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View Poll Results: Most urban
Seattle 37 22.29%
Baltimore 76 45.78%
Pittsburgh 15 9.04%
Cincinati 7 4.22%
New Orleans 8 4.82%
Miami 23 13.86%
Voters: 166. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-01-2017, 02:19 PM
 
Location: Denver
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutiny77 View Post
I think most will say Baltimore due to age, built form, and location.
Forgot about that. Seattle gets more attention though.
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Old 08-01-2017, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gladhands View Post
It's quite clearly Baltimore.
Not so sure. Baltimore lacks the vibrancy for its urban bones, as it has over 30,000 vacant properties. If we're talking urbanity purely on infrastructural terms, then yes, but there's more to urbanity than just bones--just as there's more to urbanity than population density.
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Old 08-01-2017, 02:28 PM
 
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The OP missed Milwaukee....more dense than all of these cities, perhaps. Also, very urban.
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Old 08-01-2017, 02:29 PM
 
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Baltimore feels very urban especially while exploring. Maybe its because I was in the hood?? It was VIBRANT and fast pace with vacant properties and abandonment.
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Old 08-01-2017, 02:38 PM
 
Location: The mountain of Airy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Anyway, my two cents on all of these.

Baltimore - best urban fabric by far, which is why it wins. Basically a mini-Philadelphia. Blight is of course an issue, but the only thing the city really needs to do in order to be a national contender is fix its CBD area, as there are plenty of inner-core neighborhoods surrounding the CBD which are great.

Seattle - probably the best example of infill densifying old neighborhoods in the country. That said, the built fabric of much of the city is still streetcar suburban to actual suburban. And a lot of the infill is still built in a quasi-suburban style - set back from the sidewalk with generous levels of greenery. Thus walking around somewhere like Capitol Hill it doesn't feel very urban, even if there are a lot of people living there. Still, it gets points for doing it better than LA, Portland, Miami, and basically everywhere else.

Pittsburgh - Obviously I'm a homer, but I feel like we have the best remaining traditional urban fabric off the East coast aside from San Francisco and Chicago. There are still dozens of rowhouse-density neighborhoods, while Cinci and St. Louis destroyed almost all of theirs. The downside is due to urban renewal, the intact urban areas are not really contiguous, but spread in several clumps spread around (and even outside of) the city.

Cincinnati - If it wasn't for urban renewal, it would clearly beat Pittsburgh, because the city boomed even earlier and tended to build walkup tenement buildings (rather than rowhouses) in the 19th century. Unfortunately urban renewal meant that aside from Over-The-Rhine, not much remained of the old city of the flatlands. There are urban neighborhoods outside of this core, but these tend to be dominated by detached single-family homes (albeit with little to no setback) rather than having a continual urban street wall.

New Orleans - Very urban for the south, but outside of the French Quarter and some surrounding areas, it's basically dominated by shotgun housing on very small lots. There's a limit to how much of an urban vibe this can give you, considering even if the lot coverage is good a good deal of the homes are only one story.

Miami - Does not even belong in the running. It's dense (particularly Brickell) but that's about it. It really lags in walkable urban fabric. Look at areas on streetview with a 90%+ walkscore to see what I mean. Miami Beach, despite its smaller size, could arguably be in the running however.
This should end the thread. An excellent overview.
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Old 08-01-2017, 02:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CityGuyForLife View Post
Not so sure. Baltimore lacks the vibrancy for its urban bones, as it has over 30,000 vacant properties. If we're talking urbanity purely on infrastructural terms, then yes, but there's more to urbanity than just bones--just as there's more to urbanity than population density.
That I think Baltimore is underrated in terms of vibrant urban neighborhoods. Even with its decay I'd say the Baltimore has more lively neighborhoods than Seattle.
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Old 08-01-2017, 02:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enean View Post
The OP missed Milwaukee....more dense than all of these cities, perhaps. Also, very urban.
I quite like in Milwaukee. I think it's generally underrated, and while it might be more urban than one or two of the cities in this poll, it would probably figure in the bottom half.
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Old 08-01-2017, 02:52 PM
 
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LA to me, just on sheer number of people living in a high density area (WS>90) (282K). Next closest is Seattle at 110K. Residential density and walkability isn't the only factor that matters here, but given the vast disparity in numbers on it, in this case it is enough to be decisive.

Given the cities on the list though?
I'll eliminate Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and New Orleans from the discussion for being first in this list. They have smaller numbers of people in these types of neighborhoods, generally, compared to the others. That being said, the FQ is the most urban/walkable single area on this list, and both Cincy and Pittsburgh have impressive bones and urban structure.

Miami? It does have the best skyline of this group, and that DOES add to the density in some ways, also. For example, there are a few census tracts over by Margaret Pace Park with residential highrises that exceed 100,000 psqm. density. Small, but still you get the idea, an intensely urban area, and probably the most dense singular spot in any of these cities. However, Miami's density doesn't seem to be very well spread over the course of the city. In addition, Miami doesn't seem to be especially walkable or have great transit compared to other cities in this group, which are big factors when it comes to weighing how urban a place is. It just isn't the most inviting place to take a stroll, regardless of how dense it is. I don't think it wins this group, at least by my standards.

That leaves Baltimore and Seattle. From a statistical standpoint, the two are quite close on overall urbanity from what I can see. However, as others have mentioned, Baltimore just has it's historic bones that truly create an urban feel that I don't think Seattle is able to match. Seattle has the luxury vs. Baltimore of not being in the shadow of a DC, and is likely a more dynamic urban center, but overall Baltimore wins this list for overall urbanity, at least IMO.
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Old 08-01-2017, 02:53 PM
 
27,758 posts, read 24,784,942 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CityGuyForLife View Post
Not so sure. Baltimore lacks the vibrancy for its urban bones, as it has over 30,000 vacant properties. If we're talking urbanity purely on infrastructural terms, then yes, but there's more to urbanity than just bones--just as there's more to urbanity than population density.
But the thing is, even in neighborhoods with vacant properties, you'll still have inhabited properties in the mix and some of them are even new. It can be quite a contrast.

And many of those neighborhoods are still vibrant, although it might not be the type of vibrancy you prefer or are used to.
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Old 08-01-2017, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Anyway, my two cents on all of these.

Baltimore - best urban fabric by far, which is why it wins. Basically a mini-Philadelphia. Blight is of course an issue, but the only thing the city really needs to do in order to be a national contender is fix its CBD area, as there are plenty of inner-core neighborhoods surrounding the CBD which are great.

Seattle - probably the best example of infill densifying old neighborhoods in the country. That said, the built fabric of much of the city is still streetcar suburban to actual suburban. And a lot of the infill is still built in a quasi-suburban style - set back from the sidewalk with generous levels of greenery. Thus walking around somewhere like Capitol Hill it doesn't feel very urban, even if there are a lot of people living there. Still, it gets points for doing it better than LA, Portland, Miami, and basically everywhere else.

Pittsburgh - Obviously I'm a homer, but I feel like we have the best remaining traditional urban fabric off the East coast aside from San Francisco and Chicago. There are still dozens of rowhouse-density neighborhoods, while Cinci and St. Louis destroyed almost all of theirs. The downside is due to urban renewal, the intact urban areas are not really contiguous, but spread in several clumps spread around (and even outside of) the city.

Cincinnati - If it wasn't for urban renewal, it would clearly beat Pittsburgh, because the city boomed even earlier and tended to build walkup tenement buildings (rather than rowhouses) in the 19th century. Unfortunately urban renewal meant that aside from Over-The-Rhine, not much remained of the old city of the flatlands. There are urban neighborhoods outside of this core, but these tend to be dominated by detached single-family homes (albeit with little to no setback) rather than having a continual urban street wall.

New Orleans - Very urban for the south, but outside of the French Quarter and some surrounding areas, it's basically dominated by shotgun housing on very small lots. There's a limit to how much of an urban vibe this can give you, considering even if the lot coverage is good a good deal of the homes are only one story.

Miami - Does not even belong in the running. It's dense (particularly Brickell) but that's about it. It really lags in walkable urban fabric. Look at areas on streetview with a 90%+ walkscore to see what I mean. Miami Beach, despite its smaller size, could arguably be in the running however.
Blight is a huge issue for Baltimore. Urbanity is more than just bones; there are ghost towns in Asia that have the bones. Street activity is a large part of it, and there are entire blocks that are vacant and boarded up in Baltimore. The CBD is definitely not the biggest priority, imo.

https://ggwash.org/view/40517/baltim...t-is-that-wise

And Miami has a lot of walkable urban fabric, more than most give it credit for. Much of it might not be pretty, but it's there. Neighborhoods like Wynwood, the Design District, downtown, Little Havana, and Brickell are very walkable. The issue with walking in Miami is weather (humidity/rain) and it being an auto-centric city. But walkability (just like infrastructure), is just one factor in urbanity. You need to have a good mix of both.
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