Sunday, November 8, 2009

Downtown Kalamazoo

1. Write a short evaluation of Downtown Kalamazoo's business area using specific examples from Friday's observations.
I really like downtown Kalamazoo. I like the originality the shops and how they are unique to the city of Kalamazoo. It gives the downtown authenticity. There are no popular brand stores. For example, instead of a Footlocker there is a shoe store called V&A Bootery. To me, the main street is kind of boring and unappealing because it is filled with banks and restaurants. I like the side streets like Burdick and actually like the one-way street because it makes the area seem more peaceful. The abundance of shops isn't overwhelming and I definitely want to spend more time downtown to explore.

2. Give at least three recommendations to improve the downtown.
- The signs are very readable for pedestrians, but could be hard for drivers to navigate by. The writing could be in a bigger font.
- On the main street, many of the windows are dark and uninviting. The stores almost seem vacant. Some of the stores don't even have the name of the store visible to passersby. There should be more visual clues for passersby.
-The one thing that annoys me (and can be frustrating to drivers) about down town Seattle and downtown Kalamazoo is the abundances of one way streets. I like how the side streets like Burdick are one way because it reduces the traffic and chaos, but when trying leave downtown it is frustrating to find your way out.

3. Select a brief passage from the Gibbs and Whyte articles and relate it to Kalamazoo's downtown. Use specific observations from Kalamazoo to illustrate the point.
"An outstanding example of second storiness is Madison Avenue in the Sixties and Seventies. It is now probably the finest specialty-shop street int eh world, yet its basic elements are quite ordinary. The basic module is the five-story brownstone, twenty feet wide, ten brownstones to a block; and, while quite a few have been replaced by newer and higher buildings, the brownstone still sett the form and character of the street. With few exceptions, their first and second stories are used for stores, and the same is true with a number of the newer buildings that adjoin them".
The main street has a mix of modern and old buildings. The older buildings have several stories and the architecture is notably a different style from the modern brick buildings. These taller stories aren't open to public or used for the stores, but rather there for visual appeal. The mixture of these different types of architecture gives downtown its character and its historical charm.

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