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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 04-29-2013, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
You couldn't wait a few minutes on a message board forum filled with anonymous strangers whose conversations aren't conducted in real time and supposedly have other parts of their lives to tend to without getting a tiny bit snippy?
I appreciate you making the thread. My only criticism is that the poll's anonymous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
You should definitely try Los Angeles again--without living with friends or family in the suburban parts and driving around from one attraction to another.
South Central LA is one of the "suburban" parts of Los Angeles?

I actually spent one night in a hotel room in DTLA for a bachelor party. But my focus was obviously not on city exploration at the time. But then again, I've never stayed overnight in a very urban part of Chicago, but I was somehow able to conclude that the city was very urban. Perhaps East Coast/San Fran/European/Hong Kong urbanity bias was the issue?

Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
Also, how comfortable are you with biking in cities?
Very comfortable. But how will biking change my opinion of the built environment? I also bike in Atlanta.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
Did Shoup write you back yet?
I haven't emailed him yet.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:07 AM
 
Location: In the heights
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I appreciate you making the thread. My only criticism is that the poll's anonymous.



South Central LA is one of the "suburban" parts of Los Angeles?

I actually spent one night in a hotel room in DTLA for a bachelor party. But my focus was obviously not on city exploration at the time. But then again, I've never stayed overnight in a very urban part of Chicago, but I was somehow able to conclude that the city was very urban. Perhaps East Coast/San Fran/European/Hong Kong urbanity bias was the issue?



Very comfortable. But how will biking change my opinion of the built environment? I also bike in Atlanta.



I haven't emailed him yet.
Oh, I just modeled it after this one which also had an anonymous poll. It doesn't look like I can change it without a mod.

South Central is a pretty large area, but for the most part, yea. The vast majority of it small lot, one floor, single family homes. Moreover, there's pretty much no mixed-use areas and retail/commercial strips are generally spaced really far apart from each other so even walking from most of those SFHs to get to any sort of amenity is a chore, so the streets stay pretty empty. Wouldn't you consider the area you were in suburban? There's some possibility USC and the Expo Line together can really work to improve the northeastern part of it, but I think that's still a while away.

You can easily conclude Chicago is very urban--it is and everyone already knows it from them skyscrapers. It's common knowledge. It certainly isn't common knowledge that LA's urban or that it's vastly improved. It's fine if you have some biases, I do, too. I left LA because of probably pretty similar biases for what I prefer to live in. I just think that it gets less credit than is due, that it's done a lot of fairly major work in a short span of time, and that the perception of the city is rightly dictated by what the vast majority of the city is like but there is still a significant part of the city that is different.

Biking, if you're not riding a car, will get you a pretty good overview of the city and it'd just make the trip more pleasant/fun. It does for me, anyhow.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:10 AM
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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see

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Old 04-29-2013, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Best line from the article:

Quote:
Well, that and the star-tour vehicles that crawled past me, their passengers staring my way as if I could have been a star myself.
This is totally how my my wife and I feel when we walk our dog around Hollywood and those buses come by. Everyone stares at you hoping you are a celebrity.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,237,774 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
You can easily conclude Chicago is very urban--it is and everyone already knows it from them skyscrapers. It's common knowledge. It certainly isn't common knowledge that LA's urban or that it's vastly improved. It's fine if you have some biases, I do, too. I left LA because of probably pretty similar biases for what I prefer to live in. I just think that it gets less credit than is due, that it's done a lot of fairly major work in a short span of time, and that the perception of the city is rightly dictated by what the vast majority of the city is like but there is still a significant part of the city that is different.
I don't think it's bias at all. The blocks that are frequently cited as evidence of LA's urbanity often look similar to blocks in older cities (buildings pulled up to the street, few off-street parking spaces, streetwalls, etc.). The issue is that LA doesn't have hundreds of those blocks contiguously over several square miles. My experience is 100% consistent with this description of Los Angeles (which I have posted many times already):

Quote:
What LA lacks is the critical mass and contiguity necessary for a true urban culture to develop. Traveling from node to node (by car no less) makes the experiences in these urban pockets ephemeral at best. What's more, these nodes are more than likely linear commercial strips (i.e. Wilshire through the Miracle Mile or Pasadena's Colorado Blvd). Even if we were to connect these centers through a comprehensive rail network, the experience would be diluted by the long travel times in between.

LA needs to develop its city center. Downtown is the only place in LA where a contiguous, three-dimensional urban environment can sustain itself over several square miles. It is the only place in LA where you would be able to walk in any given direction and not experience a drop-off in action and intensity. This is the mark of pedestrian culture and it's how other cities exist.
And that's pretty much how I saw it, too.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:35 AM
 
Location: In the heights
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I don't think it's bias at all. The blocks that are frequently cited as evidence of LA's urbanity often look similar to blocks in older cities (buildings pulled up to the street, few off-street parking spaces, streetwalls, etc.). The issue is that LA doesn't have hundreds of those blocks contiguously over several square miles. My experience is 100% consistent with this description of Los Angeles (which I have posted many times already):



And that's pretty much how I saw it, too.
The good thing is Los Angeles is/has been developing its city center and has been doing so at a brisk pace. Other places such as Hollywood, Koreatown, North Hollywood (actually over the mountains in the southern stretches of the San Fernando Valley) and parts of the West Side as well as some satellite cities such as Pasadena and Long Beach have been doing the same.

I will say that parts of the city where there are tracts of single family homes are different from what you find in South Central due to having more higher density apartment complexes throughout, and more importantly, several commercial corridors and intersections which makes those areas still walkable despite having an expanse of single family homes. In those districts, you can usually choose a direction and you'll hit a commercial corridor and intersection in fairly short time. In South Central, oftentimes you'll be walking for a good while before that happens. South Central, stat-wise, can look like it's quite urban with its 700,000+ population in an area that gives a density of 14,000+ ppsm. That's a stat that's something more akin to Boston and San Francisco than anything. But if you give even a passing glance at the actual neighborhoods, it'll be obvious it's because almost the entirety of the land is given to single family homes on small lots with little in commercial areas, offices, greenspace, etc.

In the other areas I've mentioned, most SFH tracts quickly meet with high density apartment complexes which allow businesses on many commercial strips sustain themselves (and often at fairly high capacity which makes it sustainable to build multi-floor commercial developments where retail can be two or three stories). And yea, those are linear commercial strips, but when those linear commercial strips are running parallel anywhere from a couple to several blocks from each other and often intersect commercial strips running perpendicular to them, then you do end up with a 3-dimensional grid where you can walk to a lot of things.

Also, I'd disagree with the idea of concentrating on just the downtown area. The problem with LA, as cited in your quote, is its splotchiness of urban, walkable neighborhoods. I think investing heavily in downtown LA and putting such a high priority on a hub and spoke system for downtown isn't a great use of transit infrastructure and doesn't play to LA's current strengths of having those strong corridors. What would be better is to capitalize on those strengths (and to have less peak direction impact) and to put more emphasis on projects that would help that (Westside Subway extension is a good bit of that) and intersecting transit lines outside of downtown like the Crenshaw Line. Even better would be one trailing the 405. Linking the established neighborhoods and expanding the "width" of those corridors so those neighborhoods feel more contiguous and 3 dimensional makes a lot more sense to me.

Last edited by OyCrumbler; 04-29-2013 at 11:25 AM..
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
10,087 posts, read 13,110,077 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
The good thing is Los Angeles is/has been developing its city center and has been doing so at a brisk pace. Other places such as Hollywood, Koreatown, North Hollywood (actually over the mountains in the southern stretches of the San Fernando Valley) and parts of the West Side as well as some satellite cities such as Pasadena and Long Beach have been doing the same.

I will say that parts of the city where there are tracts of single family homes are different from what you find in South Central due to having more higher density apartment complexes throughout, and more importantly, several commercial corridors and intersections which makes those areas still walkable despite having an expanse of single family homes. In those districts, you can usually choose a direction and you'll hit a commercial corridor and intersection in fairly short time. In South Central, oftentimes you'll be walking for a good while before that happens. South Central, stat-wise, can look like it's quite urban with its 700,000+ population in an area that gives a density of 14,000+ ppsm. That's a stat that's something more akin to Boston and San Francisco than anything. But if you give even a passing glance at the actual neighborhoods, it'll be obvious it's because almost the entirety of the land is given to single family homes on small lots with little in commercial areas, offices, greenspace, etc.
Also an almost complete lack of parks. Hence the very low Walkscore for the vast majority of South Los Angeles despite being extremely dense.
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
Sure, it's good you posted them. It at least makes it clear that you're not talking about the same thing as the rest of us, so it doesn't make sense to really get flustered about the points other people are making since it's a very different discussion.
I asked a simple question--since when do opinion polls trump facts? That had nothing to do with the Shoup discussion and everything to with all these calls to post polls on the L.A. board. Chicago could win every poll 99% to 1%, that doesn't change the facts. If everyone thinks the Earth is flat, and it turns out to be round, are they still right because it's a majority opinion?

Nobody is getting flustered over an oft-repeated argument that completely dances around factual evidence. As I've stated countless times, "urban" can take on many forms. Holding Chicago as some sort of arbitrary standard for "urbanity" and then knocking L.A. because it doesn't look the same doesn't fly with me. L.A., for the most part, crams more people into a smaller area of land than Chicago. Given the facts, it doesn't matter if it looks different.

Last edited by RaymondChandlerLives; 04-29-2013 at 04:25 PM..
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:27 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
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RaymondChandlerLives View Post
completely dances around factual evidence. As I've stated countless times, "urban" can take on many forms. Holding Chicago as some sort of arbitrary standard for "urbanity" and then knocking L.A. because it doesn't look the same doesn't fly with me. L.A., for the most part, crams more people into a smaller area of land than Chicago. Given the facts, it doesn't matter if it looks different.
Because not everyone thinks urbanity = density and nothing else. In the core and densest parts of both metros, Chicago is roughly similar. By housing unit density (see dweebo's chart), Chicago is quite a bit higher. The largest advantage Los Angeles is its outer, less urban sections, are denser than Chicago's. Except neither of those sections are all that urban to begin with, so I don't think it helps enough for Los Angeles to be more urban than Chicago. No, I'm not saying Los Angeles = Phoenix or Portland or Los Angeles = typical suburbia; I'm saying Los Angeles isn't as urban as Chicago. All in all, for cities of somewhat similar densities, a more centralized city will feel more urban to me. Ditto with the more pedestrian oriented layout of much of Chicago (not all).
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Tokyo, Japan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
That's not the "ideal urban form" I had in mind. Doha looks similar to some parts of Israel.

Walkable Jerusalem: Density without walkability in Jerusalem -- a problem of the past, or an ongoing one?

I'd say that the "ideal urban form" most closely aligns with the principles stated here.
I suppose we see ideal urban form through different lenses.

I don't have an issue with street wall, just even with cities that have a street wall they do it through lengths, widths, and heights.
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