Posted May 8, 2012 @ 10:24 AM
I never realized that was a North American term, but it makes sense. Interesting to see it grew out of New York City's growth.
I know in Ontario, the city of Waterloo rebranded their 'downtown' area "Uptown" to help distinguish it from the City of Kitchener's Downtown which is literally a few KM's down King Street from it. (Kitchener-Waterloo are effectively one city, and they've all but swallowed Cambridge now too).
In New Brunswick, the city of Saint John doesn't have a downtown; their central core was rebranded as "Uptown" for tourism reasons and as a rebranding/rejuvination effect decades ago, and (according to Wiki) because it is located on a hill. (I only vaguely remember the details from long ago myself)
In my own experiences, and other than when the town/city has put an effort in rebranding it, I usually see Downtown as the central core, usually the oldest section of the city. Sometimes there will be an uptown area as well, which would be a 'newer' area of commercial development, and (at least where I've grown up) tends to be located literally higher than the downtown area. Usually because the downtown would have grown around a river/lake, and the new region would be situated away from the water, up higher on the river valley walls.