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Old 01-27-2013, 11:17 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Western Massachusetts
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Originally Posted by memph View Post
Interesting.

For Paris, it seems to have seen much less population growth during the transit era than New York, which exploded in population during this time period. With Paris and France enduring the two world wars during this period, that shouldn't come as much of a surprise, although the US was involved in this war, it endured almost no destruction on home turf and significantly fewer human casualties relative to population. The US, especially New York saw a huge population boom during this period with tons of immigrants. It looks like Paris' metro area might have seen it's population roughly double from WWII to present, while NY's metro area grew a bit slower. If we assume pedestrian oriented growth = high density (type I), transit oriented = medium density (type II) and car oriented = low density (type III/IV), this already partly explains the situation.

I think another contributing factor though might be that Paris had trams to promote outward growth while NY had subways, which were more expensive and therefore less extensive. Paris was also building subways, but only in areas that were already built up to high densities.

Here's Paris' tram network roughly at its peak, it started to get abandonned in the 1930s.
Paris 1926

As Paris growing slower than NYC from 1870-1920, it did but the amount of very dense "Type I" development in both metros wasn't too different in 1920. Assuming it was only Paris proper, 59% of people in the Paris metro lived in very dense sections in 1921 and for New York City (assuming Manhattan + half The Bronx) 47% — a possible slight underestimate. But New York City grew faster from 1920-1940 than Paris, probably creating more Type II areas.

So it looks like Paris's metro area might have had more land available for development (relative to population growth) that had access to the rest of the city in the 1870-1935 period, which meant being near transit, hence less motivation to build as dense as NY.
From NYC, some of the transit oriented growth is "type I" — mainly the upper half of Manhattan and West Bronx; all built around the time of elevated or underground train lines. Much of Brooklyn had streetcars/trams before getting rapid transit. Also, some patchy areas in the outer borough is close to "Type 1", right outside subways. This is about 9 miles from Midtown Manhattan, many built in the 50s (not sure).

As for the type III development in Paris being car-oriented, I suspect much of it isn't if it was built in the 50s and early 60s. Car ownership levels were probably rather low right after World War II, much lower than today, but I don't have any numbers.

Trams are more extensive than subways but also slower, increasing journey time to the center of the city. I suppose if the NYC subway system was more extensive, development of that era would have been lower density, maybe similar to London. London's underground system outside the city center radiates outward more than NYC, but is a less dense network. From that link, Manhattan south of 59th street has an enormous number of subway lines right next to each other, more than any other system. Partly because of centralization, the island geography and also the fact the lines were built by separate competing companies. The outer parts of London's lines are surface railways (almost all outside of the core is above ground) spurring greenfield development while NYC's is elevated or underground on commercial streets, often in already developed areas.

From what I read (not completely sure), Paris being a capital city, less of the working-class industrial jobs were concentrated in the older parts of the city, and more outside the city limits (to the east and northeast?). In 1950, a bit over half (500,000 out of 950,000) industrial jobs in the city were in the CBD (Manhattan south of 59th street). And then many jobs were port jobs, also rather concentrated. If industrial jobs were more spread out and much of the working-class lived on the outskirts, perhaps the average worker would have a short tram ride to work rather than a longer distance subway commute in NYC. The lack of subways past Paris may have meant the outer regions felt rather disconnected from the city proper. From the article I found it sounds like extensions to further out suburbs were blocked on purpose, it was intended to be a city-only system.
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:08 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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So for the municipality of Valencia, the weighted density by neighbourhood (which are about the size of 2 CTs) is 67,217 ppsm. This includes most of the urban area with a population of 815,000 and also includes some areas that are pretty much rural or villages like: El Perellonet, Valencia, Spain - Google Maps

The population density of the neighbourhoods above 25,000 ppsm is 63,111 ppsm with a population of 712,000.

Lower density areas are all peripheral neighbourhoods that aren't fully developed like
Malilla, Valencia, Spain - Google Maps
Benimàmet, Valencia, Spain - Google Maps
La Punta, Valencia, Spain - Google Maps
Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, Valencia, Spain - Google Maps

This one is the densest at 150,000 ppsm
El Calvari, Valencia, Spain - Google Maps

It has about 164,000 people living in neighbourhoods of 100k ppsm or more, about as many as Torontonians living in CTs of 50k ppsm or more.
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Old 12-26-2013, 11:19 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Most older cities have declined since about 1950, but where did they decline? Was it even or uneven? Then there've been threads on say, this Rust Belt city used to be much more urban back in the day. I found a website with census maps dating back for decades, going back to 1940 for most areas, older for some:

Social Explorer

I downloaded images of density maps of the largest American cities (in 1950) for 1950 and 2010. Perhaps they can help give us an answer. However, many of the declines are from smaller family sizes and less overcrowding rather than decay. Still gives a hint. Hope posters find the comparison interesting. Going roughly from largest to smallest.

Many suburbs aren't mapped in the 1950 maps.

1. New York City

since New York City is so much denser than other cities, I used a different scale than the rest of the cities. Some of the cities are low density enough that the higher numbers don't get used, but I wanted use the same scale throughout, except for New York City.

New York City is one of the few older cities that didn't have any population decline. However, the overall numbers mask trends within the city. New York City experienced large losses in the South Bronx and the north half of Brooklyn (both good and bad areas). Milder losses in southern Brooklyn and Manhattan. Newer areas, especially areas with heavy immigration experienced large gains. Much of Queens, and some other outer regions. And of course Staten Island, which still is relatively low density.





2. Chicago today is densest in the north side. It wasn't like that in 1950. The densest parts of the south side were overcrowded entirely black neighborhoods. Urban renewal, urban flight led to a decline severe than from less crowding alone.

In 1950, downtown Chicago was almost empty of people, an area of no people surrounded by dense residential tracts. Maybe the most extreme contrast out of all the cities? However, NYC's financial district looked rather non-residential in 1950, though it's smaller in area than Chicago's downtown.





3. Los Angeles

In 1950, Los Angeles had a reputation of being a low density sprawling city. Was that warranted? It was no less dense in the center than some "rust belt" cities. However, Los Angeles was already larger than them and had a relatively low dense core compared to other cities of its size. Area-wise, it extended rather far out.

2010 gives a different picture. The center is much denser, the opposite trend compared to most other large cities. And there are many outlying dense neighborhoods.




Last edited by nei; 12-26-2013 at 12:14 PM..
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Old 12-26-2013, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
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Poor Bunker Hill
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Old 12-26-2013, 08:05 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Western Massachusetts
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4. Philadelphia

Philly looks a bit denser than Chicago near its center in 1950. Definitely by % of population living in high density tracts, though probably not by absolute numbers. Scale is different than Chicago, but it looks like in all directions (North, West and South Philly) is mostly populated by 35k+ tracts consistently. Second densest city core in the country in 1950? The far northern parts of the city were less dense then and now.

Philly's decline looks rather even, though most severe in North Philly, and relatively mild in South Philly. Even today, density drops off quickly right around the city limits: sometimes one of the in between density levels gets skipped without a transition.





5. Boston is the opposite of Philly: much of the older built area is outside of the city limits. Boston looks like it had less high density areas than Philly in 1950, though the peaks were at least as high. South Boston had densities around 50k/sq mile and higher. Large Irish Catholic families? Largest declines were in Roxbury/Dorchester or somwhere on the south side of downtown.





6. San Francisco / Oakland

San Francisco didn't change a whole lot, a few neighborhoods just west of downtown had population declines, a few outer ones grew. Oakland west of downtown (West Oakland) had a population decline; Oakland to the south and northeast of downtown grew a bit. Some spots right near UC Berkeley got much denser.

While San Francisco is similar to Philly/Boston density today, in 1950 it wasn't. Either from less decline but with originally less dense overall housing stock, or being less of a blue-collar city had less overcrowding issues in 1950? Not sure if household size decline would vary by city much, though. Perhaps just more infill, and the outer parts of the 1950 city was less dense than Philly.



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Old 12-26-2013, 09:33 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Western Massachusetts
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7. Next up is Detroit. Detroit had a larger metro population in 1950 than Boston or San Francisco, but since it's very different from those two today, I switched the order. Looking at the density map, Detroit in 1950 had a chunk of neighborhoods in the 35-60k/sq mile, not as much as San Francisco but the gap doesn't look huge. San Francisco's densest neighborhoods were probably about the same as today while Detroit's mostly gone, it's possible part of Detroit was as densely built up as San Francisco. But I have trouble believing Detroit had many blocks of neighborhoods like this. I suspect Detroit just had a rather overcrowded, poor area right by downtown, while the San Francisco view was (and is) affluent or middle-class. And even just by the map, San Francisco looks denser then.

Detroit's map shows a huge depopulation, not unexpectedly. The densest part of Detroit today isn't in the city limit, but in the enclave of Hammtrack. In 1950, Hamtramck appears a bit denser than average for Detroit, but there were many denser neighborhoods; Hamtrmack just had less of a decline.





8. The next three cities were roughly the same size (by metro) in 1950, and about 70-75% the size of San Francisco, the next larger city. The north half of St. Louis was denser in 1950, and it's the side of the city that declined more (and also the African-American half of the city). Perhaps the poorer half? A racial and income map would be helpful. Population loss is almost as drastic as Detroit.





9. Cleveland looks a bit similar in density to Detroit, a bit less dense than Detroit, with a large swath of the city in th 15-25k range in 1950. Some of the east side was denser. It had a bit of a uninhabited downtown as well, and looks like along the river (industry?) East side fell harder, now less dense than the west side. Seems like a bit of a pattern in rust belt cities.





10. Pittsburgh. A bit less dense in 1950 than the previous few, but that might be from topography / undevelopable land in census tracts. Again, drastic population loss, but the densest areas often didn't do worse (or even better) than the city on average.





11. Baltimore. Looks like the areas to the east of downtown suffered more severe declines. Not quite so bad as the previous four.





12. Washington, DC. Hard to find a pattern since the census tract boundaries changed so much. Neighborhood to the SE of Downtown appears to have had the largest decline. Looks like the dense areas are next to each other, unlike say, Cleveland. Less dense than Baltimore in 1950.




Last edited by nei; 05-03-2014 at 01:57 PM..
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Old 12-27-2013, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
7. Next up is Detroit. Detroit had a larger metro population in 1950 than Boston or San Francisco, but since it's very different from those two today, I switched the order. Looking at the density map, Detroit in 1950 had a chunk of neighborhoods in the 35-60k/sq mile, not as much as San Francisco but the gap doesn't look huge. San Francisco's densest neighborhoods were probably about the same as today while Detroit's mostly gone, it's possible part of Detroit was as densely built up as San Francisco. But I have trouble believing Detroit had many blocks of neighborhoods like this. I suspect Detroit just had a rather overcrowded, poor area right by downtown, while the San Francisco view was (and is) affluent or middle-class. And even just by the map, San Francisco looks denser then.

Detroit's map shows a huge depopulation, not unexpectedly. The densest part of Detroit today isn't in the city limit, but in the enclave of Hammtrack. In 1950, Hamtramck appears a bit denser than average for Detroit, but there were many denser neighborhoods; Hamtrmack just had less of a decline.


I had actually noted Detroit's 1950 densities in another forum. But basically, you're partly right on the neighborhoods directly adjacent to downtown being poor and probably overcrowded. Though the actual built environments of other dense neighborhoods were pretty varied from each other.

It's been a pain and a half to try and find photos within the densest area especially pre-urban renewal which roughly occurred around 1930-1950.

Based on the map here, Moderator cut: link removed, linking to competitor sites is not allowed, there's a small tract on the near east side of the city that reaches 80,000 ppsm. Specifically, it's the neighborhood in the top-left corner of this photo. However, the photo is dated 1930 and it's kinda hard to tell what sort of housing that is specifically. It looks to be mostly walkup apartments or duplexes.

Some of the aerial photos of the housing projects constructed in the area kind of give a good idea of the density. The projects themselves show up with a density of 60,000 ppsm. Though that doesn't really explain on where the 80,000 figure comes from. The tract the shows this number is in the bottom right corner of this 1937 aerial photo.

I looked around some other Rust Belt cities, and I think this Detroit neighborhood likely looked similar to this one in Cleveland albeit slightly more dense. You'd also have to imagine that sort of neighborhood spreading out for a few miles with some industrial land use mixed in.

http://goo.gl/maps/ObF99

http://goo.gl/maps/LsJhu

Then once you get out of the radius of downtown, duplexes become very common as well as large midrise walkup apartment buildings. However, the west side was notably more affluent than the areas closer in to downtown (or to the river I should say). Much of the housing was much better quality although it's been said there was still overcrowding problems.

The center-right of this photo shows a 30,000 ppsm census tract. With typical shrinking household size declines, this area would have resembled Hamtramck.

This area had a 60,000 ppsm census tract. Though hardly any apartment buildings still exist.

Outside of these core areas, the rest of Detroit to its city limits is made of mostly post-war housing. Most densities stayed around 15,000 or lower.

Last edited by Yac; 01-08-2014 at 07:34 AM..
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Old 12-27-2013, 07:14 AM
 
Location: The City
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Great maps

Crazy looking at Detroit, St Louis, and Cleveland (Though will wonder what the core of Cleveland will look like in tens years - the DT is filling in just not sure how much

Am always curious on the SF and Philly comparsion for core densities



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Old 12-27-2013, 10:13 AM
 
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Only LA has gotten denser.. thats sad. Damn suburbs
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:43 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hockey92 View Post
Only LA has gotten denser.. thats sad. Damn suburbs
That's fairly usual in any older city, it's not just the US. Household sizes have gotten smaller, and unless lots of new infill occurs, gentrification often means lower densities. Manhattan had much fewer residential high rises, with fewer wealthy areas (mainly Upper West Side and Upper East Side right near Central Park and in and around Greenwich Village were well-off, the rest was working-class) but had more people in 1950.

European cities have shown a similar pattern, recent outer growth, inner city population decline (but relatively little decay). Paris with less infill than NYC showed a steeper decline than Manhattan. In 1954, Paris proper peaked at 2.85 million with a metro population of 6.4 million. Today, Paris has declined to 2.24 but the metro population is almost double, 11-12 million. The suburbs of Paris are quite dense for American standards (newer ones might be around 15k/sq mile, some down to 10k/sq mile) but still much less dense than Paris proper. Transit ridership is much higher in Paris suburbs, with the metro overall having double the transit usage of the NYC metro, even though the central areas of both metros have similar levels of transit usage.
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