|Manhattan, New York|
Over the past several months we've intermittently talk about downtowns but we've never really defined them. What makes up a downtown? Is it the number of people who live and/or work there? The concentration of businesses? In the article "The Problem With Defining 'Downtown,'" posted on The Atlantic Cities, writer Emily Badger attempts to come up with a definition of what a downtown is based on census data. Ms. Badger also looks at the concentration of jobs and the number of residents living and commuting in and out of the presumed center of a city. It's a good attempt to define what a downtown is and the concepts put forth are applicable to major cities around the United States and the rest of the globe.
|Downtown Baltimore, MD from Federal Hill|
|Downtown Philadelphia. PA|
|Downtown Seattle, Washington|
This brings us back to Baltimore. If we take the data one step further and apply it to "Charm City," we get a "downtown" employment within a one-mile radius of city hall. Baltimore is a very compact city so, truthfully, this not all that surprising. Using this methodology, Mr. Levy and Ms. Gilchrist counted 231 major employment centers in America's 150 major cities that, collectively, contain 14.4 percent of all the country's jobs. It's now possible to compare them, using various measures, 28 of the job centers have more than 100 per acre-national average is 0.05 jobs per acre.
|Downtown Chicago from Lake Michigan|
Chicago, Illinois has an impressive 52.3 percent of workers who live near the "Windy City's" downtown, actually work there. For comparison sake, Midtown Manhattan has 48.2 percent of workers who live near the downtown area where they work. The database also counts workers living within a half mile of these jobs. If you'd like more information please go to http://www.definingdowntown.org. This is a work in progress. The definition of what is a downtown is relative to demographics and employment. For now, we have to rely on establishing a boundary for downtown based on short radius from city hall.
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