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View Poll Results: Which city is more Urban
Chicago 114 79.17%
Los Angeles 30 20.83%
Voters: 144. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-26-2013, 05:39 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prelude91 View Post
It is interesting you say this, because I would wager you are in the minority with that opinion. To me, built form is infinitely more important than population density.
I wasn't really referring to population density, more to the vibrancy on the street (i.e. lots of pedestrians and street culture) - something Dweebo mentioned in some previous posts. Los Angeles definitely doesn't have the most street culture in the country but has much more than most people realize / give it credit for. I don't know the ins and outs of Chicago's neighborhoods so I have no idea how LA compares, I would wager to guess Chicago has more. Wish there was good data on pedestrian density or something like that - everything I have seen uses different collection methods that make them hard to compare.

As far as good built form but low vibrancy, there are CBDs (and some entire downtown areas) in the United States suffer from this. But yeah generally if a place has good built form it has a much higher chance of also being vibrant.

Funny Bajan mentions Back Bay being empty - I saw a couple photos / videos of it being empty last week.
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:57 AM
 
Location: Tokyo, Japan
6,633 posts, read 8,330,102 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
How many environments can you actually think of that have the "form" but not the function?
Doha.

Built in an urban way, too bad finding pedestrians and people staying out of cars is tougher than finding a needle in a haystack. I'm going off real experience on that one.

Haven't been but have heard Dubai and Abu Dhabi are similar to that. Dubai probably a tad better than the other two though.
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:37 AM
 
Location: In the heights
22,151 posts, read 23,676,300 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaymondChandlerLives View Post
Here's one.

Los Angeles Urbanized Area (without the city of Los Angeles)
1267 sq miles
Population: 8,358,371
Density: 6,597 ppsm

Chicagoland
2442sq miles
Population: 8,608,208
Density: 3,524 ppsm

Even without its principal city, the Los Angeles UA is on a different level of density from Chicagoland (which includes Chicago in those numbers). It's almost superfluous to knock L.A.'s form in lieu of those numbers. More to come.
From my experience, a place doesn't really seem urban to me in terms of lively streets and people walking around until it hits much higher than 7k ppsm and at a much higher resolution where we are looking a blocks rather than giant chunks of land where there can be a huge amountof internal variation in terms of ground level human experience. Like when you look at Hong Kong's density overall and think it's dense but see statwise there are denser cities you might have been to and then get there on ground level and see the human tide you get envelopped in since those bigger stats hid how Hong Kong is actually developed.

I think you might be arguing something entirely different from what others are. The vast majority of the land and population falling under the urban areas you posted would by most people's standards be considered American suburbs even though some places pack suburbs closer to each other without other uses or greenspace or pack houses closer with smaller lots. This is a different argument from that munchitup and bajan are having about urbanity in terms of vibrant streetlife and mixed use development.

Last edited by OyCrumbler; 04-27-2013 at 09:21 AM..
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:27 AM
 
Location: In the heights
22,151 posts, read 23,676,300 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Code Lyoko View Post
Doha.

Built in an urban way, too bad finding pedestrians and people staying out of cars is tougher than finding a needle in a haystack. I'm going off real experience on that one.

Haven't been but have heard Dubai and Abu Dhabi are similar to that. Dubai probably a tad better than the other two though.
I'll vouch for dubai but don't know how it compares to doha. There are some nice promenades but people generally drive there. There are also a few sections of town with a bit more bustle where the migrant workers live and congregate but they dont feel very permanent and are slightly shantytownish. Also, riding a camel in a city with towering skyscrapers is awesome but doesnt seem like a very urban form of transit (though that was a special favor, and not a usual thing at all).
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:54 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
45,990 posts, read 41,989,613 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munchitup View Post
I wasn't really referring to population density, more to the vibrancy on the street (i.e. lots of pedestrians and street culture) - something Dweebo mentioned in some previous posts. Los Angeles definitely doesn't have the most street culture in the country but has much more than most people realize / give it credit for. I don't know the ins and outs of Chicago's neighborhoods so I have no idea how LA compares, I would wager to guess Chicago has more. Wish there was good data on pedestrian density or something like that - everything I have seen uses different collection methods that make them hard to compare.
I've read through some for New York City. Union Square was 150,000 pedestrians / day on a weekday:

http://unionsquarenyc.org/sites/defa...ity_Report.pdf

For downtown Chicago, this city study is extensive. The highest corner was around 32,000 pedestrians / day on a weekday. However, perhaps a small park which includes a number of streets on the edge isn't the best comparison. It also says:

There are exceptionally high levels of traffic on North Michigan Avenue, particularly on weekends. The weekend volumes on North Michigan Avenue nationally continue to rank close to the top. Only segments of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and other isolated Manhattan locations exceed the Michigan Avenue numbers.

This is something Los Angeles doesn't have.

Edit: Counting pedestrians is a niche business:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...-the-russians/

Times Square: 356,000 pedestrians / weekday
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
9,832 posts, read 7,679,999 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
From my experience, a place doesn't really seem urban to me in terms of lively streets and people walking around until it hits much higher than 7k ppsm and at a much higher resolution where we are looking a blocks rather than giant chunks of land where there can be a huge amountof internal variation in terms of ground level human experience. Like when you look at Hong Kong's density overall and think it's dense but see statwise there are denser cities you might have been to and then get there on ground level and see the human tide you get envelopped in since those bigger stats hid how Hong Kong is actually developed.

I think you might be arguing something entirely different from what others are. The vast majority of the land and population falling under the urban areas you posted would by most people's standards be considered American suburbs even though some places pack suburbs closer to each other without other uses or greenspace or pack houses closer with smaller lots. This is a different argument from that munchitup and bajan are having about urbanity in terms of vibrant streetlife and mixed use development.
I agree, 7000 ppsm isn't very urban. I just thought it was a cool little factoid to post. Here's a different one--I tabulated a bunch of L.A. satelite cities, to see if they could match the size and population of Chicago's city limits.

These were the cities used:

Long Beach
Hawthorne
Inglewood
Southgate
Santa Ana
Huntington Park
Maywood
West Hollywood
Lennox
Cudahy
Bell Gardens
East Los Angeles
Bell
El Monte
Hermosa Beach
Bellflower
La Puente
Lawndale
Alhambra
Lynwood
Baldwin Park
Rosemead
Santa Monica
Compton
Gardena
Artesia
Redondo Beach
Downey
Norwalk
Paramount

The results:

30 cities
225 sq miles
Population: 2,568,481
11,640 ppsm

Pretty cool considering L.A.'s own high density areas are mostly left out of this equation.

I abstain from the "Donald Shoup" arguments because they're tired, and have very little objectivity to them. "Urban" can take on many forms, and L.A.'s form happens to be one of them. Typically, a sunbelt city with car-centric touches in the core doesn't have census tracts in the 90k range, but L.A. does. They don't have as many people living in 20K tracts as Chicago and San Francisco combined, but L.A. does. They don't have a core that's more dense than famously walkable cities like DC and Boston, but L.A. does.

The way I see it, The Shoup Arguments arguments are a way of dancing around the numbers. Remember the good old days, when everyone thought L.A. was suburban because it was "only" 8,000ppsm? Nobody had a problem using statistics then: http://www.city-data.com/forum/21090353-post265.html
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 13,115,862 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I've read through some for New York City. Union Square was 150,000 pedestrians / day on a weekday:

http://unionsquarenyc.org/sites/defa...ity_Report.pdf

For downtown Chicago, this city study is extensive. The highest corner was around 32,000 pedestrians / day on a weekday. However, perhaps a small park which includes a number of streets on the edge isn't the best comparison. It also says:

There are exceptionally high levels of traffic on North Michigan Avenue, particularly on weekends. The weekend volumes on North Michigan Avenue nationally continue to rank close to the top. Only segments of Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and other isolated Manhattan locations exceed the Michigan Avenue numbers.

This is something Los Angeles doesn't have.

Edit: Counting pedestrians is a niche business:

Need a Crowd Count? Click, Ask the Russians - NYTimes.com

Times Square: 356,000 pedestrians / weekday
The only studies I have seen for Los Angeles are a lot more limited and involve tracking pedestrians only at rush hour times: 7-9 AM, 4-6 PM on a Tue, 11-1 PM on a Sat.

https://lacbc.files.wordpress.com/20...ountreport.pdf

It is also more interested in tracking cyclist statistics.

Would be interesting to see full day statistics for places such as 6th/Alvarado, Santee Alley, Hollywood / Highland, Wilshire / Vermont, etc. They may not reach 30k but wouldn't be surprised if they come pretty close. 7th / Alvarado and Hollywood / Highland both get 7300+ in the six hours they counted (four on one weekday, two on one weekend).

Remember that if anything, Los Angeles is at its worst a "park and walk" culture - you're kidding yourself if you think you are going to park directly in front of the place you are conducting business. Typically you are going to park a few blocks away or further and walk to the store / business / residence / etc. Those people add to the pedestrian count too. Los Angeles has really surprised me with how pedestrian-active it is.
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:46 PM
 
Location: Tokyo, Japan
6,633 posts, read 8,330,102 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
I'll vouch for dubai but don't know how it compares to doha. There are some nice promenades but people generally drive there. There are also a few sections of town with a bit more bustle where the migrant workers live and congregate but they dont feel very permanent and are slightly shantytownish. Also, riding a camel in a city with towering skyscrapers is awesome but doesnt seem like a very urban form of transit (though that was a special favor, and not a usual thing at all).
Haha, that's one hell of a commute, camels.

Doha is a gorgeously built modern city and one with so much potential, it just needs more vibrancy on the street level. Very good place to spot Lamborghini's and Ferrari's and such anywhere you go, those are easier to find than people walking around.

It's impressive how fast Doha came about though, however same could be said of Dubai and Abu Dhabi too. They're still maturing onto their own. This region (especially Qatar) has some of the world's fastest growing economies (Qatar I believe is the world's fastest) and all I can think of is in 20 years time how monstrous these three cities will become and the urban layout that they'll follow.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RaymondChandlerLives View Post
Typically, a sunbelt city with car-centric touches in the core doesn't have census tracts in the 90k range, but L.A. does.
Well typically Los Angeles is to other Spanish Belt cities as New York is to the other traditionally old cities.

There's no comparison on the density part. The gap between the density of Manhattan to San Francisco is just as immense, if not more, than the gap between Los Angeles and whatever the next Spanish Belt city.

Last edited by Trafalgar Law; 04-27-2013 at 03:00 PM..
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:23 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 13,115,862 times
Reputation: 3982
Quote:
Originally Posted by Code Lyoko View Post
Doha is a gorgeously built modern city and one with so much potential, it just needs more vibrancy on the street level. Very good place to spot Lamborghini's and Ferrari's and such anywhere you go, those are easier to find than people walking around.

It's impressive how fast Doha came about though, however same could be said of Dubai and Abu Dhabi too. They're still maturing onto their own.

Well typically Los Angeles is to other Spanish Belt cities as New York is to the other traditionally old cities.

There's no comparison on the density part. The gap between the density of Manhattan to San Francisco is just as immense, if not more, than the gap between Los Angeles and whatever the next Spanish Belt city.
Which city would that be? Miami? San Jose is the densest but it has very low peak densities. San Diego is basically LA Part II (the watered-down sequel*).

IMO Mimi is the only Sunbelt / "Spanish Belt" city outside of CA that remotely resembles Los Angeles. And even it is a long way off.

The gap in density between the Bay Area and SF is basically the same as the drop-off between NYC and LA (by weighted density, only 30 ppsm separate them).

*Watered down in terms of being urban. I think SD is a cool city.
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Old 04-27-2013, 02:31 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 13,115,862 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
But what urban environment exists that is lacking in function but has an ideal form? I suppose a decayed rust belt city area or small town might be it, but it sounds like an odd combination. As to using parking lots to cut through the block, that sounds like you have an issue of the blocks being too big.
No, that's not the problem. It's just easier to cut through.

The standard block size in Hollywood is 425' x 656' (generally, they aren't very standardized) and in Manhattan they are 263' x 883'. In East Hollywood the blocks tend to be a lot longer, closer to 1300' - but by the same token they are typically narrower, about 293'.

Here is the lot I typically cut through: http://goo.gl/maps/qBkIq
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