From urban to suburban and back to urban again

urban or suburban?
PI in Uptown

Urban living

I live in the city and I always have, at lease in my adult life I always have. I was a little ahead of trend. But when we moved back to Canada, we moved from Taipei Taiwan, a city of about six million residents. We weren’t about to move to the countryside and certainly not to the suburbs. That was the year 2000 and truth be told, UpTown Waterloo was still a little gritty. 

Liquidation World was the anchor store in what is now called the Shoppes in UpTown Waterloo.  

Suburban living

Like so many cities across North America, Kitchener-Waterloo during the last gasps of the industrial age, change was just around the corner. During the last third of the 20th century as suburbs were built, as suburban shopping malls took root, as small and large factories disappeared from the city’s cores, more and more people moved to the suburbs where the air was clean, the streets were safe and the houses were brand new. People then must have thought, the old is no good. Out with the old. Let’s all embrace the future, the clean, new and glittering future.    

Time in the suburbs/time as an urban

And the suburbs had their time in the sun. I was going over a bunch of old real estate listings recently. They were all in Uptown and Westmount. In terms of real estate mapping, we consider both part of one neighbourhood and as Westmount/Uptown and in some ways they are very much alike. They have the same schools and many of the same amenities. 

But they are also very different. They are separated by build age of about 50 years. And they have both had their time in the sun. First it was UpTown, then it was Westmount, now it is UpTown again.

On the edge of greatness

When I was going through those old listings, I noticed a change. Until about ten years ago, Uptown Waterloo was described as being on the edge of Westmount. Then quite suddenly UpTown was its own thing and interestingly, starting about this time Old Westmount started to be described as on the edge of UpTown. 

Change happens

Trends happen. The trend from uptown (before it was called UpTown) to Westmount and then back to UpTown ran in about 50 year cycles.  

What to read next

Westmount — Kitchener-Waterloo premier neighbourhood

What’s it like to live in Uptown?

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

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