins and Yellowknife (Both in Canada)
    "Thar's gold in them thar hills!"
    Odd splotches of urban in a seemingly infinite sea of arctic and near-arctic landscapes
    _____

    Bear
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  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    St. Louis and Memphis -
    on opposite sides of Ol' Man River and
    airports that used to be hub cities served by my fair city's airport.

    Denver and Salt Lake City -
    gateway cities/airports to the mountains/skiing
    Mountains in opposite directions.
    State Capitals

    Paducah, KY and Portsmouth, OH -
    on opposite sides of The Ohio River and
    have levee wall murals by Robert Dafford
    Last edited by JNA; 16 Jan 2010 at 9:18 PM.
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    <snip>
    Here's my list:
    • Cincinnati and Louisville

    Any others? Or any expounding or refutation of my list?
    Erm, no. Cincinnati is much more conservative than Louisville. Louisville is very much a southern city while Cincy is northern. Cincy has the Reds and Bengals; Louisville has no major professional sports teams. Louisville has much more interest in the arts, including the Humana Festival and other nationally recognized art programs and the only complete Olmstead park system. Cincy is Big Bill Taft; Louisville is Louis Brandeis. Finally: Muhammad Ali. 'Nuff said.

  15. #15
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North View post
    Gary & East St. Louis
    Down-on-their-luck suburbs of Chicago and St. Louis, respectively
    Urban battlegrounds
    Often discussed by urban planners and Cyburbiafolk
    I have to disrespectfully disagree, but only a little bit. Gary still has a few decent neighborhoods at the far south end of the city, and there's also the Miller neighborhood; a predominantly white enclave. East St. Louis is in far worse condition than Gary.

    I'd say a better parallel with East St. Louis is Camden, New Jersey, as an across-the-river industrial satellite city, but I think the prospect of recovery looks brighter for Camden than for both Gary and East St. Louis.
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    Cyburbian Bubba's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rygor View post
    Atlanta, GA and Nashville, TN
    I don't see this one. I've spent plenty of time in Nashville (and have lived in metro Atlanta for 20 years) - nothing in Nashville says "Atlanta" to me (and vice-versa).

    Quote Originally posted by Rygor View post
    Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA
    Good one - and you could add in Beaufort, SC as a smaller version of those two.
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    Not so similar, plus some riffs

    Not so similar: Pittsburgh w/Cleve and Cincy. Pittsburgh much less troubled, much stronger intown communities (though downtowns not that different).

    For example, Jewish community is one canary in the coal mine: Pittsburgh's is still urban (Squirrel Hill, about 4 miles from downtown), while Cleveland and Cincy have almost nothing left within city limits.

    Not so similar: St Louis and Memphis. Memphis much more sprawling and Sun Belty even after St. Louis's decades of decay.

    And a riff or two: Evil Twins- cities similar but one worse off (more deserted by middle class or more violent) than the other.

    Baltimore is Philly's evil twin
    Camden is Newark's evil twin
    Savannah is Charleston's evil twin (OK, not that evil by national standards!)

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Dave F's avatar
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    Lincoln, NE and Des Moines, IA

    Both of these capital cities are secondary markets within the larger great plains region. Each are somewhat overshadowed by Omaha economically and culturally within a narrower geographic region. Moving further away, these cities are two steps down from Metros such as Kansas City, Minneapolis and St. Louis (each of which are of course outclassed by Chicago).

    Both of these cities, in addition to being state capitals, have similar profiles as far as largely specializing in "clean" white collar industries, sucha as FIRE and publishing. These two cities also have decidedly lower percentages of racial and ethnic minorities than the region's larger cities. Finally, these two have similarity as far as having significant higher education resources in and near the core city.

    The biggest differences are that the Des Moines area's big state university is 30 miles away in Ames, whereas, UNL is in downtown Lincoln. Also, Des Moines, while a smaller city, has a substanitally larger suburban belt, so the metros end up in slightly different classes.

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    Cyburbian DecaturHawk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    I didn't spend a lot of time in either, but Bloomington, IN and Madison, WI have always seemed similar in my mind.
    I'd say that Bloomington IN is more like Iowa City IA or Columbia MO, whereas I would compare Madison to Ann Arbor. Of course, Madison is a capital city and Ann Arbor is not, but they are similar in most every other way.

    I would add:

    Springfield IL and Lansing MI
    Jefferson City MO and Frankfort KY
    Sioux City IA and Sioux Falls SD (although SF is more prosperous)
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    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bubba View post
    I don't see this one. I've spent plenty of time in Nashville (and have lived in metro Atlanta for 20 years) - nothing in Nashville says "Atlanta" to me (and vice-versa).



    Good one - and you could add in Beaufort, SC as a smaller version of those two.
    Thanks for the input on Atlanta-Nashville. I've never really been to Atlanta (just driven through), but when I think of the two I think large metro's that are capital cities, and southern culture. They also both have large universities in the middle of them (Georiga Tech and Vanderbilt, respectively).
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    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DecaturHawk View post
    I would add:

    Springfield IL and Lansing MI
    Definitely. The one time I was in Springfield reminds me alot of Lansing.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    New Orleans and Atlanta
    New Orleans and Houston

    Before Katrina, a lot of New Orleans natives moved to the Houston and Atlanta areas. This was one of the reasons why so many people evacuated to those cities after the hurricane.

    Here's a short article about the effect evacuees may have with Texas gaining more Congressional seats.
    Last edited by Planderella; 20 Jan 2010 at 1:17 PM.
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    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    I cannot think of a sister city for Honolulu. Any suggestions?

  24. #24
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    Definitely. The one time I was in Springfield reminds me alot of Lansing.
    Defintely.

    Peoria and Cedar Rapids are also very much the same.

    My metro is unique - a conglomeration of small cities and suburbs, 350K, spread equally between two states, divided (or joined, as the CoC people say), by America's greatest river.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally posted by TOFB View post
    My metro is unique - a conglomeration of small cities and suburbs, 350K, spread equally between two states, divided (or joined, as the CoC people say), by America's greatest river.
    You never told me you were in Louisville, KY.

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