Name a handful of cities you DON'T like


Ok, how about this ... pick 5 cities in the world you don't care for.  You can cite the reasons:

1.  Munich, Germany - boring except for Marienplatz, flat, and unfriendly

2.  Milan, Italy - except for the Duomo, what a disappointing, gray city for being in Italy

3.  Valencia, Spain - renaissance my ass; the old quarter, the business hub, the museum zone, and the port are all far from each other; no personality, unless you find paella compelling, and crappy beaches for being in Spain

4.  Dallas, TX - don't like the mesquite studded terrain (but I do like Houston, so it's not a Texas thing)

5.  Memphis, TN - bland and not near anything interesting

Jul 10, 13 7:14 pm

Shantou wasn't that great...

Jul 10, 13 10:10 pm

Oh, this should be interesting.

Here are mine, some of which will no doubt ruffle a few feathers:

1. Phoenix, Arizona. Take Los Angeles, strip away everything that makes LA unique and interesting, and Phoenix is the lifeless husk of a city that would be left over.

2. Chicago [cue howls of outrage]. Lived there for 11 years. There's much about the city that I love, but the corrupt old-boys-club mentality, the racial and socioeconomic segregation enforced at the highest levels of government, the apathy of the citizenry in civic affairs, the Midwestern parochialism, and the boring-as-hell topography made me leave the city for good in 2007. I haven't regretted that decision for a second.

3. Boston [cue even louder howls of outrage]. Like Chicago, there's much to love about Boston, and I'd even give Boston a big leg up over Chicago when it comes to its geography and cityscape and sense of place. But most of the city has the feel of a giant, obnoxious frat house on the campus of an expensive private school. Give me a blue-collar city like Philly any day.

4. Atlanta. The drab cityscape and oppressive heat of Phoenix combined with the uncritical boosterism and segregation of Chicago. Sorry, Atlanta, you're not nearly as special as you think you are. (And being the capital of the South isn't something that I'd be particularly proud of.) General Sherman had the right idea.

5. Orlando, Florida. Each time I visit or live in a city, even the ones I just listed above, I almost always come away with something positive from the experience. Except Orlando. No redeeming characteristics whatsoever. Every minute spent there is a minute of your life that is gone forever, with nothing to show for it.

Jul 10, 13 10:40 pm

Bitch, bitch, bitch. Stupid thread.

Jul 10, 13 11:10 pm

At least Phoenix is surrounded by the Sonoran desert.  Probably one of the most amazing environments on earth. Also some pretty amazing ancient ruins. Too bad the city is a big cancer on it all.  Some really great architecture here and there though...

Jul 10, 13 11:50 pm

It was just a compare/contrast idea, since we habitually talk about places we like, often in reference to our vacations and whatnot.  It's also an opportunity to discuss urban fabric, or lack thereof, and city personalities.


Agree on 2 (no outrage here), neutral on 3, disagree on 4.

Chicago can have a major chip, and I don't know why that is.  The Loop is breathtaking and so is LSD up into Evanston, and so are some points north.  However, the far west and southwestern suburbs are just banal - in terms of housing, vegetation, and general feel.  Mostly, it's the attitude.  Ethnic Northeasterners (Italians, Greeks, etc.) usually approach you with something smart-alecky or sarcastic to kick off a conversation.  Ethnic Chicagoans of the equivalent groups have this boorish, "hey I'm Chicago tough" approach that I've only experienced there.  I sat next to a Greek immigrant, living in Chicago, from ORD to Munich one summer and he wouldn't shut up about how great Chicago is, and bashed on L.A., which he didn't like.  *Go back to Greece*

Boston is kind of like the East Coast's Seattle, in so many ways, plus too many colleges and the political machine.  I enjoyed visiting the city and Maine, but I heard it's tough to be accepted there if you don't have the provincial long-term roots.

I think Atlanta is great.  The QOL/$ ratio is high.  The housing stock is very nice.  That's the first thing transplants notice.  It's newish, manicured, has a great transit system, and first had people from all over the country, and now from all over the world.  It's a question of whether you can take several highly humid 92s versus several very dry 108s.  I'll go with the 92s. It can be self-regarding, and some natives of the region can be syrupy sweet phoney.

Jul 10, 13 11:51 pm

I agree with Miles, this thread is stupid.

Half-assed ignorant obserbations based on what- the time you went to a city on vacation for a few days, or, so weak-  sat next to a resident on a plane?

"Ethnic Chicagoans of the equivalent groups",WTF?

I disagree with David - I think that Chicago is great, and would love to move back there some day - but his opinion is at least based on time spent living there, whereas Observant obviously knows dick about the place, or would know that Lake Shore Drive does not go to Evanston.

I could say nasty things about most of the places I've been, but why bother?  Aren't architects supposed to see potential, not just bitch about the shitty things that are easy to find almost everywhere?

Jul 11, 13 12:51 am

"Ethnic Chicagoans of the equivalent groups",WTF?

I disagree with David - I think that Chicago is great, and would love to move back there some day - but his opinion is at least based on time spent living there, whereas Observant obviously knows dick about the place, or would know that Lake Shore Drive does not go to Evanston.

Ok, Italian or Greek Chicagoans.

Ok, LSD dumps out into Rogers Park, on Sheridan, IIR.  I know the area fairly well.  A different breed.  And for all the trashing of L.A. they do, they sure love to move there ... or to Arizona.

If you don't like the thread, don't participate.

Jul 11, 13 1:42 am

The equality and logic of internet forums will never cease to amaze / dumbfound me. 

Don't like a few cities? Make a thread to list them, it's all good. Don't like a thread? Keep it to yourself and don't participate, we gots to keep the interwebs free for complaining. 

So who's going to create the thread to list the 5 threads you don't like?

Jul 11, 13 2:28 am

Irvine, CA-lifeless beige crap over a manicured landscape

Incheon, South Korea - the Irvine equivalent in Korea, though it has a pretty awesome international airport

Dubai- The old city is beautiful, do not care much for any of the new development.

Jul 11, 13 2:33 am
Tinbeary There there

I can't think of many I don't like. Tijuana. Venice.

Used to dislike Phoenix too, but now I like it well enough.

Jul 11, 13 9:29 am
Tinbeary There there


Jul 11, 13 9:29 am

But most of the city has the feel of a giant, obnoxious frat house on the campus of an expensive private school.


I take it you probably stayed in one section of Cambridge (near an expensive private school), stuck to mostly the touristy areas with all the other tourists and might have gone to an actual frat party in Allston/Brighton.


The city proper is actually a very diverse place - you'd have had a very different impression of the city if you had gone to any of the southern neighborhoods.  Best comparison I've heard is that it's a mini version of Brooklyn, except slightly cleaner.

Jul 11, 13 10:18 am

Atlanta is great??? It's the definition of sprawl and bad/no planning.

It's interesting to prefer Atlanta over Chicago in the context of an architecture forum, but to each his or her own...

Here's my list (only US, haven't traveled enough/have only seen cities I enjoy aboard):






Chains, chains, chains. No identity or culture.

Jul 11, 13 10:28 am
Sarah Hamilton

I'll bite.

I hated Philly.  Sorry guys.  I was there for 5 years for school, and sure, I was fresh off the farm back home, but the city smelled, like onions, dirt, and trash, and the sidewalks were always damp with who knows what.  True that as a college student, I didn't see the calmer, nicer parts of the city; it was all South Street and the like.  And people were always yelling, or just cold.  Who knows, I'm sure I would see it differently now, but I hated it then.

And how can you hate Dallas, but like Houston?!  Sure, there's a pretty big rivalry between our two cities, but come on.  We have green grass, and parks, lots of cool architecture, and some decent highways.  And if you need to take a break, we have Ft Worth just across the river, with it's running trails, museums, kayaking, and organic cocktail bars.  Houston has a few museums, and lots of smog.  Plus they never clean their roadkill off the highway.

I loved Venice, but I also got lost in the back streets and alleys.  It was quiet and peaceful, and the smell of boat motors wafting in the breeze, while the water lapped on the sides of the sidewalks.  I loved that shop owners scrubbed their porches daily.  Maybe Philly should take a cue.

Jul 11, 13 10:34 am

Los Angeles

Jul 11, 13 11:58 am


+1 Los Angeles. Horrible place in just about every measure of human habitation.

Jul 11, 13 1:36 pm

square:  you don't like the sprawling Sunbelt cities as many others do not - they are hot, growing too fast, lack the infrastructure, and have too many chain restaurants.  As for Atlanta, I had a great experience there, on so many levels.  I lived very close to the rail station and used it to go to work.  I love the hilliness and the tree canopy.  Some buildings are hit and miss - hate most of them, but like "the pencil" and "the King and Queen" at Perimeter.  Atlanta is an amalgamation of many small counties.  The progressive ones want rapid transit and the planning, and the hick ones don't.

Sarah:  I like Houston for its vegetation and proximity to Galveston and the Gulf.  I found it by accident.  I was at a seminar in Dallas and went to visit a school friend who had taken a job in Houston while there.  As I was driving in, through The Woodlands and other neighborhoods, I couldn't believe how green it was.  I also like the area around the Inner Loop by the Galleria.  The vegetation and/or topography of a place affect my mood, for some reason.

Xenakis and gwharton:  Los Angeles is, like NYC, a compendium of positives and negatives.  In the hilly, monied neighborhoods, the vistas and maintenance of the bucolic canyon feel is quite nice, and so are its edge cities such as Century City and Westwood Village, home of UCLA.  However, if someone dumped you along the 405 in the aerospace swath in the South Bay or in Long Beach, or along the 710 in South Gate or Bell Gardens, it would be quite banal.  There are a lot of hidden gems in the city.  The other thing is that LA could have been cool if the DT skyline had been placed at the port instead of at the historic pueblo, and it grew up with subways or elevated rail to guide the nodes and spokes.  Just a thought.

Jul 11, 13 2:48 pm

Most of LA is a dump, but some pockets of interest are rather charming, full of character, and rather livable.

You gotta be OK with 3 things to actually like LA:

- Your Car

- Being Alone

- The persistent sunshine.

Jul 11, 13 4:11 pm

you don't like the sprawling Sunbelt cities as many others do not - they are hot, growing too fast, lack the infrastructure, and have too many chain restaurants.

Chain restaurants litter the landscape as do big box stores.  There are Burgerkings across the street from other Burgerkings.  Cars own the city.  Walking is almost impossible without getting angry and cursing at some asshole driver. 

However, the climate is actually very nice most of the year.  3-4 months of hell 8 months of perfect cool weather.  The desert is beautiful too.  What I like about Phoenix, LA, that they are weird/bad enough to be interesting. 

Jul 11, 13 4:14 pm

i don't know about you, but I found Zzyzx, CA to be about as terrible a city as my pronunciation

Jul 11, 13 4:16 pm


I have always thought the point of that exit on I-15 between L.A. and L.V. is to ward off road fatigue, either causing a lone driver to chuckle or a car with several passengers to discuss it.

Jul 11, 13 4:28 pm

Berlin - Generic, meh.

Chongqing - All of China's issues wedged between two rivers...rivers that they dammed up, displacing millions and destroying ancient towns in the process. 我爱中国! Also a place where you can sense the disdain for foreigners on every street.

Los Angeles - Looking forward to "The Big One" so they can start over.

Atlanta - Don't need to beat a dead horse.

Orlando - Lived there 6 months during two internships, just awful. 

Comments on other posts...Haters of Houston never actually lived in Houston, and if they did it was probably outside the loop. Sorry for your loss. 

Jul 11, 13 5:54 pm

There are perhaps thousands of conceivable, plausible, highly understandable critiques one could lob Berlin's way... but generic? really? compared to what?

Jul 11, 13 7:58 pm


Houston is even ok outside of the Loop.  If I had to live in the Houston area, I would pick The Woodlands TX, 35 miles n.w. of downtown, without hesitation.  I love that they didn't bulldoze the trees and it's so wooded, but I appreciate River Oaks and Memorial Parkway inside the Loop, but if you have to ask the price ...

Jul 11, 13 8:32 pm

All cities in America.... UGHHHH! 

Jul 11, 13 10:27 pm
I felt like Berlin could have been in Belgium and you'd never know the difference. Their pilsners pretty much sums up the flavor of the city...cold, bland and unsatisfactory.

One individual opinion

However the Berghain was insane and their punk culture lends itself to some incredible nights.
Jul 11, 13 11:42 pm

Baghdad, Iraq

Kabul, Afghanistan

Abbottabad, Pakistan

Damascus, Syria

Sana'a, Yemen

Jul 12, 13 12:16 am

I came across this today for comparing cities. There are limited options, but there are some that you all don't like (or at least like to argue about)

Jul 12, 13 12:38 am


I win!

Jul 12, 13 4:04 am

Pacific Palisades. California.

I did a lot of custom homes there and I would have to say it's full of people with toxic personalities and botox.

Jul 12, 13 7:58 am
won and done williams

Pacific Palisades. California.

I did a lot of custom homes there and I would have to say it's full of people with toxic personalities and botox.

Jul 12, 13 9:28 am


I too jumped to the same conclusions about Berlin when I first arrived, but then I took some time to learn more about the city..

If you look at the context of Berlin in regards to WW2, it's really difficult to dismiss it as a fascinating city. Over 80% of the city was destroyed; it's a miracle that Berlin even exists today. There is so much to learn from Berlin... It may not be the most beautiful city, but if has a lot more intangible elements to offer than it's initial appearance.

Jul 12, 13 10:50 am

Berlin (east and west) was more interesting in 1988.

Jul 12, 13 11:42 am

Pacific Palisades. California.

I did a lot of custom homes there and I would have to say it's full of people with toxic personalities and botox.

Middle class working people get nip/tuck and botox as well.  That's where the patient base is swelling.  But, the Palisades are beautiful, appearance wise.  The toxicity is in the entitlement.  Doing customs seems like it would be interesting, but it's more aggravating than commercial.  You get the equivalent of Bridezilla, who doesn't want to be the architect of a wedding, but of the custom home, knows more than the architect, and just needs you to draw lines - after all, it's just a few lines, right?  I had one of these specimens to deal with, and she got the elevations and roof massing she wanted, but she couldn't handle one kink in the plan to make the massing work, and it got called off.  Fortunately, it was one of those free custom homes we were going to do because her developer husband gave us a lot of work.  What a snotty bitch.  On the flip side, we worked with a lady developer who gave us a lot of commercial work, and she was easy to get along with, because she wasn't married to the aesthetic product and was a bottom line oriented businesswoman.

Jul 12, 13 12:03 pm

Rotterdam: Despite being mostly modern, filled with parks, and well provided with infrastructure (and a great variety of contemporary and modernist architecture), the city is somewhat boring and lifeless (many times more so than berlin) due in part to german bombing / modernist city centre design. Extent of knowledge= 6 months of living here

London: The opposite of Rotterdam (although also heavily bombed) london seems to have continuously decaying infrastructure and buildings (the tube is the oldest in the world, but could never actually be replaced in full). London is difficult to get around, expensive, and the quality of life is generally POOR. Two good things though, Londonites (not foreigners who live in london) are actually very friendly in public spaces, and if you are able to live and fit into a small community, life might be idyllic. Obviously culture is considered by many to be the best in the world. extent of knowledge = many trips over 5 years

Toronto: While generally nicer, more historic, and better run than many American city's, transport infrastructure from the 50s is quickly decaying and the city is increasingly voting for right wing municipal governments. Toronto sprawls, as I suppose Chicago does, in a double way because it is pushed against the lakeshore where the city centre is, and so suburbs are in effect twice as deep. The sprawl, size and increasing price of living in toronto proper, and even around it, are making Toronto not such a great place to live. The three caveats at the end of London also apply here however.  extent of knowledge = 15 years living there

Jul 12, 13 1:22 pm


I see what you mean about Toronto.  People from Canada flock there, as do people from all over the world, in search of prosperity.  Most people moving to Canada head to Toronto.  On the other hand, one year the U.N. declared it to be the WORLD'S most multicultural metro area, per capita, and it shows.  It is so damn interesting to go there and see, hear, and feel that.  It's noticeably more so than NYC or LA, which may be diverse, but largely feel more American than Toronto feels "traditional Canadian."

Jul 12, 13 1:45 pm

I do not like this thread at all, but will just leave one city because it really is the worst city in America bar none. 


Jul 12, 13 2:11 pm


Sana'a, Yemen is an absolutely amazing place, and one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world. The Old Walled City is spectacular.

Let us compare, shall we:


Los Angeles:


Jul 12, 13 3:11 pm


That's the Detroit they didn't want you to see in the Eminen Super Bowl commercial, yet it is one face of Detroit.  In defense of Detroit, it's the nerve center of the auto industry and American cars are getting better (all the ones I've had have been great), the city has many beautiful suburbs, and, from downtown, Canada (Windsor) is only 5 minutes away.  With the population center moving southward and westward in the U.S. with every census, a renaissance in grand style is unlikely.  There are few Pittsburghs and, even though Pittsburgh is highly lauded, its metro area population stays flat, or even slips by negligible amounts every 10 years.

Jul 12, 13 3:19 pm

To Observant.

Exactly it is the Detroit that is not shown during the Eminem Super Bowl ad. Even then my family owns multiple businesses throughout the city (not Downtown) and its even worse then that picture you posted above. Talk about a city that abuses it's populace that wants to do business in a city most others dare not to at all its Detroit. The worst city in America; Detroit.

Jul 13, 13 12:44 pm


I didn't post that picture of Motor City, but your point is taken.  I think the Eminem Super Bowl Chrysler commercial was very well done, but convincing those who have seen the opening chase sequence from "Beverly Hills Cop" is a tall order.

I don't know Detroit that well, except for some seriously good flaming saganaki cheese and other food one night in Greektown.  I only know Farmington Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Dearborn, and Ann Arbor.

Jul 13, 13 1:50 pm

gwarhton, what do all of Jean's cities have in common? I believe they have been targets/focus of a certain world power's recent foreign policy...

read between the lines.

Jul 13, 13 8:26 pm

I'll bite with my least favorites:

Phoenix - this city is like a formless mass of asphalt, EIFS, and supercharged AC systems as far as the eye can see spread across the least attractive part of a generally gorgeous state.  The few gems of architecture scattered across the valley do not make up for this.

Albany, NY - an eyesore in a very pretty location.  Empire state plaza can both horrify and amaze with ease.  Even Schenectady, NY next door is a better over night spot on the way to the Adirondacks.

Newark, NJ - parts of this town will always be terrifying.

In defense of Atlanta - there are parts of this city that do indeed suck and there are parts of the city that are absolutely amazing.  The leafy areas of Inman Park, Druid Hills and Virginia Highlands are some of the prettiest garden suburbs I've seen.  Downtown's scale is walkable and as long as you stay off the interstates and major GAs at rush hour, a blast to drive in.

Jul 15, 13 10:21 pm

I landed in Phoenix for three years back in the 80's  I have been back a few times since moving away.   I lived  and worked near Squaw Peak.  It was before the major Squaw Peak expressway was put in place.  I had a great boss, but when the economy turned I became a traveling man.  We were not doing rocket science but we did have a good  time.  The biggest problem I had with Phoenix was the  extent of the City.  It was at that time about 70 miles from one side to the other when you were traveling North and  South.  I loved to run up  Squaw Peak on a Saturday Morning...and look over the vastness of the Valley.    So to all that land in a place for a moment... think again their are redeeming  values where ever you is your job to make them better.  Amen!

Jul 16, 13 8:55 pm

The thing about PHX is the extreme heat.  It doesn't make my list of Bottom 5, though.  A couple sitting next to me on a plane said that you have to watch the various rubbers (not condoms) on your car - tires, hoses, and belts - because the heat takes a toll on them when you least expect it.  And also car batteries.  The desertscape has its own allure, but it's not my preferred look.  It makes me anxious.  When driving across it, I worry about breakdowns, especially having done so in a higher mileage car.  The weird thing about PHX is that the rattlesnakes can be of the Mojave variety, and those are among the most toxic.  In any desert city, as they build the suburbs outward, the wildlife gets displaced, so some may linger in new subdivisions.  And rattlers have a thing for warm garage slabs.

As for cities, the positives have to outweigh the negatives, as for living there.  My thread was based on visiting and general appeal.  However, the list of criteria varies for everyone.  Sometimes, a place can be beautiful and the people can suck.  Sometimes, the people can be great and the place is an armpit.  It's a balancing act.  I don't believe "Oh, it must be you."  That's crap.  Most people are fine tuned to live in some places, and not in others.

Jul 16, 13 9:32 pm
Tinbeary There there

snook, Denver and its exurbs span 90 miles from SE to NW. Soon the whole front range will be one megalopolis.

Jul 17, 13 8:54 am

This just found on MSN today.

This thread was about anywhere in the world, but America's 5 most dangerous cities are listed.

Some people picked Detroit, it's #2 - I picked Memphis for how vapid it is to me, it's #5 - the #1 spot is Flint, MI, with almost 3,000 violent crimes per 100,000 residents.  Those are some high odds.

Jul 17, 13 2:06 pm

The FBI UCR is a treasure trove of non-politically-correct statistical data. It's best not to look too closely at it or someone might accuse you of crimethink.

Jul 17, 13 5:12 pm
won and done williams
You know what they say about Detroit: it's all fun and games till they shoot you in the face.
Jul 17, 13 10:58 pm

1. stoke on trent (actually hanley) its just badly laid out, they stuck a 1990's monstrosity of a city centre shopping centre in there too.

2. bolton - what should be a great highstreet is marred again by contenporary architecture that doesnt fit with the esthetic.

i'll think of more later

Jul 18, 13 9:12 am

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