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Old 01-12-2013, 11:29 AM
Location: Phoenix, AZ
1,070 posts, read 2,376,758 times
Reputation: 1421


Of course the "very fabric" of a city can change -- it just takes effort. Cities like LA and Denver are actively trying to "better" themselves (of course, "better" in terms of auto-centric vs dense development is an entirely different discussion). But what about the cities that are almost forced to change their fabric?

Look at both Cleveland and Detroit. Hit hard during the recession, both were once industrial towns. Obviously there's still industry in and around the area, but in order to not "die", the cities have had to completely change. Both now feature a more artistic culture in the downtown area. Cleveland has even been working on a BRT system.
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:34 PM
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 13,154,346 times
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Originally Posted by BIMBAM View Post
You can change it, but it takes a long time and it's as much a political question has an economic one (zoning, messaging, public consultation process etc). Vancouver was worse, but on a smaller scales, in 1980 than LA was. It's been a very difficult transformation, but it's been achieved. The result is not an old industrial east coast city or pre-industrial European capital. At the same time, it's a better, greener model for a new city than auto world. If LA endeavoured to transform, the legacy of it's past would always remain, but you'd have a new type of urban metropolis too, one that might serve mankind and America better than what there is now (not to belittle the things LA's millions have achieved in the current model, just saying there might be potential for something even better).
Actually it is and has been changing for quite some time now.
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Old 01-12-2013, 02:48 PM
Location: In a country between Canada and Mexico
39 posts, read 108,027 times
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The number one issue on to changing the Fabric of a city depends on who wants to make these changes. This is a lesson I learned when I called City Hall of Anaheim. I told them about Bicycle lanes and access to sidewalks on East Anaheim. City hall said Anaheim was planned developed long ago making cars more important that Bikes and pedestrians.

For this reason when I used to ride a bike I used to have to stay on the side walk. The lanes on the streets just go too far out such at Lincoln Avenue. And Beach is almost as fast as a Freeway itself. I think car travel about fifty miles on that street. No exaggeration. I would not dare to step in the street on Beach.

If you the citizen is interested in changing this fabric does not mean city developers are in par with your thinking.

It is possible to change the fabric but impossible if developers are not in agreement with people living in the area. You first need to convince developers to think and make these changes. If so then there is possibility. Itís just like we the people. Your voice does not change Congress very much at all. But only if you can grab their interest on an issue they will discuss.

Parts of Anaheim had made some changes. Some places are looking for upper scale in value and cost of rent it is possible to tear down a business and make it entirely a different structure altogether. On Lincoln they made some curvy sidewalks that used to be straight. The area by Disneyland has been remodeled all the way from the over pass on to Harbor and Katella.
But the traffic and driving end of that has not really changed. Only that they have resurfaced the asphalt to make it look more new and nice. To allow other ways of more public transportation would need to be a plan between Orange county cities to cross one area to another. And on the ground kind of train was to be worked of from Irvine to the going only north and south. They canít seem to hit the East and west. This because so many streets and traffic to work around. I donít know if this project ever got off the ground or has been cancelled for some reason or another. If they could go under or over the ground they could more likely reach East and west like North and south. On the ground planning to me is just more traffic they already have.
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Old 01-12-2013, 08:44 PM
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,094 posts, read 102,857,992 times
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Originally Posted by HandsUpThumbsDown View Post
What does "the very fabric" mean?
Scuse me for the hijack, everyone, I need to talk to my friend Hands here, and I'm hoping he subscribed to this thread.

Hands, did you see the game today? I was there! Despite the 5 degree weather and snow on the one hand, and the Broncos loss on the other (can't bring myself to say the Ravens won), it was a great time! I thought of you as some guy from B-more was sitting next to me.
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Old 01-12-2013, 09:01 PM
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,094 posts, read 102,857,992 times
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Originally Posted by certsevtxert View Post
depends. where are the textile factories?
Agree! "The very fabric" sounds very cliched to me. Are we talking about going from polyester to say, organic cotton?
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:15 PM
1,015 posts, read 1,546,489 times
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C'mon folks, people write about the "fabric" of the city all the time, it's a way to treat it as one thing. But say character of the city if you like that better. What I like about the term "fabric" is that it stresses that the city stretches along, that places connect to one another. But this is not a words issue.

Los Angeles does not actually give you a "pure" answer to the question. Yes, Los Angeles was remade to be auto-centric. But a lot of the old street railway based development remains, especially along the commercial boulevards. Much of the densest zone of the city--the "Wilshire-Santa Monica corridor--is not near freeways. So the task in Los Angeles is a little different--uncovering and reknitting, if you will--that old fabric. Also, Los Angeles is moderately dense, across much of the city and urbanized area. If you were asking about a place like, say, Phoenix, which was tiny before World War 2, it would be a different story.

It is starting to happen in Los Angeles, in different ways. There's the development of Downtown, there's transit-oriented development, there's the growth of biking which allows a different kind of city. But it definitely doesn't happen overnight. The built environment of a large city like Los Angeles is a huge construction, with trillions of dollars sunk into it. A good bit of that built environment can be repurposed for a different kind of city, but some of it just has to be replaced or supplanted.
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:12 AM
3,836 posts, read 4,727,727 times
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Yes - broad forces can change a city gradually over time - and in fact this is the way most cities evolve. The overall trend for the next half century at least will be towards urbanization and away from sprawl. However, that won't happen to the same degree everywhere, some areas are amazingly resistant towards urbanization right now (that may change with an oil shock - but we'll see).

It's also possible to do so through exercise of tremendous power in a short period of time. This is increasingly rare however as people with the kind of power, say Robert Moses had, simply can't exist in a modern political system.
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Old 01-16-2013, 02:38 PM
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 13,154,346 times
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Here is a good example of a very car-centric neighborhood of Los Angeles attempting to reverse this trend and become more pedestrian and transit friendly. The Warner Center is sort of a super edge city in the west San Fernando Valley and has a couple of high-rises, a lot of office space and jobs, three stops on the Orange Line BRT, massive super blocks, lots of industrial use, an embarrassing amount of parking, limited connectivity and lots of strip-mall (and regular mall) retail.

A new specific plan has been adopted for this area and it is very ambitious. They would like to create a cosmopolitan, walkable and transit-friendly sub-downtown for the San Fernando Valley. It is pretty ambitious so it will be interesting to see how it develops.

Some highlights of the plan:

  • Increases in the FAR ratio for all areas, with 5:1 being the highest in the central area and 3:1 being the lowest near residential areas.
  • 12 ft. min/max setback with an allowance for 8 extra feet in certain situations
    • 25-40 under the previous plan
  • Parking minimums as little as 0 parking spaces and maximums of 4 spaces per 1000 square feet (still a lot).
  • Minimum building height of 25 to 35 feet if adjacent to a public street
  • Ground floor retail required for projects in an activity node, on an active frontage street or a new street.
It will be interesting to see how well this gets implemented, because they certainly have a long way to go before that area is a place that is pleasant to be a pedestrian or transit user.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:34 PM
Location: Here.
13,967 posts, read 12,693,006 times
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Most people would rather drive than use public transportation. With fuel economy increasing and electric/hybrid cars becoming more common, even rising gas prices won't discourage auto use.
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