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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 04-27-2013, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Tokyo, Japan
6,633 posts, read 8,324,180 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munchitup View Post
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.
San Diego is more than just a cool city, it's a very ideal city for those seeking all the essential qualities an American city should possess: clean, presentable, for America on the safe side, decent public school systems, educated populace, a hand in biotechnology, medicine, defense, and education, fair route on diversity and infrastructure, and a stellar climate and topography. Only downside to it is that it doesn't realize it's potential and can go more on the less vibrant side of things but it's a city with an ideal scenario should it choose to improve upon it. If they started in the 1930's with aggressive planning and forethought they could have built a Barcelona lite but instead they went with a Split (Croatia) lite.

Probably San Jose. Let's keep it 100, Miami and San Jose's downtowns are probably similarly active and all the vibrancy in Miami is across the Biscayne in another city with Miami Beach. In a development sense, San Jose is far closer to Los Angeles in most ways than is Miami.

Also, I'm not sure what the argument is at this point in the thread for the two cities being compared but I'm always astonished by the way people love to tier up Los Angeles with cities that are bite size to them like Boston, Washington, and Philadelphia on urbanity. Los Angeles, ideally should only be playing in conversations with New York and possibly Chicago. The city up and the city down from it and the cities "relatively" closest to it's size range.

I find this fascinating because in my mind, it's like putting a Tokyo up against a Buenos Aires. Just two very, very incomparable size leagues. Both urban but in clearly separate weight classes.

Last edited by Trafalgar Law; 04-27-2013 at 03:00 PM..
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Old 04-27-2013, 03:26 PM
 
940 posts, read 1,738,461 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.
I think it's hard to get at what Munch is talking about when we use superlatives ("ideal urban form") and try to find a place that is lacking in function. Obviously most places with ideal urban form tend to have some street activity/etc (btw I'm still not sure that "function" is the right word, maybe something like activity? That's too limited, though.. "function" just has too much connotation with design and ability to perform, regardless of the performance.. maybe that's it: "performance"? Nah...).

It makes much more sense when you compare a place like central Portland with a place like Downtown LA/MacArthur Park/Koreatown. Downtown Portland and its adjoining neighborhoods has much "better" and more consistent urban form. In pictures it often looks like a much more "urban" place. Obviously, the level of intensity of activity in each place is completely different. Los Angeles's core has magnitudes greater population density, as well as higher street activity, business activity, etc. I think the average American would consider Downtown LA and environs more "urban" than downtown Portland. I know this isn't a "fair" comparison, given the incredible size and density differences between LA and Portland, but I think it starts to illustrate the concept Munch is trying to explore.

Also, within a given metro area its easier to think about this question--for example, there are parts of Beverly Hills or Miracle Mile or Santa Monica that have great urban form and yet feel much less "urban" than say, parts of Boyle Heights where the built form would be considered more "suburban."
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Old 04-27-2013, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 13,110,077 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dweebo2220 View Post
I think it's hard to get at what Munch is talking about when we use superlatives ("ideal urban form") and try to find a place that is lacking in function. Obviously most places with ideal urban form tend to have some street activity/etc (btw I'm still not sure that "function" is the right word, maybe something like activity? That's too limited, though.. "function" just has too much connotation with design and ability to perform, regardless of the performance.. maybe that's it: "performance"? Nah...).

It makes much more sense when you compare a place like central Portland with a place like Downtown LA/MacArthur Park/Koreatown. Downtown Portland and its adjoining neighborhoods has much "better" and more consistent urban form. In pictures it often looks like a much more "urban" place. Obviously, the level of intensity of activity in each place is completely different. Los Angeles's core has magnitudes greater population density, as well as higher street activity, business activity, etc. I think the average American would consider Downtown LA and environs more "urban" than downtown Portland. I know this isn't a "fair" comparison, given the incredible size and density differences between LA and Portland, but I think it starts to illustrate the concept Munch is trying to explore.

Also, within a given metro area its easier to think about this question--for example, there are parts of Beverly Hills or Miracle Mile or Santa Monica that have great urban form and yet feel much less "urban" than say, parts of Boyle Heights where the built form would be considered more "suburban."
This is a good way to examine it - comparing areas within Metro Los Angeles.
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Old 04-27-2013, 05:57 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
9,832 posts, read 7,676,316 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Code Lyoko View Post
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.

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.
I agree, in terms of density, that's a good way of putting it. The differences is most people can quickly tell that NYC is a whole different ballgame from Boston. They don't see the difference between L.A. and sunbelts like Phoenix/Dallas quite as easily. Just the other day a poster said Phoenix was like L.A. without an ocean. In contrast, I've never seen anyone say that Baltimore is "NYC without islands".
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Old 04-27-2013, 07:56 PM
 
7,238 posts, read 10,896,252 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Some_Random_Guy View Post
Obviously Chicago, in fact, you would be hard pressed to find a more 'urban' city anywhere in the world.
Obviously you haven't been to Europe, China or Japan.
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:03 PM
 
Location: In the heights
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 313Weather View Post
Obviously you haven't been to Europe, China or Japan.
Large chunks of Latin America, too.
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Old 04-27-2013, 11:07 PM
 
Location: In the heights
22,142 posts, read 23,662,647 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaymondChandlerLives View Post
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
I don't know how much those stats help in the sort of argument munch and bajan are having due to the fairly low resolution. Talking about density and then spreading it out over 225 square miles doesn't really tell us very much. About a fifth or maybe slightly less of the municipalities you listed have some good chunks of urban environment with vibrant street life. And even though I think that sort of list isn't very helpful for the discussion on hand, I'm surprised that Pasadena is being left out.
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Old 04-28-2013, 12:27 AM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
9,832 posts, read 7,676,316 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
I don't know how much those stats help in the sort of argument munch and bajan are having due to the fairly low resolution. Talking about density and then spreading it out over 225 square miles doesn't really tell us very much. About a fifth or maybe slightly less of the municipalities you listed have some good chunks of urban environment with vibrant street life. And even though I think that sort of list isn't very helpful for the discussion on hand, I'm surprised that Pasadena is being left out.
It is when trying to determine which metro is more urban, which is part of the thread topic. Wasn't really looking for vibrant street life (city-data speak for "people walking"), or else I would have included Pasadena and Glendale. I just wanted to give posters an idea of the density of the city--how it breaks all the rules of the city-suburb dynamic.

The "vibrant streets/google streetviews/Shoup Is God" discussion? Beaten to death. I'd like to look at some numbers for a change.
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Old 04-28-2013, 09:57 AM
 
Location: In the heights
22,142 posts, read 23,662,647 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaymondChandlerLives View Post
It is when trying to determine which metro is more urban, which is part of the thread topic. Wasn't really looking for vibrant street life (city-data speak for "people walking"), or else I would have included Pasadena and Glendale. I just wanted to give posters an idea of the density of the city--how it breaks all the rules of the city-suburb dynamic.

The "vibrant streets/google streetviews/Shoup Is God" discussion? Beaten to death. I'd like to look at some numbers for a change.
Well it seems like you are having a separate argument and it doesn't make any sense to be arguing when it's not even the same thing that is being argued. No one will disagree that LA packs its suburbs more tightly.
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Old 04-28-2013, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,242,183 times
Reputation: 11726
Quote:
Originally Posted by RaymondChandlerLives View Post
I abstain from the "Donald Shoup" arguments because they're tired
No, you don't like hearing about Donald Shoup simply because you don't like what he says.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RaymondChandlerLives View Post
Shoup Arguments arguments are a way of dancing around the numbers.
Then again, I encourage you to start the same thread in the LA forum comparing LA and Chicago. Let's see them "dance around the numbers" too. I've made this recommendation at least a half dozen times. Why not do that to truly see if East Coast bias is at work here?
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