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Old 01-01-2013, 11:09 AM
 
2,892 posts, read 4,645,519 times
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I work in the not-for-profit world that pays less, so when we imagine plucking a built environment from the continuum of historical development I always imagine my own real life in it. I'm honest that it would not be the best of the best and I'm OK with that. To achieve better I accept I'd have to make more money or move away. I know I would probably not be living a charmed life in a pied a terre close to pleasant shopping and transit, but someplace really crowded, subject to the difficult conditions we've talked about here. In short, this is really an impossible question for me because the pros and cons have to be weighed in real life, not fantasy.
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Old 01-01-2013, 12:25 PM
 
10,630 posts, read 23,519,408 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I didn't say anyone was suggesting we live in third world conditions. However, we have a number of posts celebrating density, arguing for more density all the time, etc.

Here's one.
Urban Density Comparisons
Now someone will say, "oh, that's just a comparison, makes no value judgements". But if you read it, higher density is clearly the preference of most posters. And then there are those who excoriate the burbs (and by extension their residents) for being LOW density. I'm not going to quote any of those; they were contentious at the time.
But people in major first-world cities live very healthy lives in high-density conditions. And besides, I don't think most posters have ever advocated that everyone move into extremely high-density conditions, and certainly people haven't advocated that the ideal is high-density slum conditions. (of course "extreme" is in itself a value judgement; there are lots of Americans who think that as few a 3,000 people per square mile is "high-density")

Yes, people living closer to other people is inevitably going to be mean some increased exposure and risk of disease. But people living in low-density areas have their own increased health risks. And for what it's worth, Manhattan -- the densest part of the United States -- has one of the fastest rising life expectancies (currently 82) in the country, one that is higher than the national average. Now I'm not suggesting that higher density is the REASON Manhattan is so healthy, but the high density does not seem to have hurt them.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:37 PM
 
32,970 posts, read 16,869,442 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luv4horses View Post
I've read that in the past that when a street has been closed off to become pedestrian-only the stores actually suffer. Seems like people like to drive by in their car to see what's going on even if they can't fnd a place to park. When the pedestrian only streets were reversed to handle car traffic again, the business success came back. An example might be Chestnut Street in Philadelphia.
There are certainly counterexamples. The promenade known as "Strøget" in Copenhagen was made a pedestrian zone over the enraged protests of the shopowners, and it is now one of Northern Europe's most attractive (and pricy!) places to have a storefront. The pedestrian zones in Hamburg have seen the same effect - and that's a city/state whose laws very much embrace merchants.

It comes down to coherent planning. If you make it easy to do without a car, people tend to discover that having one is a bit of a hassle. Copenhageners embrace bicycles to a ridiculous degree. People in Hamburg have taken on the New York model with good public transit and lots and lots of cabs.

When no less of a car fanatic than Jeremy Clarkson embraces Copenhagen's approach to bicycling, something works.
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:28 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,993 posts, read 42,377,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post

I just now found an article about housing since the 1940s:

http://www.eceee.org/conference_proc..._1/p1_17/paper
In 1940 nearly half of houses lacked hot piped water, a bathtub or shower, or a
flush toilet. Over a third of houses didn’t have a flush toilet. As late as 1960, over 25% of the
houses in 16 states didn’t have complete plumbing facilities.


My allowable three sentences.
Most of these houses without flush toilets were in rural areas, especially in the south. Almost all city houses had indoor plumbing by then. (The awful looking areas in those 1880 NYC photos you posted got plumbing by about 1900). Don't have city-level data, but looking by state:

Historical Census of Housing Tables -Sewage Disposal

In 1940, in mostly urban states such as New York and Massachusetts few homes didn't have flush toilets (about 8%). Only city listed, DC, was at 5%. I suspect those were in mainly black neighborhoods.

Last edited by nei; 01-01-2013 at 06:58 PM..
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,209 posts, read 103,221,906 times
Reputation: 33257
Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
But people in major first-world cities live very healthy lives in high-density conditions. And besides, I don't think most posters have ever advocated that everyone move into extremely high-density conditions, and certainly people haven't advocated that the ideal is high-density slum conditions. (of course "extreme" is in itself a value judgement; there are lots of Americans who think that as few a 3,000 people per square mile is "high-density")

Yes, people living closer to other people is inevitably going to be mean some increased exposure and risk of disease. But people living in low-density areas have their own increased health risks. And for what it's worth, Manhattan -- the densest part of the United States -- has one of the fastest rising life expectancies (currently 82) in the country, one that is higher than the national average. Now I'm not suggesting that higher density is the REASON Manhattan is so healthy, but the high density does not seem to have hurt them.
Care to elaborate? With documentation?
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,209 posts, read 103,221,906 times
Reputation: 33257
I'd like to know what people in low density areas are more at risk for. I've had a career in public health, and I can't think of anything off the top of my head except for farm accidents, and, in the past, melanoma in farmers. Melanoma risk has been decreased by the use of cabs over the tractors and sunscreen (when you can get people to use it).

Last edited by nei; 01-01-2013 at 08:11 PM.. Reason: removed response to deleted post
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:33 PM
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
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
45,993 posts, read 42,377,410 times
Reputation: 14811
Quote:
Here's one.
Urban Density Comparisons
Now someone will say, "oh, that's just a comparison, makes no value judgements". But if you read it, higher density is clearly the preference of most posters. And then there are those who excoriate the burbs (and by extension their residents) for being LOW density. I'm not going to quote any of those; they were contentious at the time.
As someone who is one of the larger contributes to that thread, I don't think there was much density boosting going on. Sure, higher density is the preference of most of the posters on that thread (including, to a certain extent myself). So what? That wasn't the point of the thread, the point was to calculate statistics on city densities and make comparisons. Not much discussion on density preferences or "celebrating"; the main interest was urban geography.

I have criticized suburbs (and parts of cities) for being LOW density. But I don't see how it follows that it's criticism of the residents. I'm not really interested in discussing the residents, anyway and it's a bit off topic for the forum anyway.

As for being in favor of high density, yes, I do think it has its positives. To get walkable neighborhoods, good public transit, a city with more pedestrians a somewhat high density is necessary, though not the only factor. It also lends a different character, good to some, negative to others, to a place. IMO, city implies people living in close proximity to a certain extent. And as to diseases, improvements in public health and medicine have made the impact of density on public health nearly negligible. In the 1920s it wasn't, though it was far better than previous decades and improving quickly. In any case, a 1920s with modern medicine would not be particularly unhealthy.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
4,905 posts, read 7,708,877 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I don't know where you get that idea. I feel that people are entitled to their opinions, but not their facts. There are a few posters here who are always saying "I presume" or "I guess" or "My best guess is" or something like that regarding easily researched stuff.
Don't know if you were referring to me or not, but I'm certainly guilty of doing that. I was never good at doing my homework, or showing my work. I also approach these threads as if they were a discussion and not a scholarly report. If I make a claim you find partcularly disagreeable, ask me to back it up. (as I'm sure I've asked you to do in the past)
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:02 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,209 posts, read 103,221,906 times
Reputation: 33257
Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
Don't know if you were referring to me or not, but I'm certainly guilty of doing that. I was never good at doing my homework, or showing my work. I also approach these threads as if they were a discussion and not a scholarly report. If I make a claim you find partcularly disagreeable, ask me to back it up. (as I'm sure I've asked you to do in the past)
You were not one who jumped to mind right away.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:36 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,867 posts, read 10,790,105 times
Reputation: 2561
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I'd like to know what people in low density areas are more at risk for. I've had a career in public health, and I can't think of anything off the top of my head except for farm accidents, and, in the past, melanoma in farmers. Melanoma risk has been decreased by the use of cabs over the tractors and sunscreen (when you can get people to use it).

There is evidence that higher usage of walking and biking for transport is correlated with lower rates of obesity. There is also evidence that higher density is associated with more walking and biking. IIUC the evidence directly connecting density to lower obesity is weaker, in part because of the difficulty of seperating out the tendency for people with certain lifestyle preferences to locate in denser places.
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