June’s Missed Opportunity of the Month




Columbus, as recent estimates show, is clearly becoming a real player on the national stage in terms of its rapid growth and increasing name recognition. There’s a lot to be proud of for a city located in what many people think is just the Rust Belt. But as with every city, Columbus doesn’t get it all right all the time. A while back, I wrote how Columbus could sometimes be a city of missed opportunities when it came to development, and that remains true. For every great project in the Short North, there’s an equally terrible development going up somewhere else. In what I want to be a semi-regular series, I’m going to highlight some projects that simply miss the boat in terms of good urban development. Some are merely not reaching their potential, and then some, like today’s example, is an out of left field example that seems to be trying so hard, only to fail equally so.

That project is the redevelopment of the University City strip mall off of Olentangy River Road.

Aerial photo.

As you can see from the aerial, the site is your typical strip mall. Built in 1961 when such developments were seen as community shopping destinations rather than the dying suburban sprawl they have become, University City is completely nondescript and looks no different than hundreds of others dotting the landscape. Anchored by a Kroger, the strip mall held other stereotypical establishments- a salon, bars, a Chinese restaurant, etc. A handful of out lots contain a McDonald’s, gas station and a bank.


Most of the site, of course, is taken up by enormous amounts of surface parking, most of which sits empty more often than not.

Olentangy River Road is not exactly an urban street. Most of it is lined with hotels, restaurants and offices, all set well back from the road and in a generally unfavorable configuration to encourage walkability. So when it was announced in June of last year that the strip mall would be redeveloped, hope for something substantially different seemed possible. The initial renderings showed a 6-story mixed-use building on the site instead of the strip mall.

MUCH better, right? Of course, saying it’s much better is a low bar compared to the current situation, but a 6-story, mixed-use project is truly urban, and one of the first of its kind on Olentangy River Road. So why, one might ask, is this a missed opportunity?
To answer that, we have to look at the proposed layout of the entire site.

Comparing the proposed layout to the current one is a little confusing, because they look extremely similar. It seems that the 6-story project will only replace the current strip center, but most of the parking and all of the out lots will remain intact. It’s a Frankenstein’s monster of suburban and urban elements that just looks really weird. There is no interaction with any of the nearby roads, and not even a resident pathway from the main building to the multi-use path that was built a few years ago along Olentangy. It’s all still catering to cars.
In the most recent rendering of the main building, seen below, there appears to be only 1 patio space for what is clearly a very large project. The view for customers from there, of course, is still just the parking lot, with its noise, pollution and lack of any shade. In fact that’s basically the view out of every window in the building- parking lots.

I suppose that some surface lots and outbuildings could eventually be redeveloped at some point, but as it stands now, there’s a lot to be desired. The main building is decent, but the overall layout and connections are terrible and it makes the whole project just look like a much larger version of the strip mall that’s already there. Maybe that’s a harsh assessment, but I don’t think it’s an unfair one. Casto, the developer, basically invented the strip mall, so they’re clearly playing to their strengths here. They’ve done some really good projects at times, like the renovation of the Julian building on South Front Street in Downtown, and I applaud the effort to go more urban in this location, but I think so much could’ve been done better in this case. No doubt that this development will have no trouble finding tenants to rent the apartments, just due to the lack of housing anywhere in the core, but I question just what this development offers that better ones don’t.

In the end, it is a good example of how Columbus needs more true urban developers that are comfortable and willing to push the envelope on this style of development. Trying to have it both ways, where suburbia reigns in an urban location, gets us nowhere.




Young Adults Prefer Density in Franklin County



I’ve seen several articles across the internet lately questioning the idea that young professionals and Millennials really prefer urban areas or not. I decided to see how this played out in Franklin County overall. I first looked at the total population aged 20-34 in the year 2000 and the year 2015 by Census Tract.
Here were the maps for those years.

After looking at the numbers for both years, I came up with this map for how that age group had changed in the 2000-2015 period.

Unfortunately, some tracts, particularly in the eastern suburban areas, did not exist in 2000, and so I was not able to figure out the change for them during the period. The rest of the map, however, shows that the strongest growth in this age group was not only inside 270, but closest to Downtown and central corridors along Broad and High Streets.
These maps don’t tell us about the relationship between those changes and the population density of the census tracts. So I went further and broke the tracts into increments of density to see where the strongest growth was occurring.

With a few exceptions, there appears to be a correlation between average 20-34 aged population growth and the density of the census tracts it occurs in. This suggests that this age group, at least in Franklin County, prefers areas with moderate to high density, which typically translates to urban living.

Midwest Cities- Historic Population and Density



I’ve compared Columbus to peer cities nationally in terms of density and population, but I’ve never compared Columbus to the Midwest as a whole historically for those categories. For the following, I used the top 15 largest Midwest cities as of 2014.

Red indicates a fallen ranking while blue indicates a rise. Black is no change.

Historic Population Rankings
1840

1. Cincinnati: 46,338
2. St. Louis: 16,469
3. Detroit: 9,102
4. Cleveland: 6,071
5. Columbus: 6,048
6. Chicago: 4,470
7. Indianapolis: 2,695
8. Milwaukee: 1,700
9. Toledo: 1,222
10. Kansas City: Not incorporated.
11. Lincoln: Not incorporated.
12. Minneapolis: Not incorporated.
13. Omaha: Not incorporated.
14. St. Paul: Not incorporated.
15. Wichita: Not incorporated.

1850
1. Cincinnati: 115,435
2. St. Louis: 77,860
3. Chicago: 29,963
4. Detroit: 21,019
5. Milwaukee: 20,061
6. Columbus: 17,882
7. Cleveland: 17,034
8. Indianapolis: 8,091
9. Toledo: 3,829
10. St. Paul: 1,112
11. Kansas City: Not incorporated.
12. Lincoln: Not incorporated.
13. Minneapolis: Not incorporated.
14. Omaha: Not incorporated.
15. Wichita: Not incorporated.

1860
1. Cincinnati: 161,044
2. St. Louis: 160,773
3. Chicago: 112,172
4. Detroit: 45,619
5. Milwaukee: 45,246
6. Cleveland: 43,417
7. Indianapolis: 18,611
8. Columbus: 18,554
9. Toledo: 13,768
10. St. Paul: 10,401
11. Minneapolis: 5,809
12. Kansas City: 4,418
13. Omaha: 1,883
14. Lincoln: Not incorporated.
15. Wichita: Not incorporated.

1870
1. St. Louis: 310,864
2. Chicago: 298,977
3. Cincinnati: 216,239
4. Cleveland: 92,829
5. Detroit: 79,577
6. Milwaukee: 71,440
7. Indianapolis: 48,244
8. Kansas City: 32,260
9. Toledo: 31,584
10. Columbus: 31,274
11. St. Paul: 20,030
12. Omaha: 16,083
13. Minneapolis: 13,066
14. Lincoln: 2,441
15. Wichita: 689

1880
1. Chicago: 503,185
2. St. Louis: 350,518
3. Cincinnati: 255,139
4. Cleveland: 160,146
5. Detroit: 116,340
6. Milwaukee: 115,587
7. Indianapolis: 75,056
8. Kansas City: 55,785
9. Columbus: 51,647
10. Toledo: 50,137
11. Minneapolis: 46,887
12. St. Paul: 41,473
13. Omaha: 30,518
14. Lincoln: 13,003
15. Wichita: 4,911

1890
1. Chicago: 1,099,850
2. St. Louis: 451,770
3. Cincinnati: 296,908
4. Cleveland: 261,353
5. Detroit: 205,877
6. Milwaukee: 204,468
7. Minneapolis: 164,738
8. Omaha: 140,452
9. St. Paul: 133,156
10. Kansas City: 132,716
11. Indianapolis: 105,436
12. Columbus: 88,150
13. Toledo: 81,434
14. Lincoln: 55,164
15. Wichita: 23,853

1900
1. Chicago: 1,698,575
2. St. Louis: 575,238
3. Cleveland: 381,768
4. Cincinnati: 325,902
5. Detroit: 285,704
6. Milwaukee: 285,315
7. Minneapolis: 202,718
8. Indianapolis: 169,164
9. Kansas City: 163,752
10. St. Paul: 163,065
11. Toledo: 131,822
12. Columbus: 125,560
13. Omaha: 102,555
14. Lincoln: 40,169
15. Wichita: 24,671

1910
1. Chicago: 2,185,283
2. St. Louis: 687,029
3. Cleveland: 560,663
4. Detroit: 465,766
5. Milwaukee: 373,857
6. Cincinnati: 363,591
7. Minneapolis: 301,408
8. Kansas City: 248,381
9. Indianapolis: 233,650
10. St. Paul: 214,744
11. Columbus: 181,511
12. Toledo: 168,497
13. Omaha: 124,096
14. Wichita: 52,450
15. Lincoln: 43,973

1920
1. Chicago: 2,701,705
2. Detroit: 993,678
3. Cleveland: 796,841
4. St. Louis: 772,897
5. Milwaukee: 457,147
6. Cincinnati: 401,247
7. Minneapolis: 380,582
8. Kansas City: 324,410
9. Indianapolis: 314,194
10. Toledo: 243,164
11. Columbus: 237,031
12. St. Paul: 234,698
13. Omaha: 191,061
14. Wichita: 72,217
15. Lincoln: 54,948

1930
1. Chicago: 3,376,438
2. Detroit: 1,568,662
3. Cleveland: 900,429
4. St. Louis: 821,960
5. Milwaukee: 578,249
6. Minneapolis: 464,356
7. Cincinnati: 451,160
8. Kansas City: 399,746
9. Indianapolis: 364,161
10. Toledo: 290,718
11. Columbus: 290,564
12. St. Paul: 271,606
13. Omaha: 214,006
14. Wichita: 111,110
15. Lincoln: 75,933

1940
1. Chicago: 3,396,808
2. Detroit: 1,623,452
3. Cleveland: 878,336
4. St. Louis: 816,048
5. Milwaukee: 587,472
6. Minneapolis: 492,370
7. Cincinnati: 455,610
8. Kansas City: 400,178
9. Indianapolis: 386,972
10. Columbus: 306,087
11. St. Paul: 287,736
12. Toledo: 282,349
13. Omaha: 223,844
14. Wichita: 114,966
15. Lincoln: 81,984

1950
1. Chicago: 3,620,962
2. Detroit: 1,849,568
3. Cleveland: 914,808
4. St. Louis: 856,796
5. Milwaukee: 637,392
6. Minneapolis: 521,718
7. Cincinnati: 503,998
8. Kansas City: 456,622
9. Indianapolis: 427,173
10. Columbus: 375,901
11. St. Paul: 311,349
12. Toledo: 303,616
13. Omaha: 251,117
14. Wichita: 168,279
15. Lincoln: 98,884

1960
1. Chicago: 3,550,404
2. Detroit: 1,670,144
3. Cleveland: 876,050
4. St. Louis: 750,026
5. Milwaukee: 741,324
6. Cincinnati: 502,550
7. Minneapolis: 482,872
8. Indianapolis: 476,258
9. Kansas City: 475,539
10. Columbus: 471,316
11. Toledo: 318,003
12. St. Paul: 313,411
13. Omaha: 301,598
14. Wichita: 254,698
15. Lincoln: 128,521

1970
1. Chicago: 3,366,957
2. Detroit: 1,514,063
3. Cleveland: 750,903
4. Indianapolis: 744,624
5. Milwaukee: 717,099
6. St. Louis: 622,236
7. Columbus: 539,677
8. Kansas City: 507,087
9. Cincinnati: 452,525
10. Minneapolis: 434,400
11. Toledo: 383,818
12. Omaha: 346,929
13. St. Paul: 309,980
14. Wichita: 276,554
15. Lincoln: 149,518

1980
1. Chicago: 3,005,072
2. Detroit: 1,203,368
3. Indianapolis: 700,807
4. Milwaukee: 636,212
5. Cleveland: 573,822
6. Columbus: 564,871
7. St. Louis: 452,801
8. Kansas City: 448,159
9. Cincinnati: 385,460
10. Minneapolis: 370,951
11. Toledo: 354,635
12. Omaha: 313,939
13. Wichita: 279,272
14. St. Paul: 270,230
15. Lincoln: 171,932

1990
1. Chicago: 2,783,726
2. Detroit: 1,027,974
3. Indianapolis: 731,327
4. Columbus: 632,910
5. Milwaukee: 628,088
6. Cleveland: 505,616
7. Kansas City: 435,146
8. St. Louis: 396,685
9. Minneapolis: 368,383
10. Cincinnati: 364,040
11. Omaha: 335,795
12. Toledo: 332,943
13. Wichita: 304,011
14. St. Paul: 272,235
15. Lincoln: 191,972

2000
1. Chicago: 2,896,016
2. Detroit: 951,270
3. Indianapolis: 781,926
4. Columbus: 711,470
5. Milwaukee: 596,974
6. Cleveland: 478,403
7. Kansas City: 441,545
8. Omaha: 390,007
9. Minneapolis: 382,618
10. St. Louis: 348,189
11. Wichita: 344,284
12. Cincinnati: 331,285
13. Toledo: 313,619
14. St. Paul: 287,151
15. Lincoln: 225,581

2010
1. Chicago: 2,695,598
2. Indianapolis: 829,445
3. Columbus: 787,033
4. Detroit: 713,777
5. Milwaukee: 594,833
6. Kansas City: 459,787
7. Omaha: 408,958
8. Cleveland: 396,815
9. Minneapolis: 382,578
10. Wichita: 382,368
11. St. Louis: 319,294
12. Cincinnati: 296,945
13. Toledo: 287,208
14. St. Paul: 285,068
15. Lincoln: 258,379

2014
1. Chicago: 2,722,389
2. Indianapolis: 848,788
3. Columbus: 835,957
4. Detroit: 680,250
5. Milwaukee: 599,642
6. Kansas City: 470,800
7. Omaha: 446,559
8. Minneapolis: 407,207
9. Cleveland: 389,521
10. Wichita: 388,413
11. St. Louis: 317,419
12. Cincinnati: 298,165
13. St. Paul: 297,640
14. Toledo: 281,031
15. Lincoln: 272,996

2020 Projection based on recent estimates.
1. Chicago: 2,736,032
2. Columbus: 905,875
3. Indianapolis: 873,774
4. Detroit: 646,682
5. Milwaukee: 606,730
6. Kansas City: 494,731
7. Omaha: 460,487
8. Minneapolis: 445,321
9. Wichita: 395,751
10. Cleveland: 380,149
11. St. Louis: 308,348
12. St. Paul: 306,448
13. Cincinnati: 302,288
14. Lincoln: 297,136
15. Toledo: 270,837

Columbus seems poised to take the #2 spot from Indianapolis around or just after 2020. Also, 11 of 15 would’ve seen growth 2010-2020. Cleveland, Toledo, St. Louis and Detroit would be the only cities that still lost.

2014 Density
1. Chicago: 11,634.1
2. Minneapolis: 6,972.7
3. Milwaukee: 6,188.3
4. St. Paul: 5,296.1
5. St. Louis: 4,809.4
6. Detroit: 4,760.3
7. Cleveland: 4,721.5
8. Omaha: 3,755.8
9. Columbus: 3,747.0
10. Cincinnati: 3,745.8
11. Lincoln: 3,620.6
12. Toledo: 3,246.1
13. Wichita: 2,374.2
14. Indianapolis: 2,306.5
15. Kansas City: 1,475.9

2020 Projected density using recent estimates.
1. Chicago: 11,692.4
2. Minneapolis: 7,625.4
3. Milwaukee: 6,261.4
4. St. Paul: 5,452.8
5. St. Louis: 4,671.9
6. Cleveland: 4,607.9
7. Detroit: 4,525.4
8. Columbus: 4,060.4
9. Lincoln: 3,940.8
10. Omaha: 3,872.9
11. Cincinnati: 3,797.6
12. Toledo: 3,220.4
13. Wichita: 2,419.0
14. Indianapolis: 2,374.4
15. Kansas City: 1,550.9



Columbus Metro Density vs. Peer National and Midwest Metros



No, this is not a repost. Awhile back, I did a post on population by mile marker from “City Hall”. You can find that post here: http://allcolumbusdata.com/?p=1079
In the post, I compared Columbus with the 14 other largest Midwest metros.

Over the years, I’ve learned that Columbus has a very suburban reputation, meaning that it is perceived to have very low density throughout, especially because it aggressively annexed suburban areas into the city limits decades ago. With those claims, I wondered what the density would be if Columbus’ area size was scaled down to others to find out if it really deserves the suburban reputation. Bare with me, because there is a lot to look at.

First, I used Columbus’ 18 peer metros (population 1.5-2.5 million) as well as the 14 large Midwest metros. Since there was some overlap in the 2 groups, it made for a total group comparison of 27. So a fairly sizeable group. Next, I used the mile marker population, which in the City Hall census analysis is made up of circles going out from the center. So it’s just a matter of finding the area of each circle and dividing the population into that. What’s left is the density by area.

Density at Mile Marker 1, with an Area of 3.14 Square Miles.
2000———————————-2010

1. Chicago: 42,492.4______________________ 1. Chicago:57,870.7
2. Minneapolis: 36,801.6__________________ 2. Minneapolis: 39,339.5
3. Providence, RI: 36,476.1_______________ 3. Providence, RI: 36,693.0
4. San Jose, CA: 31,854.8_________________ 4. San Jose, CA: 33,438.9
5. Las Vegas: 27,618.8____________________ 5. Milwaukee: 27,471.7
6. Milwaukee: 26,755.1____________________ 6. Portland, OR: 25,987.6
7. Grand Rapids, MI: 25,748.1_____________ 7. Las Vegas: 25,069.1
8. Pittsburgh: 25,570.7___________________ 8. Grand Rapids, MI: 24,080.6
9. Cincinnati: 22,728.0___________________ 9. Pittsburgh: 23,464.3
10. Portland, OR: 21,256.1________________ 10. Austin, TX: 23,149.4
11. Toledo: 20,973.6______________________ 11. Cincinnati: 20,781.5
12. Austin, TX: 20,301.9__________________ 12. San Antonio, TX: 18,596.8
13. San Antonio, TX: 20,156.7_____________ 13. Omaha: 17,905.7
14. Akron: 19,946.2_______________________ 14. Toledo: 17,751.3
15. Omaha: 17,922.6_______________________ 15. Akron: 17,106.7
16. Dayton: 16,311.5______________________ 16. Columbus: 15,817.5
17. Columbus: 16,151.6____________________ 17. Nashville: 15,529.3
18. Indianapolis: 15,865.6________________ 18. Sacramento, CA: 15,512.7
19. Nashville: 15,554.4___________________ 19. Charlotte, NC: 14,873.9
20. Sacramento, CA: 15,385.7______________ 20. Indianapolis: 14,356.4

Density at Mile Marker 2, with an Area of 12.57 Square Miles.
2000————————————–2010
1. Chicago: 22,808.1______________________ 1. Chicago: 25,339.9
2. San Jose, CA: 18,854.7_________________ 2. San Jose, CA: 19,696.3
3. Minneapolis: 17,936.8__________________ 3. Minneapolis: 18,212.2
4. Milwaukee: 16,799.9____________________ 4. Milwaukee: 16,609.1
5. Providence, RI: 16,134.9_______________ 5. Providence, RI: 16,457.6
6. Las Vegas: 16,016.4____________________ 6. Las Vegas: 15,331.4
7. Pittsburgh: 13,232.7___________________ 7. Austin, TX: 12,524.4
8. San Antonio, TX: 12,427.0______________ 8. Pittsburgh: 12,123.2
9. Cincinnati: 12,250.1___________________ 9. Portland, OR: 11,881.0
10. Austin, TX: 12,152.8__________________ 10. San Antonio, TX: 11,690.5
11. Columbus: 11,203.7____________________ 11. Sacramento, CA: 11,324.8
12. Akron: 10,999.9_______________________ 12. Cincinnati: 10,997.2
13. Grand Rapids, MI: 10,884.2____________ 13. Columbus: 10,726.0
14. Sacramento, CA: 10,606.1______________ 14. Grand Rapids, MI: 10,146.0
15. Dayton: 9,756.8_______________________ 15. Akron: 9,737.1
16. Indianapolis: 9,383.0_________________ 16. Omaha: 8,993.2
17. Omaha: 8,960.7________________________ 17. Indianapolis: 8,147.3
18. Toledo: 8,816.9_______________________ 18. Dayton: 8,100.0
19. Orlando: 8,212.5______________________ 19. Charlotte: 8,086.8
20. Charlotte: 8,095.5____________________ 20. Nashville: 7,777.6

Density at Mile Marker 3, with an Area of 28.27 Square Miles
2000————————————2010

1. Chicago: 17,528.7_____________________ 1. Chicago: 18,003.2
2. San Jose, CA: 13,883.0________________ 2. San Jose, CA: 14,549.2
3. Las Vegas: 11,646.0___________________ 3. Las Vegas: 11,576.2
4. Minneapolis: 11,494.2_________________ 4. Minneapolis: 11,503.3
5. Milwaukee: 11,448.9___________________ 5. Milwaukee: 11,288.0
6. Providence: 11,173.7__________________ 6. Providence, RI: 11,240.2
7. Pittsburgh: 10,594.4__________________ 7. Pittsburgh: 9,738.7
8. San Antonio. TX: 9,234.3______________ 8. Portland, OR: 8,973.6
9. Portland, OR: 8,257.0_________________ 9. San Antonio, TX: 8,846.8
10. Cincinnati: 8,141.9__________________ 10. Columbus: 7,834.0
11. Columbus: 8,134.9____________________ 11. Sacramento, CA: 7,668.7
12. Sacramento, CA: 7,261.5______________ 12. Austin, TX: 7,534.0
13. Austin, TX: 7,232.3__________________ 13. Cincinnati: 7,273.6
14. Akron: 6,925.4_______________________ 14. Grand Rapids, MI: 6,540.0
15. Grand Rapids, MI: 6,852.0____________ 15. Akron: 6,284.9
16. Indianapolis: 6,727.9________________ 16. Orlando: 6,055.1
17. Toledo: 6,651.5______________________ 17. Omaha: 5,968.3
18. Dayton: 6,382.8______________________ 18. Toledo: 5,982.1
19. St. Louis: 6,093.7___________________ 19. Indianapolis: 5,879.9
20. Kansas City: 6,025.1_________________ 20. St. Louis: 5,663.8

Density at Mile Marker 4, with an Area of 50.27 Square Miles
2000———————————2010

1. Chicago: 15,447.2____________________ 1. Chicago: 15,205.9
2. San Jose, CA: 12,209.3_______________ 2. San Jose, CA: 12,629.6
3. Las Vegas: 9,788.0___________________ 3. Las Vegas: 10,022.2
4. Minneapolis: 8,874.4_________________ 4. Minneapolis: 8,921.8
5. Milwaukee: 8,823.8___________________ 5. Milwaukee: 8,725.5
6. Providence, RI: 8,454.3______________ 6. Providence, RI: 8,483.8
7. Pittsburgh: 8,216.0__________________ 7. Portland, OR: 7,785.5
8. Portland, OR: 7,282.9________________ 8. Pittsburgh: 7,602.6
9. San Antonio, TX: 7,208.6_____________ 9. San Antonio, TX: 6,995.5
10. Cincinnati: 6,922.8_________________ 10. Cincinnati: 6,279.4
11. Columbus: 6,449.3___________________ 11. Columbus: 6,257.4
12. Sacramento, CA: 5,744.7_____________ 12. Sacramento, CA: 6,138.5
13. Austin, TX: 5,541.5_________________ 13. Austin, TX: 5,847.2
14. St. Louis: 5,447.5__________________ 14. Omaha: 5,047.2
15. Cleveland: 5,356.2__________________ 15. St. Louis: 5,001.6
16. Indianapolis: 5,348.8_______________ 16. Grand Rapids, MI: 4,922.9
17. Detroit: 5,163.1____________________ 17. Orlando: 4,911.7
18. Omaha: 5,019.8______________________ 18. Indianapolis: 4,793.5
19. Akron: 4,900.7______________________ 19. Akron: 4,532.0
20. Dayton: 4,889.3_____________________ 20. Cleveland: 4,521.8

Density at Mile Marker 5, with an Area of 78.54 Square Miles
Note that this area size is about the current city size of Cincinnati and Cleveland.
2000————————————2010
1. Chicago: 14,213.6___________________ 1. Chicago: 13,591.0
2. San Jose, CA: 10,464.0______________ 2. San Jose, CA: 11,037.1
3. Las Vegas: 8,521.9__________________ 3. Las Vegas: 9,062.8
4. Minneapolis: 7,443.0________________ 4. Minneapolis: 7,455.9
5. Milwaukee: 7,081.2__________________ 5. Milwaukee: 7,029.1
6. Pittsburgh: 7,009.9_________________ 6. Pittsburgh: 6,492.7
7. San Antonio, TX: 6,326.6____________ 7. Portland, OR: 6,442.3
8. Providence, RI: 6,048.3_____________ 8. San Antonio, TX: 6,223.4
9. Portland, OR: 5,950.1_______________ 9. Providence, RI: 6,055.8
10. Cincinnati: 5,588.9________________ 10. Sacramento, CA: 5,664.2
11. Cleveland: 5,494.6_________________ 11. Orlando: 5,274.1
12. Columbus: 5,252.9__________________ 12. Columbus: 5,152.1
13. Sacramento, CA: 5,104.0____________ 13. Cincinnati: 5,096.2
14. Orlando: 4,993.7___________________ 14. Austin, TX: 4,993.7
15. Austin, TX: 4,786.5________________ 15. Cleveland: 4,602.4
16. Detroit: 4,748.7___________________ 16. St. Louis: 4,285.4
17. St. Louis: 4,731.5_________________ 17. Indianapolis: 4,086.1
18. Indianapolis: 4,447.7______________ 18. Omaha: 3,962.2
19. Akron: 4,025.9_____________________ 19. Grand Rapids, MI: 3,887.3
20. Grand Rapids, MI: 3,990.6__________ 20. Akron: 3,778.8

So if Columbus was the same size as Cincinnati and Cleveland, it would be the most dense city of the 3. And it’s generally in the top half of the grouping in its most urban areas.

But what about further out, past the urban core?

Density at Mile Marker 10, with an Area of 314.16 Square Miles.
This area size is much larger than the city limits of Columbus, but it gives an idea of the larger area’s density and not just within the city limits.
2000———————————–2010
1. Chicago: 9,344.3______________________ 1. Chicago: 8,795.0
2. San Jose, CA: 4,563.2_________________ 2. San Jose, CA: 4,809.8
3. Minneapolis: 4,183.2__________________ 3. Las Vegas: 4,794.2
4. Detroit: 4,117.4______________________ 4. Portland, OR: 4,230.3
5. Las Vegas: 3,877.3____________________ 5. Minneapolis: 4,178.3
6. Portland: 3,780.8_____________________ 6. San Antonio, TX: 3,454.9
7. Cleveland: 3,308.4____________________ 7. Detroit: 3,354.7
8. Pittsburgh: 3,279.8___________________ 8. Columbus: 3,163.9
9. San Antonio, TX: 3,217.8______________ 9. Pittsburgh: 3,080.4
10. Milwaukee: 3,013.7___________________ 10. Orlando: 3,055.0
11. Columbus: 2,973.3____________________ 11. Sacramento, CA: 3,016.4
12. St. Louis: 2,937.6___________________ 12. Milwaukee: 3,006.2
13. Cincinnati: 2,873.4__________________ 13. Cleveland: 2,923.7
14. Orlando: 2,783.9_____________________ 14. Indianapolis: 2,772.6
15. Sacramento, CA: 2,736.7______________ 15. St. Louis: 2,751.3
16. Indianapolis: 2,652.6________________ 16. Cincinnati: 2,746.8
17. Kansas City: 2,599.0_________________ 17. Kansas City: 2,538.3
18. Providence, RI: 2,360.0______________ 18. Austin, TX: 2,439.6
19. Austin, TX: 2,111.3__________________ 19. Providence, RI: 2,375.1
20. Dayton: 1,920.7______________________ 20. Charlotte, NC: 2,332.7

So what does all this tell us? That while Columbus is not the most dense city of its peer group, or within the Midwest group, it probably does not wholly deserve its low-density, suburban reputation. Most of the measurements are in the top half of the grouping for density, yes, but it is clearly the most weak in the urban core closest to Downtown, as that ranking is the lowest for it. The Mile 0 population, for example, is down near the very bottom, and that is a good reason why densities are not as high as they should/could be. Currently, Downtown and surrounding neighborhoods are seeing a residential development boom, so that will help, but the city needs to think a lot bigger if it wants that stereotype to truly go away. The recent abandonment of the Convention Center mixed-use project is not a good way to go about that goal… and it should be a goal.