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Old 04-01-2013, 07:48 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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In my own experience, while many sunbelt cities are developing dense central business districts, and midrise areas surrounding them, the actual urban feel of such areas is often lacking. A lot of this has to do with placement of the buildings themselves. Generally speaking the mistakes of the "towers in a park" era have not been repeated, and true high rises are well-positioned on plots, but many downtowns still have too much surface parking, which really detracts from the urban feel. Mid-density areas often still have residential with parking in the front, or significant setbacks, which really detracts from urban feel as well.

In contrast, areas which are very low height can feel quite urban. Many traditional rowhouse neighborhoods in east coast cities have large swathes which are two-story flat-roof structures. Despite the overall low height, the narrow streets, zero setback, and attached housing status creates a quite urban feel. Even single-story structures can create an urban feel if properly placed (e.g., components of the French Quarter in New Orleans).

That said, I wonder if other people, particularly those who grew up in the Sun Belt, have different conceptions of urbanity? I have noticed people from the South often equate urban with big highrises, regardless of street feel.

Thoughts?

Last edited by eschaton; 04-01-2013 at 08:20 AM..
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:00 AM
 
Location: The City
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Well does this street feel urban?

Much is only 2 stories or so

Philadelphia, PA - Google Maps

To me is more of th combination of built space. Without any height it will feel less urban to me but how things face the street is at least as important
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:14 AM
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Location: Western Massachusetts
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@kidphilly

that view is definitely not 2 stories
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:18 AM
 
Location: The City
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The other direction

Philadelphia, PA - Google Maps

The next block

Philadelphia, PA - Google Maps
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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When I was thinking of low-height urban, I was thinking more of this, which happens to be the neighborhood my maternal grandmother grew up in.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:34 AM
 
Location: The City
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I was more posting these as examples of an area that on the street feels very urban and compressed, yet nearly half of the structures are only a few stories along the stretch. The street interface is most important to deliver on feel IMHO
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Kerkrade, Limburg, Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
When I was thinking of low-height urban, I was thinking more of this, which happens to be the neighborhood my maternal grandmother grew up in.
I think what you show here is the same in where I come from (South of the Netherlands), and yes I do agree it does create an urban feeling. I am writing now about how to regenerate my hometown for my thesis. My thoughts however on this type of urban feeling, is that it lacks liveliness and dynamity, something I really like in cities. Rowhouse-kind of build streets in my opinion often have this grey/boring feeling/atmosphere. Here, often those places exist because the government decide to implement the zoning of areas with specific functions, such as living/working/retail etc. Personally I think it creates boredom and its a influential factor on both the dynamity/liveliness of an area, but also on social points such as ties and relationships between populations.
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:56 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
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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.
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:05 AM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
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What are some examples of low structural density but a lot of height?
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:23 AM
 
Location: The City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munchitup View Post
What are some examples of low structural density but a lot of height?

To me this type may be the example discussed

Century City, LA, CA - Google Maps
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