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Old 04-01-2013, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
I'd prefer to have taller buildings and more open space than shorter sprawl, especially if it's sprawl with no vegetation to interrupt its ugliness.
I never said that was an attractive street. Parts of Philly don't like street trees for largely cultural reasons (it's been generations since they've been exposed to greenery). Some gentrification could easily take care of the streetscape though.

It's clearly not sprawl, however. well over half the land area is covered by buildings!

Quote:
Originally Posted by munchitup View Post
What are some examples of low structural density but a lot of height?
Ugly example: Co-op City.

Attractive example: Parkchester.
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Limbo
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I prefer a structural density. Tall buildings in the middle of a parking lot doesn't have an inviting atmosphere.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:08 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
But the structural density, if you calculated a FAR ratio over the land, is the same or higher than "traditional" urban development. Parkchester has a higher residential density than its surroundings, around a 100k/ square mile. It also looks almost identical to the city public housing projects, but with better landscaping:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=East+...,0,-13.76&z=16
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
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We have something similar to that in Los Angeles called Park La Brea. San Francisco has one too by the same developer called Parkmerced. They look to be practically carbon copies of each other. The two census tracts that are wholly in Park La Brea are 37k and 55k ppsm. Parkmerced is slightly lower at 20k and 26k ppsm.

Either way I prefer typical gridded neighborhoods to these semi "tower in the park" developments. The neighborhoods directly west across Fairfax are tightly developed SFH that have a density of around 10k and is completely surrounded by commercial thoroughfares, no more than ~2500 feet in any direction. I think I prefer that to the development model of Park La Brea.

I prefer both over the development model of Century City, which may be so car-centric that it can never be reclaimed as a pedestrian-friendly area.
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:01 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munchitup View Post
What are some examples of low structural density but a lot of height?
How about Atlantic City?
http://njmonthly.com/downloads/3523/...ty_Skyline.jpg
There may be more technical density here than in many cities, but the height is all stretched out along one line on the beach.
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:32 PM
 
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I think structural density is more important for creating that consistent urban feel than height. DC is a perfect example:


https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Ford&...2,2.32,,0,4.83


2012 05 30 - 4736 - DC - 1300 Block U St NW | Flickr - Photo Sharing!


All structural density and only low/mid-rise buildings.

There are taller buildings around the city in VA and MD, but there's not a lot of structural density around those taller buildings especially once you're 5-10 miles out despite the population density.





Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post



Ugly example: Co-op City.
Aren't those towers featured on GTA IV? The place where that guy lives who'll call you on his cell phone crying in the shower? lol
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:41 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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I see Co-Op City every time driving from New England to Long Island or NYC. And earlier, every time driving from Long Island to upstate NY. They're definitely an impressive way to mark the city border. Exiting the burbs and entering the city limits in Queens on the highway I get to see these:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=North...11.13,,0,-4.81

they don't really urban at street level. But from the distance both these give off a feel of urban more than a stretch of row houses.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:10 PM
 
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Most of Baltimore, NYC, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. are areas with buildings that are not particularly high but with high structural density. They definitely feel urban. Places like Century City with "towers in a park" don't really feel suburban to me, but they're definitely a different form than the unrelieved brick-and-concrete urbanism of many Northeastern cities.
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:45 PM
 
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A consistent woven Structural Density is more 'urban' in feel than just 'height'. Good examples would be historic cities in Europe in which whole districts are probably 80-90 mid rise but mixed use. Lively due to all life activities being conducted within the fabric. Most euro cities I've been to also have a 'newer' area with high rises but rarely do the high rises dominate the fabric nor is the area nearby decimated for automobile accommodation in large scale as many (unfortunately) US cities have been.

nybbler mentioned excellent examples of the few USA cities that give the feeling due to large swaths of build environment 'structural density' consistency. It generally is older USA cities. I have not seen any recent USA cities that seem to give the same 'feel' as the older cities and I think it is due to exterior building envelopes of various better quality types combined with smaller street grids - block patterns with a nice weave much like a quality woven cloth.

Newer 'urban' attempts with cheaper mass produced construction techniques of 'new urbanist' designs in some cities just don't have the character - due to it being often like a large 'swatch' by same developer - that these older cities neighborhoods of east coast seem to display. Perhaps it is just the aging process itself as the built environment starts dictating subtle cues of outdoor organic growth to weave itself into over time.
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:54 PM
 
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Yup. I see this a LOT around here. The buildings going up in the last decade are better (not brilliant) but much better than the disaster of the previous 50 years. But there are SOOO many surface parking garages that there are only a few cohesive pockets. An observant person would notice in about 15 minutes exactly what is happening. You get a little pocket of urbanity maybe for a block or two, then a surface parking lot - and it just kills everything. No one walks to the next block even though there may be a few things of interest because no one will cross the parking lot willingly.

This cannot be stressed enough and it is something NIMBY's especially don't get. Urbanity needs to be contiguous to be successful. One dead block will absolutely kill a street unless there is something extraordinary on the other side (extremely rare).

NIMBY's often think a compromise is "we'll let you build on this block, but you can't touch the next block". That kind of compromise kills cities. There is no point in it. For cities to be successful you must have continuous activity and interest that keeps drawing people down the next block. A dead zone, whether it is a parking lot, a dangerous housing project, or featureless wall or some other kind of blight has far reaching effects.
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