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.