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View Poll Results: Is Boston as urban as Chicago
Yes, as urban or more so 65 53.28%
No, not as urban 57 46.72%
Voters: 122. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-23-2012, 07:01 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 12,645,069 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
They're not exactly rowhouses. Boston has brownstones and triple deckers. I'd say that Boston is a bit more vertical than Philadelphia. I never really paid attention until I went back in the fall and noticed how many multi-floor apartment buildings there were. That's pretty much all you see when riding along Storrow Drive.

Boston, imo, feels the most like NYC from a built environment standpoint. And whether we acknowledge it explicitly or not, NYC is the standard bearer in the "urbanity" department. Boston is tight and compact, much like Philadelphia, but then it also has the vertical dimension to it that Philly kinda lacks. Boston is probably the closest you can get to Nolita or Tribeca outside of NYC.
The first place I lived was a 4 story walk-up in a brownstone in a row of apartments (38 Ransom Road, Boston, MA - Google Maps). The second (thankfully) had an elevator and was 6 stories, but just a stand alone building that was part of a series of buildings (they are in the back so you can't see them from here) (http://g.co/maps/j58u8).

You are right that it is mostly brownstones but there are certainly rowhouses in Boston, particularly in the South End (and IIRC there are some in Brookline too).

Interesting that you find it more vertical than Philadelphia, I always though of Boston being a kind of low-rise, high density city.

Last edited by munchitup; 01-23-2012 at 07:17 PM..
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:03 PM
 
Location: The City
21,979 posts, read 30,999,871 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
This is a fun part of Boston. I don't know if Chicago really has anything quite like this.

boston massachusetts - Google Maps
That building always reminds me of this

Philadelphia, PA - Google Maps
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:08 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 12,645,069 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
This is a fun part of Boston. I don't know if Chicago really has anything quite like this.

boston massachusetts - Google Maps
Not sure if many places in North America have anything quite like that. Just got tickets to Boston for St. Paddy's Day, our friends got a condo in South Boston last year. Somehow we missed the parade every year while living there.
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidphilly View Post
That building always reminds me of this

Philadelphia, PA - Google Maps
I really love the look of the green in contrast to the red or brown of the bricks. I used to walk past this place all the time and wished I could live in the top floor: boston massachusetts - Google Maps
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:37 PM
 
Location: Chicago
6,007 posts, read 13,234,676 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munchitup View Post
Does Chicago have better overall PT than Boston?

Boston lacks rail coverage in a few places in the city, namely the eastern part of Roxbury, west part of Dorchester, South Boston, Brighton Center and Lower Allston.

I'm sure Chicago has some gaps in coverage as well, I would be curious to see what they are.
There are quite a few spots the CTA L doesn't service. Large chunks of the Humboldt Park and Ukrainian Village, for example, are not serviced by the L.

Speaking as someone who grew up in Boston and has spent over 4 years in Chicago, I'd say that Boston is just as urban as Chicago. I think a lot of Chicago neighborhoods feel downright suburban (e.g., Beverly and Edison Park). Outside of the core downtown areas and select neighborhoods, it does feel like some parts of Chicago are less dens than others. Bigger lots, more single family homes, etc. With Boston, outside of West Roxbury, which doesn't even look like it's a part of the city it's so suburban looking, I can't think of many Boston neighborhoods that aren't urban and dense (there are small parts of, say, Roslindale and Dorchester that may fit the bill, but I can't think of many others). Boston is pretty filled with triple deckas, brownstones, and apartment buildings, which add to the density and urban feel, even if the city as a whole is smaller than Chicago.
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:44 PM
 
Location: Denver
6,628 posts, read 12,174,471 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCal Dude View Post
Yea accept the city boundaries are real so, um yea. I mean don't get me wrong, if you want to try to include Cambridge, New Hampshire, and NYC into the argument, be my guest.
I'm guessing you've never been to Boston? You're seriously trying to act as if Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, etc. aren't really part of the core? I guess you'd have to have spent some time there to actually understand how the area works.

If you're going to go by such strict standards, wouldn't the blown out areas of the South and West Sides of Chicago count against the city quite a bit? I mean, going by your standards we can only take anything and everything within the borders into account. A huge part of the South Side is just empty fields and abandoned apartments.

Do I think we need to punish Chicago for the bad areas in the South/West sides? No, because that's not really fair because those aren't really part of the urban core in my opinion. But in the same spirit, I think it's foolish for you to try to omit the aforementioned places for Boston. When I was living in the Allston neighborhood of Boston, I was able to walk to Harvard Square and the edge of MIT's campus in about 20-30 minutes each. If you've looked at a map, you'll notice that MIT & Harvard are on the opposite side of Cambridge from one another. The back half of my apartment building was actually in Brookline. I could walk to Brookline Center in 10 minutes.

It's just a bit ridiculous to try to exclude these areas.

Last edited by tmac9wr; 01-23-2012 at 08:08 PM..
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:53 PM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
4,280 posts, read 7,237,150 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munchitup View Post

Interesting that you find it more vertical than Philadelphia, I always though of Boston being a kind of low-rise, high density city.
Yeah, Boston is definitely overall a low-rise city, but Boston's rowhomes tend to be a bit taller than Philly's. Not dramatically, but it definitely makes a difference in terms of urban feel, although one may argue that the expanse of Philly's rowhomes seem more urban than Boston's triple deckers.

Overall, I think its cool that each city has their own "brand" of urbanism.
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:21 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 12,645,069 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duderino View Post
Yeah, Boston is definitely overall a low-rise city, but Boston's rowhomes tend to be a bit taller than Philly's. Not dramatically, but it definitely makes a difference in terms of urban feel, although one may argue that the expanse of Philly's rowhomes seem more urban than Boston's triple deckers.

Overall, I think its cool that each city has their own "brand" of urbanism.
Interesting, I don't know enough about Philadelphia to make an accurate comparison. Now that I think about it the brownstones in Boston do maintain a fairly consistent 4-5 stories.
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:31 PM
 
8,682 posts, read 8,873,110 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munchitup View Post
Interesting, I don't know enough about Philadelphia to make an accurate comparison. Now that I think about it the brownstones in Boston do maintain a fairly consistent 4-5 stories.
Yea Boston is usually around 4-5 stories while Phillys rowhomes are usually 2 or 3, and Chicago Bungalos (Sp.) are also 2-3 stories.
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Old 01-24-2012, 03:26 AM
 
1,495 posts, read 1,887,289 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btownboss4 View Post
Yea Boston is usually around 4-5 stories while Phillys rowhomes are usually 2 or 3, and Chicago Bungalos (Sp.) are also 2-3 stories.
Yes, Chicago is known for bungalows (one or one-and-a-half story single-family homes in distant, quiet parts of town), but I believe you're thinking of the apartment buildings which a lot Chicago people curiously refer to as 2-flat, 3-flat, etc. depending on their height. There are also tall, skinny standalone houses interspersed with the flats.
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