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Old 04-05-2013, 08:49 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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Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
To my perspective crowdedness is less important to urbanity than big, visually impressive high rises. Vertical development, even scattered, just screams urban to me, and if anything the scatteredness intensifies the urbanity, because I can see the buildings more clearly. The open space between the buildings provides a contrast that highlights just how big the buildings are, but it's not open enough to look more like a forest than an urban area. The big, wide road helps in those scenes as well. The amount of open space that marks the transition from urban to not urban will vary based on your perspective. I've just given my own.
I wondering if part of the difference in our perspective is from being used to older vs newer cities.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
I wondering if part of the difference in our perspective is from being used to older vs newer cities.
No. What he is describing is NOT urban. Buildings scattered far between do not create the sense of place and street wall that is essential for urbanity.

Urbanity has life, it pulses, it moves, it is alive.

He's describing a glorified office park setting - as dead and as lifeless as my first pet.
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Old 04-06-2013, 06:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
No. What he is describing is NOT urban. Buildings scattered far between do not create the sense of place and street wall that is essential for urbanity.

Urbanity has life, it pulses, it moves, it is alive.

He's describing a glorified office park setting - as dead and as lifeless as my first pet.
Bingo. I was thinking the same thing. Those pictures in Houston and LA do not describe urban. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of places in northern Virginia and southern Maryland outside of the immediate DC area look just like: tall office buildings scattered across a few places, but they're definitely not urban. On the contrary, DC, which was influenced by European urban design when it was being built, contains no high rise structures outside of the Washington Monument, but still feels very urban due to the build environment, narrow streets, walkability, structural density, and amount of amenities in close proximity to one another.
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:30 PM
 
Location: Laurentia
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Originally Posted by Komeht View Post
Urbanity has life, it pulses, it moves, it is alive.

He's describing a glorified office park setting - as dead and as lifeless as my first pet.
Those settings seem to "pulse" to me, though your criteria are somewhat vague. And what's so dead and lifeless about it? There's the impressive structure, there's the people walking around them, there's cars on the roads, there's trees and plants everywhere - how does that equal dead and lifeless? Those settings are urban to me, rather than an office park, but even an office park doesn't seem dead to me. I think Nei may be right with regards to newer vs. older urban forms.

And by the way, what made your first pet so dead and lifeless? I was under the impression that most pets were alive.
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:45 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
A block composed of 2-story buildings can look very urban if the streets are narrow and there isn't any yard. Similarly, a place can look very urban if there are a lot of high-rises that are more spread out than the Philadelphia rowhouses. On balance, though, I'd say that height is more important for urban feel. In cities I've gone to, I've seen stretches with high structural density that look urban, but then when I go into the downtown with the high-rises it looks more urban, often reaching a different league of urbanity. High-rise buildings just scream "urban" to me, and I can't say the same of rowhouses. There's nothing that can compare to the urban feel of being able to look up and perceive that you're in a deep urban canyon. You can't get that with 2 story or even 5 story buildings.
Let me ask, in response - would an Arcology be the height of urbanity to you?

To some, this theoretical idea is the logical conclusion of urbanism. Buildings which are miles high, where tens of thousands (or more) people live, work, and shop without ever going outside. I could see these being, within the internal context, urban spaces depending upon how they were laid out. But they also could not feel urban, and instead feel like being inside a giant shopping mall or hotel atrium. From the outside, however, they could be decidedly not urban, as you could plunk them down basically anywhere, having at an extreme farmland or wilderness surrounding them. They'd just look like a stupendously huge structure - a static monument.

And this is sort of the problem with modern high-rise buildings. As places like NYC have become more built up, people have started calling them "vertical suburbs," insofar as an all high-rise environment, just like a suburban one, ends up with relatively few people walking in the streets at any given time.
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
Those settings seem to "pulse" to me, though your criteria are somewhat vague. And what's so dead and lifeless about it? There's the impressive structure, there's the people walking around them, there's cars on the roads, there's trees and plants everywhere - how does that equal dead and lifeless? Those settings are urban to me, rather than an office park, but even an office park doesn't seem dead to me. I think Nei may be right with regards to newer vs. older urban forms.

And by the way, what made your first pet so dead and lifeless? I was under the impression that most pets were alive.
Let's start with what's missing - people. And I don't mean people in cars. If I saw a halfway decently dressed person walking on those streets you posted I'd be inclined to pull over an offer assistance. The only people who walk in such environments are the underclass. Everyone else drives, because you have to cross 3 acres just to travel from one building to the next through parking lots or along busy roads with nothing of interest.

There is nothing urban about tall buildings behind huge setbacks - it is the exact opposite of urban. Instead of being vibrant, warm, inviting, interesting, it is imposing, dull, hostile, and as dead as my Aunt Sally.

And Nei is wrong about new vs. old. There are tons and tons of new urban developments that are quite urban. You don't have to be old to be urban. It has nothing to do with age, it has everything to do with form. As a matter of fact, what you showed currently a dinosaur in terms of urban planning. In 30 years people will look at that kind of insanity, shake their heads and wonder what the hell we were thinking.

Thankfully, your style of urbanism, which isn't urban in the slightest, has to a large extent been recognized as being unsustainable and unwanted. Cities all across the US have recognized this and are making great strides to correct that madness. All we need is 50 - 100 years to wipe it off the planet for good.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Laurentia
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Let me ask, in response - would an Arcology be the height of urbanity to you?

To some, this theoretical idea is the logical conclusion of urbanism. Buildings which are miles high, where tens of thousands (or more) people live, work, and shop without ever going outside. I could see these being, within the internal context, urban spaces depending upon how they were laid out. But they also could not feel urban, and instead feel like being inside a giant shopping mall or hotel atrium. From the outside, however, they could be decidedly not urban, as you could plunk them down basically anywhere, having at an extreme farmland or wilderness surrounding them. They'd just look like a stupendously huge structure - a static monument.
The arcology is the logical end-point of the urban form and the urban high-rise, but one arcology in the middle of farmland would not be urban, just like one high-rise in the middle of farmland is not urban, and just like if you have one single-family home in the middle of Manhattan it's not suburban. If you had, say, 5 arcologies within a mile of each other it would be an urban scene.

As for Komeht, he didn't answer my question about his pet . There may be less people which makes it less lively, but urban canyons are often devoid of extensive trees and plantings, which are a blemish against their claim to liveliness. These urban forms have both plants and the tall buildings, and they do have people walking around the buildings - I have seen them in environments like this; even if it is lesser in degree than an urban canyon, due to the setbacks it's so much less obvious. After all of these factors are considered, on balance to me they look more urban. I've already explained my reasoning, and in the end it's a matter of opinion which urban characteristic is more important. It should be noted that I'm not touting this as the only form of urbanity - in my mind it's a close contest. As for Komeht's pontificating about me being on the wrong side of history, I don't like to refer to this sort of thing, but his behavior really reminds me of the Knight Templar trope. As for new vs. old, of course there are new urban developments that follow the old model, but face it: the urban canyon/rowhouse model was the only model of urban development until the late 20th century, so it's obvious that one is old and the other is new.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
The arcology is the logical end-point of the urban form and the urban high-rise, but one arcology in the middle of farmland would not be urban, just like one high-rise in the middle of farmland is not urban, and just like if you have one single-family home in the middle of Manhattan it's not suburban. If you had, say, 5 arcologies within a mile of each other it would be an urban scene.

As for Komeht, he didn't answer my question about his pet . There may be less people which makes it less lively, but urban canyons are often devoid of extensive trees and plantings, which are a blemish against their claim to liveliness. These urban forms have both plants and the tall buildings, and they do have people walking around the buildings - I have seen them in environments like this; even if it is lesser in degree than an urban canyon, due to the setbacks it's so much less obvious. After all of these factors are considered, on balance to me they look more urban. I've already explained my reasoning, and in the end it's a matter of opinion which urban characteristic is more important. It should be noted that I'm not touting this as the only form of urbanity - in my mind it's a close contest. As for Komeht's pontificating about me being on the wrong side of history, I don't like to refer to this sort of thing, but his behavior really reminds me of the Knight Templar trope. As for new vs. old, of course there are new urban developments that follow the old model, but face it: the urban canyon/rowhouse model was the only model of urban development until the late 20th century, so it's obvious that one is old and the other is new.
That is where you are dead wrong. It is not a close contest. It is no contest. The scenes you posted are not urban in any reasonable sense of the word. They are antithetical to urbanism.

You can't take a set of ingredients: building, street, parking, trees, grass, sidewalks - mix them up any which way you want to and get urbanism. Does not work like that. To create urbanity things need to come together in a specific ways - because if you don't do that - then you don't have the street life. And without street life there is no urbanism.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patricius Maximus View Post
The arcology is the logical end-point of the urban form and the urban high-rise, but one arcology in the middle of farmland would not be urban, just like one high-rise in the middle of farmland is not urban, and just like if you have one single-family home in the middle of Manhattan it's not suburban. If you had, say, 5 arcologies within a mile of each other it would be an urban scene.
I dunno. I tend to agree with Komeht (although I don't take the absolutist stance), that urbanity is pretty much defined by having a lot of bustle at "street level." For example, one could have a very mausoleum-heavy large graveyard (a necropolis) which, in terms of gross form, could look urban in terms of setbacks, landscaping, and structural density. But since it's a "city of the dead" it's not a real city at all.

The internal structure of the arcologies, as I said, could be quite urban (or not, depending upon how much urban form was utilized). But even a cluster of arcologies close together would appear much more similar to a monument than a city to an outside observer. The scale is all wrong for urbanity.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:54 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 Patricius Maximus View Post
Those settings seem to "pulse" to me, though your criteria are somewhat vague. And what's so dead and lifeless about it? There's the impressive structure, there's the people walking around them, there's cars on the roads, there's trees and plants everywhere - how does that equal dead and lifeless? Those settings are urban to me, rather than an office park, but even an office park doesn't seem dead to me. I think Nei may be right with regards to newer vs. older urban forms.
There's not that many people walking around in a place like Century City or that view of Houston. Obviously we're arguing over a different perspective, but a feel of crowdedness is important for a place to feel "urban". Full of people on the streets, often at street level full of random street level sights, many different stores or street vendors on a commercial street. Using as an example someone who doesn't care much about "urbanity", when my mom visited Chicago*, at first glance she found all the tall buildings downtown impressive, but for its size compared, to say London, it felt less "big city" than London. There wasn't the same volume of people on the street as London, and many of the buildings seemed to have relative less constant amount of storefronts — some of the buildings were blank. It still felt very urban but the somewhat less pedestrians felt like a minus, enough that it felt less urban than London even with the much more impressive buildings.

*Some may say it's an inaccurate impression, could be, as her visit was very brief, I'm just using the contrast as an example.
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