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Should Pasadena And Santa Barbara Get All The Attention?

Aug 8, 2007
So not everybody thinks downtown Long Beach is a better place than downtown L.A. But at least everybody agrees Fresno has the worst big-city downtown in California.

We stirred things up recently when we ranked California's big-city downtowns. People in Long Beach loved us, while advocates of the new urban scene in L.A. were not happy. "How could anyone be so ignorant as to rank downtown Long Beach, which is like a northern extension of suburban Orange County, ahead of the downtown in the country's second largest city?"

No one, however, has quibbled with our listing of downtown Fresno as the worst. No one. Poor Fresno.

Now CP&DR is taking the next step: We're scrutinizing the downtowns in California's mid-sized cities. These are some of the most enjoyable downtowns anywhere the sort of districts that planners take photos of while on vacation so they can show their city council back home. Think Santa Barbara and Pasadena.

But are the downtowns in those ballyhooed and extremely expensive cities really the best? What mid-sized city might be commonly overlooked? What city is on the right track toward downtown greatness thanks to effective planning and thoughtful development? Conversely, what mid-sized city has a hopeless case for a downtown?

Tell us what you think via comments at the bottom of this blog, emails or phone calls. If you speak up now, you just might influence the list that we intend to release in a few weeks.

- Paul Shigley
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