November 12 2012

The Top 3 Similarities Between Spokane/Spokane Valley’s and Vancouver/Portland’s Metropolitan Relationships

spokane winter

Metropolitan areas always have a dominating, bustling municipality at the heart. These regional strongholds, with their loud industrial and commercial districts in which crime is common, soon sprouted the desire in residents to get the heck out of there and move outwards to a cheaper, suburban lifestyle. A “stronghold” is a larger, older municipality than its suburb, which for this article will be regarded as a city with a focus on residential land uses. Recounted below are the top 3 similarities between two major Pacific Northwest metro areas: inland stronghold Spokane, WA and its Eastern suburb Spokane Valley, WA, and Columbia stronghold Portland, OR and its Northern suburb, Vancouver, WA.

1) Cultural Mindset and Attitude

Spokane and Portland both hold similar mentalities towards their respective suburbs; The stronghold is for the young, hip folk who like to go out at night and the suburb is filled with boring families with grubby kids and overly structured home lives. This is exemplified by Portland’s legally official nickname changed in 2006 to Beertown, as well as its second place after Seattle as “America’s Best City for Hipsters.” Spokane has 74 adult watering holes, mostly housed in its limited downtown core.


2) Stronghold Outdoorsman Mentality/Suburb Homebody Mentality

Both Portland and Spokane brag about their closeness to popular snow resorts, hiking, and biking trails, and water sports opportunities. Spokane has even gone so far as to dedicate its official motto to this mindset: “Near Nature, Near Perfect.” Whereas Vancouver’s motto is a generic and conservative, “A Colorful Past, A Bright Future.”

3) Downtown Areas and Lack Thereof

These historic stronghold cities have seen a longer life than their suburbs, and therefore still have the commercial and industrial bones required to make a city fully functional. Portland’s downtown area is 2.58km2 not counting the high-density neighborhoods it is skirted by, and Spokane’s is a respectable core of about 4.08km2- keep in mind that it is not nearly the density of Portland’s. Vancouver tops our suburbs by a landslide with a downtown core of 0.56km2, while Spokane Valley has absolutely no downtown- historic, modern, or otherwise- whatsoever.

Does this seem familiar with your own regional stronghold(s)? Let us know in the comment section below!

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Aascot Holt

Aascot Holt is an undergraduate at Eastern Washington University, pursuing a major in Urban and Regional Planning and a minor in Geography. She will graduate in the spring of 2013. She is from Stevenson, WA and currently lives in Spokane, WA in a brick 1936 kit house. She is most intrigued by small-city and small town planning, parks and recreation planning, long-range planning, and historic preservation. She hopes to continue her habit of being involved with many planning projects at a time, and fears being pigeonholed. Aascot maintains the “Being A Planning Student” Tumblr as well as her planning-centric blog, The Comprehensive. She is currently writing Cheney, WA’s entirely new comprehensive parks, recreation, and trails plan, completely pro bono. More can be learned about her endeavors via LinkedIn.

This entry was posted on Monday, November 12th, 2012 at 5:47 am and is filed under Content, Government/Politics, Social/Demographics, Urban Development/Real Estate. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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