In this case I think it's more the smaller city choosing to not see what's really there, because crazy political baggage.
As some wise SOB on the interwebs once observed, many Victorians like to think Victoria's special character is all about what the city is not rather than what it is. As they strain to analyze things from this reversed perspective they end up trying to force stuff that doesn't really fit and they also overlook so much that should be obvious.
Here's the process:
Premise: Victoria is not a big city.
Observation: The old districts in big cities are super granular & full of lowrise buildings that are narrow & tall.
Perceived problem: Victoria's old district is also super granular & full of lowrise buildings that are narrow & tall.
Solution to perceived problem: Diminish the granularity in Victoria's old district.
Mike K.'s special character is that he never wears suits like his big city cousin.
Wait, Mike K. does wear suits? That's not how I like to picture him.
Solution: I'll toss his suits in the trash and I'll hassle him to wear T-shirts and track pants at every opportunity.
If I keep at it with enough persistence, eventually my notions about Mike K. will translate into reality and I'll be vindicated. He'll seem starkly different from his big city cousin, which is exactly how he should seem. I think.