California is an urban state, but it also has about a million small cities. All right, maybe not a million. Actually, there are 377 incorporated cities in California with fewer than 75,000 people.
We have already reviewed the best and worst downtowns in California's big
cities. Now we cast our gaze to the downtowns of the state's small cities. Some of these cities have classic Main Street downtowns with mom-and-pop businesses and a lunch counter where all the good ol' boys and girls gather every day. Other cities have reinvented their downtowns with a new urbanist bent in recent years. Some cities have big plans, but not much else.
We could use your help. We've already heard from readers promoting downtowns in San Luis Obispo, Walnut Creek, Davis and Burlingame. All worthy suggestions. But what are your favorites — and why? What isolated cities have a functioning, self-contained downtown? What mountain community has a downtown that works for residents and tourists? Who has done the best job of redeveloping a blighted core area or creating a new downtown where none previously existed.
I guarantee that reader input has an impact, as it certainly influenced our recent rankings of mid-sized city downtowns. Feel free to post comments at the bottom of this blog, email us directly or simply pick up the phone. We're planning to release our list in November.
- Paul Shigley