It would seem to me that this views of these places also translates to modes of transportation that are seen as "european" or basically foreign as well such as light rail. Which to me makes it all the more amazing that Charlotte has been able to move itself towards transit expansion that is seen as the cutting edge in cities around the south, even those that have existing systems such as Atlanta. The amazing thing there is the changing political will towards a more transit centered, urbanism. I would argue that Charlotte in particular is a function of outsiders from the Northeast. The Urbanophile has laid out why outsiders have a way of making changes to a community because they can see something different.
Outsiders are willing to imagine things being different in the first place since they already experienced and indeed grew up in an environment that is different. It's sort of like visiting a foreign country for the first time. We notice how all sorts of little things are different, prompting four reactions. The first is, "Hey, things are different here." That can be a revelation itself. When we grow up and experience only one way of doing things, we tend to think everybody must do it that way or that there is only one way to do it.A possible function of the Southern feeling towards San Francisco or Europe is that they haven't been there before and their impressions are based on what they are told rather than what they experience. How many people do you know have changed their view of their own places after seeing a foreign country? I also have to wonder how much of the south is bigger cities as well and how much the lack of cities might lead to a similar feeling.
I remember visiting my parents from college when they lived in Rotterdam for a year and being amazed at the different transportation types, streets for people instead of just cars, and the fact that my dad could just walk to work. I was amazed and I believe it was one part of how my views changed towards the ones that I have now. Before that, I just hadn't been exposed to anything like it and didn't know it existed.
It's not that they aren't open to the experience, they just haven't had it. Not sure how that could be fixed, but it might explain some of the reasons for the San Francisco and New York bashing from the South. We're generally afraid of what we don't know. What do you all think?