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Old 01-15-2013, 10:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
So do political jurisdictions mean anything, or can a suburb be a residential area within the main city, or anything else the poster wants it to be at that point in time? We have people claiming there can be suburbs within the city limits of a large city.
Political jurisdictions matter, because they can make different kinds of decisions about their built environment--in fact it's the main thing they can control. But what of the Northwest San Fernando Valley, within the borders of the city of Los Angeles? The dominant housing type is single family homes on medium sized lots (maybe 7,000 square feet? That's what they are in San Jose, another example). How should we think of an area like that?
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:32 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlite View Post
Political jurisdictions matter, because they can make different kinds of decisions about their built environment--in fact it's the main thing they can control. But what of the Northwest San Fernando Valley, within the borders of the city of Los Angeles? The dominant housing type is single family homes on medium sized lots (maybe 7,000 square feet? That's what they are in San Jose, another example). How should we think of an area like that?
If it is within the borders of the city of LA, it is the city, IMO. Where do the kids go to school? LA Unified, right? What police force do you call when there has been a crime. LA, correct? Western cities are newer; they aren't going to look exactly like the old eastern and midwestern cities.

Single family houses are seen in every city, often in the more affluent parts of eastern cities. Chicago has rows and rows of bungalow homes. A 7000 sf lot is good size, but not huge. A lot of homes in the eastern suburbs are built on far larger lots. The burb of Albany, NY where we lived had a minimum lot size of 20,000 sf, about 1/2 acre, and many were far larger.
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:55 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
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
If it is within the borders of the city of LA, it is the city, IMO. Where do the kids go to school? LA Unified, right? What police force do you call when there has been a crime. LA, correct? Western cities are newer; they aren't going to look exactly like the old eastern and midwestern cities.
Well, yes it is in the city of Los Angeles. But the development of the San Fernando Valley is different than some other parts of the city. Referring to the whole city as the same is silly. Many of the discussions on the forum are on development styles, not just political boundaries. Grouping places into city and not-city is just simplistic and not all that helpful.

As to having suburban neighborhoods in the city (no, I'm not saying suburbs in the city) most people in this thread managed to figure out what the idea meant without too much confusion:

Most suburban neighborhoods within city limits

though, some of the answers were rather absurd IMO.

Quote:
Single family houses are seen in every city, often in the more affluent parts of eastern cities. Chicago has rows and rows of bungalow homes.
Single family homes are 25% of Chicago's housing units. A 7000 sq ft lot is indistinguishable from many newer suburban areas

Last edited by nei; 01-15-2013 at 11:04 PM..
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Old 01-15-2013, 11:03 PM
 
Location: Southern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ciceropolo View Post
I think Ohiogrl81 hit on the most salient points: Here's my attempt at a summary

Urban vs Suburban is in most people's perception encompassed by the following variables:
Built Environment: Size (geographic /population), Density, Gravity of built environment to a defined CBD, political boundaries of one form or another, and geographic-centric barriers.

Satellite cities: these I would characterize as a separate city at one time (usually pre 1930/ WW2) which then, due to growth patterns is either absorbed or woven / knitted into the larger metro whole, by most often suburban development patterns. These types of 'cities' are often characterized by a dominant employment center [say, one time industry specific, institutional specific (university, hospital, prison system), trade / commerce crossroads specific from the pre-auto dominant development era]

Nodal employment centers: these are suburban by nature, but dominated by the development along highways. These mostly developed from late 60's-70's to the present, primarily due to highway access constructed in outer beltways of major metro areas. Or in smaller metro area along a new hwy bypass route to expedite traffic through a formerly small/mid size city. I think more developers are attempting to give these 'pedestrian' qualities but the auto driven elements still define them. Seem to be characterized by the look of arrangements of metal / glass cacti and brush along a concrete desert. Lack density due to land price / construction cost / zoning regulations.

In large metropolitan areas one can usually visually differentiate a built environment suburban 'feel' or perception due to geographic barriers but it is no guarantee. The political jurisdiction boundaries, due to say county seats (or adjacent states) with the accompanying service structure can be an invisible dividing line. Finally, when the agglomeration of development overtakes the whole region you will find the multi node larger cities referenced as CMSAs: SFO- Oak - San Jose, Seattle - Tacoma, Chicago - Aurora - Gary, Dallas - Ft Worth, Phoenix - Tempe - Mesa etc...

So, to the original question, what is a suburb - is truly subjective in relation to built environment but in general has a satellite economic relationship with the larger metro dominant Central Business District. It can have characteristics of a Satellite older city which has since been absorbed or a one generation removed 'nodal employment center', often with the common development patterns most associate with suburbs mid / low height commercial, large ubiqiutous tracts of residential sameness (boxes little boxes) by a large scale developer sometime post WW2. It's primarily defined as an employment and economic activity gravity model.

Note, the most difficult to delineate urban / suburban fabric are those with components of built environment constructed predominantly within the last 50 years (all auto centric): Phoenix - Tempe - Mesa, being an example. It just seems to go on forever with same pattern.
Agree with this summary.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:39 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Well, yes it is in the city of Los Angeles. But the development of the San Fernando Valley is different than some other parts of the city. Referring to the whole city as the same is silly. Many of the discussions on the forum are on development styles, not just political boundaries. Grouping places into city and not-city is just simplistic and not all that helpful.

As to having suburban neighborhoods in the city (no, I'm not saying suburbs in the city) most people in this thread managed to figure out what the idea meant without too much confusion:

Most suburban neighborhoods within city limits

though, some of the answers were rather absurd IMO.



Single family homes are 25% of Chicago's housing units. A 7000 sq ft lot is indistinguishable from many newer suburban areas
Well, a while back people were insisting that the typical suburban lot was 1/4 acre, in other words, about 11,000 sq. ft. I agree that is not the reality here in Denver, or, from what I've seen, in many parts of the west, but it seems common "back east" for suburban lots to be quite large. I would add, 25% of Chicago's housing is housing for a LOT of people, about 674,000 to be exact.

When people discuss, "what makes people leave the city for the suburbs?" what is one of the prime answers? The schools. In fact, I was reading one of these Urban Planning blogs and some dipstick urban planner said (as some have said on this board) that he didn't think schools were an important concern in urban planning until, ta da, HIS kids started school. Now I would not say all cities have bad schools, nor would I say that all schools are bad in certain cities, but ones' kids' eduction is important and the suburban schools do have better track records, in general. (Have I nuanced that enough that someone isn't salivating over their keyboard to prove me wrong?) There are a few places with county-wide districts or city/county districts, but for the most part, city schools are separate from the suburban districts. In states w/o inter-district open enrollment, this is a problem. If you're inside the city, you go to the city schools. Even with OE, there's no guarantee you will be accepted, and most districts give out of district students the lowest priority.

Last edited by Katarina Witt; 01-16-2013 at 08:17 AM..
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
you don't know what urban means?

walkable. mixed-use. transit, bike, pedestrian-friendly. not autocentric.
Wow. I guess the North Philly neighborhood I work in must not be urban, because transit is limited, there's nowhere to walk to except to another 19th century factory or hospital building that's been inadequately rehabbed into office space, and I'd rather die than try to cross the six-lane street out front.



And of course if the area weren't autocentric (whatever that means), there wouldn't be that big-ass parking lot outside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
suburbs are walkable and mixed-use? they are not autocentric?
what planet are you on exactly? I don't think I've heard of it before.
My planet contains, within a four-block radius connected by sidewalks, crosswalks and walk/don't walk signals, the following:
middle school
2 convenience stores
drug store
donut shop
thrift store
barber shop
produce/deli market
dollar store
barbecue restaurant
dry cleaners
diner
zoo
historical museum
laundromat
beer distributor
Mexican grocery store
ice cream stand
nail salon
bar/restaurant
2 dentist offices
tailor
sign shop

Granted, my planet is an older town ... but not all suburbs are created equal.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:37 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Yes, I disagreed it as well, mostly for being too simplistic. A common agreement is impossible, as we've seen on many threads.



I realize that. I said as much here:

Urban vs. suburban vs. rural and what is considered inner city?

but if you're interested in changes in development, it makes more sense to talk about where development patterns changes rather than where the political boundaries are.
Development patterns frequently change with the political boundaries.

You know, I'd like to bring up something else about this "definition" thing. I work in a profession where words have meaning. "Epidemic" has a specific meaning in health care. A threshold has to be crossed. That's why I cringe at the term "obesity epidemic" that has become so popular lately. I don't know if a threshold has even been established. "Epidemic" also means "outbreak" as opposed to "endemic" which means always present. "Lethargic" is another word laypeople, particularly parents, use that makes health professionals cringe. Just a couple of examples. I think that's what bothers me about this "suburb" issue. There needs to be a definition that most of us can agree on. We can't talk about suburbs without this. Just look at this thread.

I'll add to what Ohiogirl81 said about her planet. On my planet, within a mile, connected by sidewalks, some walking/bike paths and stoplights, are:

A Mormon church
A Baptist church
An elementary school
Five parks, including two fairly large ones, one with that allows non-motorized boating and fishing
A shopping center with:
*Bank
*pizza parlor
*sports bar
*second hand shop
*Walgreen's drug store
*Sewing machine repair shop
*Laundromat
*Liquor store
*Dry cleaner
And coming soon, natural foods grocery store, apartments with retail. (I'm hoping for a coffee shop and/or nail salon)

There is a bus stop within 1/4 mile of my house.

YMMV re: "suburbs".
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Texas
43,547 posts, read 52,637,306 times
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I live in what people refer to as a suburb, which is a city (in a different county) of 300,000 people, several corporate headquarters (national and international - people commute to this 'suburb'), 3 major hospitals and secondary/tertiary referral centers...so in my mind, I don't live in a suburb, but since there is a bigger city nearby, that's what everyone calls it.

*shrug*
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:54 AM
 
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Folks, this isn't an either/or. You can define suburban/urban by jurisdictional boundaries. For some purposes--e.g. what school district am I in--this makes sense.

Or you can define suburban/urban by what is this place like. Is it higher density, with most housing in the form of multi-family buildings and attached houses? Or is it lower density, known to most people off this list as suburban, with most housing in the form of single family detached houses.

In metro LA, besides the suburban form areas of the San Fernando Valley, there are high density areas outside the city of Los Angeles. The city of West Hollywood, in fact, is more than twice as dense as the city of Los Angeles. Single family detached houses are very small percentage of West Hollywood's housing stock--it's mostly apartments (some highrise, mostly low rise). In LA it would sound pretty silly to say Northridge (in the Valley) is urban because it's in the city of LA but West Hollywood (because it's a separate jurisdiction) is not.

I believe that the central city/other jurisdiction, urban in form/suburban in form distinctions line up more clearly in the eastern part of the country than in California.

What I don't quite get is the dogmatism around this, why is it a bad thing if people refer to areas within a central city as suburban?
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Texas
43,547 posts, read 52,637,306 times
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Because when it is its own city with its own government, school districts, economy, etc, referring to it as a suburb seems to usurp its identity.
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