West Riverside- Stable riverside neighborhood in New Orleans’ Uptown District

The West Riverside name is a modern invention by NOLA’s City Planning department to break up the vast Uptown/Carrollton Area. Not sure if locals even use the “West Riverside” name to refer to the neighborhood. Being along the river the West Riverside neighborhood really stops at Tchoupitoulas. South of here to the Mississippi River is a pretty inaccessible industrial area. The topology of the housing stock is mostly more modest shot guns and bungalows with some more regal Uptown housing mixed in. Housing prices, however, are almost as high as surrounding neighborhoods like Audubon and Uptown, which do have larger southern mansions.

West Riverside has a high level of walkability with convenient access to the lengthy Magazine business district, lots of bars, restaurants, & cafes mixed throughout the neighborhood, and good public transit access. There are several areas for improvement that prevent West Riverside from being a top NOLA neighborhood. That includes limited access to park and recreational space, mediocre schools, limited bike infrastructure,  a spotty tree canopy, and a rather autocentric/industrial corridor running down Tchoupitoulas Street. Like other Uptown neighborhoods, West Riverside could use more affordable housing options and racial diversity. 

Click here to view my New Orleans Album on Flickr


* Decent urban density.
* Good public transit and solid access to Dwtn via biking, driving, and public transport.
* Highly efficient and gridded street grid.
* Good walkability thanks to hosting the Magazine commercial district throughout its entire length. Lots of mixed-use development through the district.
* Solid generational diversity with good age diversity and about 35% of households with kids.
* Good # of rentals, generally on the pricy side, but some more moderately priced options. 1-beds lease anywhere btwn 1K-2K, 2-beds rent btwn the low 1Ks to low 2Ks, also some 3-beds that lease anywhere btwn 2K-4K.
* ADA curb cuts exist on about 50% of all intersections. Generally good sidewalks but some bad spots in parts.
* Attractive historic housing but more modest that other Uptown neighborhoods with all the shot gun river houses here.
*Overall a very safe community.
* Good cultural amenities including a lots of good & bev bizs, several cafes and night clubs, and several live music venues.
* Solid retail amenities with 3 full service supermarkets, a couple drug stores, plenty of boutiques, gift shops & salons along Magazine Street, a couple book stores, a toy store, a couple banks, several florists, plenty of dessert shops, and a couple gyms. Also a public library, and a children’s hospital.
* Generally good urban massing along Magazine Street.


* Dedicated bike lanes along Napoleon but nowhere else. West Riverside is unfortunately outside of the dedicated bike share zone.
* Economic diversity is pretty limited as this is a solid upper middle class neighborhood.
* For sale hsg is generally pretty expensive but some more modestly priced smaller options. 1-bed homes sell anywhere btwn 200K- 600K. 2-beds sell btwn 350K-850K. 3 & 4 beds sell anywhere btwn 450K-1.3M.
* Really no dedicated affordable hsg in the neighborhood.
* Parks amenities are so so . Great access to Audubon Park in the western age of the neighborhood. Pretty limited park access in the eastern half of the district.
* A decent # of schools within West Riverside and nearby mixing a several private and public/charter schools. Public/charter schools are not ranked well.
* Missing a local post office, few churches here, only a handful of medical offices, and o chain clothing or department stores.
* Modern architecture is mainly limited to crummy strip malls along Tchoupitoulas St and Magazine St. Some good infill homes. Tchoupitoulas is has some pretty bad autocentric stretches.
* Tree canopy is so so.

North Capitol Hill, Denver- Part Downtown and Part Urban Neighborhood

North Capitol Park is often referred to as Uptown. This district along with Capitol Hill was one of the first neighborhoods where the wealthy of the City settled in the 1870s and 1880s. But similar to Capitol Hill it experienced a downturn after WWII and many historic homes where either demolished or converted into rentals. The edge of the district near Dwtn also got more or less incorporated in the  CBD with some office buildings but also a lot of surface parking lots and underutilized space.

Currently, North Capitol Park is undergoing significant redevelopment and gentrification, with many young residents and transplants moving here. This is largely due to its proximity to Dwtn, walkability, and significant cultural amenities and night life.

For North Capitol Park to become a great neighborhood lots of in-fill development is needed in the western half of the district. Because of all the surface parking lots here it lacks great urban cohesion. Parks of Colfax Avenue are also pretty auto centric. The district also needs more parks and trees.

Click here to view my North Capitol Hill Album on Flickr


* Great urban density.
* Walkable access to Dwtn. Also great transit service and bike infrastructure here.
* Good but not great ADA infrastructure as many curbs are missing modern ADA cuts.
* Pretty good access to walkable schools within or near North Capitol Park. Generally good ratings.
* Hsg on the pricey but a ton of moderately price condos. 1 beds sell anywhere btwn 300K-600K, 2-beds 350K-1M, 3 & 4 beds btwn 500-1.3M with condos being on the cheaper end.
* Tons of rentals and comparatively moderately priced comparted to other Denver neighborhoods. Studios 1-beds lease anywhere in the 1Ks, 2-beds 1.5K to 3K, 3-beds are limited. It seems there are a good amount of affordable hsg here.
* Great cultural amenities including many restaurants, bars, nightclubs & cafes. Also several art galleries, a couple live music venues,. Also great access to all the many cultural assets Dwtn and in the Golden Triangle.
* Good retail amenities including several gourmet super markets, a home depot a couple drug stores, some boutiques , home good and creative stores, tons of banks, a bookstore, several desserts shops & gyms, and plenty of churches. Also walkable access to the many retail options along 16th street (Dwtn) including a Target.
* Nice historic homes on the eastern half of the district. Some very spectacular bldg.


* Generally a safe area. Some sketchy stretches along Colfax and some lingering crime issues.
* Park Amenities are limited to the small Benedict Fountain Park and Civic Center Plaza.
* Ok tree canopy better on the eastern half.
* Good # of surface parking lots, esp. on the western half close to dwtn.  Weird mix of infill, historic bldgs and parking lots here.
* Colfax avenue is a mix of good and poor urban form.

Charlotte’s Uptown- the largest CBD of the Carolinas

Uptown Charlotte is split into four wards intersected by the crossroads of Trade and Tryon Streets. I used the borders of Interstate 277 and the railroad (to the north). Traditionally Dwtn extends all the way north to 277 but this area feels like a separate district to me. The term “Uptown” referring to the geographic location of Tryon and Trade Street, sitting at a higher elevation than the rest of the city. Much deliberation went into whether to use Uptown or Downtown or even City Center. Uptown eventually won out with City Center meaning Uptown and surrounding inner city neighborhoods.

The 1st Ward , once considered one of the most dangerous areas in Charlotte, has been redeveloped thanks to a HUD Hope VI grant into a mixed income district. Urban form here is ok as all housing is new. Not really mixed-use, but some good urbanism near Tyron and First Ward Park is attractive. The 2nd Ward  was formerly the location of the predominantly black neighborhood, Brooklyn, before urban renewal took over. Probably one of the biggest tragedies in Charlotte resulting in a uninspiring modernist environment.  Uptown’s third ward hosts the bulk of “Dwtn fabric” surrounding a streetcar line and Tyron Street. Lots of good mixed-use development, skyscrapers, cultural assets, sport stadiums, and the attractive Romare Bearden Park. The 4th Ward   can be considered a stand alone neighborhood as well but is integrated seamlessly with Dwtn. It contains Charlotte’s best Victorian turn of the century architecture with sensible modern in-fill and many great mixed-use amenities.

With the under development of the 1st & 2nd Wards, Uptown Charlotte has plenty of areas that need further urban development and infill to have the complete Dwtn package of vibrancy and walkability. Given the furious pace of new construction, I’m hopeful this will eventually occur. 
Click here to view my Uptown Album on Flickr


* Great ADA infrastructure and generally good sidewalks, but street can be very wide and auto centric making it uncomfortable to be a pedestrian.
* Good population density in Charlotte but often pretty spreadout. 4th Ward has excellent density.
* With all most all the building being new its fortunately that much of it is quality design and good form. Generally the best architecture is concentrated in the core (Tyron & Trade) and in the 4th Ward. The 2nd Ward is spread out with unattractive buildings and the first ward is a mix of decent residential bldgs.
* Public transit is better is Charlotte than one would expect providing excellent service to Dwtn and to surrounding inner city neighborhoods. A couple miles out transit service is so , but limited outside of the City (keep in mind that Charlotte includes lots of suburban areas.)
* Great connectivity but lots of high traffic one way streets.
* Great dedicated bike lanes Dwtn and to inner ring districts. Decent connect out to the post WW II districts. Bike sharing system is limited to Dwtn and a handful of inner city neighborhoods.
* While almost exclusively modern, Charlotte has a great skyline lots of concentrated high rise towers.
* Great array of for sale housing Dwtn with a fair amount of moderately priced options. 1-bedrooms generally sell in the 200Ks, 2-bedrooms are generally 300K-400K but more expensively luxury product, good amount of 3 bedrooms but generally very expensive. Nice array of rentals priced similarly to most Dwtns… 1-bedrooms in the $1,000s. 2 bedrooms btwn 1.5K & 3K,  and a good array of 3 bedrooms.
* Culturally a good amount of restaurants & bars but pretty average for American Dwtns, lots of theaters (only one is historic), an Imax, several live music clubs, a handful of art galleries, and a great array of museums. Regional amenities include the convention center, a wonderful dwtn library, several stadiums hosts a professional football, basketball, hockey, and minor league baseball.
* Several high quality recreational spaces & parks along with many small corporate plazas. But no definitive civic gather spot.
* Schools include a couple elementary schools, a high school, and school for children w/ cognitive disabilities. Pretty good college presence with several dwtn only campus enrolling 6-7K students and Piedmont Community College located just outside of Dwtn.


* Next to Las Vegas, Dwtn Charlotte has the least amount of historic architecture. Certainly a feeling of sterileness with all of its newness and lack of character.
* Uptown has a very strong office market with high rents and low vacancies. Total jobs is 70K, still much lower than comparable cities like Cleveland or Cincy, but trends are certainly good.
* Dwtn retail amenities is still lackluster. While there is a  supermarket, several drug stores, plenty of banks, only a handful of boutiques and creative stores. No bookstore.
* Solid urban form along the main streets of Tyron and Trade but pretty poor in the southern half of Dwtn (1st & 2nd Wards)