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Old 04-17-2013, 07:43 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Cool pictures! I note trees incorporated into these flower gardens.
These flower gardens lack street trees.
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Old 11-01-2013, 09:44 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Skimmed over a few bird's eye views of Amsterdam. There's more trees than I expected in the center city.

Bing Maps - Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions

in the canal area. A bit space limited. Further out:

Bing Maps - Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions

a bit greener. Manhattan is more concrete. More residential East Village:

Bing Maps - Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions

in a more commercial area:

Bing Maps - Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions

almost none whatsoever. Old Brooklyn neighborhoods are roughly similar in form to the second Amsterdam view:

Bing Maps - Driving Directions, Traffic and Road Conditions
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Old 11-02-2013, 11:10 AM
 
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Did someone say trees? Sacramento doesn't believe in "too many street trees," an adaptation to our blazing hot climate first introduced by early settlers, mostly from New York and the New England states, who brought Northeastern trees to replace the valley oaks cut down by enthusiastic 49ers looking for firewood. As a result, those seeking "fall color" in the Sacramento Valley visit the city, not the country, to see dramatic leaves--valley oaks just turn brown, while the more varied foliage of city trees puts on a dramatic show. Street trees make our summers more bearable--because our humidity is low, shade makes an enormous difference in perceived heat, and keeps the sidewalks from heating up.

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&l...2,1.86,,0,0.99

Boulevard Park is one of Sacramento's most identifiable neighborhoods, the first in the city designed as a complete neighborhood with landscaped medians, paved sidewalks and an overall parkway plan. It might look kind of suburban to those used to eastern cities, but by California standards (aside from San Francisco) this is pretty cheek-by-jowl--a friend visiting from San Diego asked if these houses were originally on larger lots and later houses moved in between them, and the answer is no, they were designed this way because the demand for city lots was so high. It's within walking distance of the State Capitol (and tens of thousands of office jobs) and the largest almond processing plant in the world.

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&l...103.15,,0,8.39

Poverty Ridge is the tallest hill in Sacramento's old city, and another great place in the urban forest, with lots of dramatic street trees and residential architecture. There are also a lot of apartments mixed into the single-family homes here, creating a surprising amount of residential density. Most of the house setbacks are 10-15 feet from the sidewalk, but the homes are elevated to give them a bit more privacy and a sense of monumentality. For those wishing more privacy, there are curtains.

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&l...259.98,,0,3.86

And it's not just all about single-family neighborhoods or even residential neighborhoods. This view is taken one block from Interstate 5, the building on the left shrouded in ivy is a state office building. What looks like a small redwood forest on the corner is a band of trees around a multi-level condominium complex. To the right is the Crocker Art Museum and Crocker Park, a downtown city park.
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Old 11-02-2013, 03:18 PM
 
Location: Fort Collins, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Did someone say trees? Sacramento doesn't believe in "too many street trees," an adaptation to our blazing hot climate first introduced by early settlers, mostly from New York and the New England states, who brought Northeastern trees to replace the valley oaks cut down by enthusiastic 49ers looking for firewood. As a result, those seeking "fall color" in the Sacramento Valley visit the city, not the country, to see dramatic leaves--valley oaks just turn brown, while the more varied foliage of city trees puts on a dramatic show. Street trees make our summers more bearable--because our humidity is low, shade makes an enormous difference in perceived heat, and keeps the sidewalks from heating up.

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&l...2,1.86,,0,0.99

Boulevard Park is one of Sacramento's most identifiable neighborhoods, the first in the city designed as a complete neighborhood with landscaped medians, paved sidewalks and an overall parkway plan. It might look kind of suburban to those used to eastern cities, but by California standards (aside from San Francisco) this is pretty cheek-by-jowl--a friend visiting from San Diego asked if these houses were originally on larger lots and later houses moved in between them, and the answer is no, they were designed this way because the demand for city lots was so high. It's within walking distance of the State Capitol (and tens of thousands of office jobs) and the largest almond processing plant in the world.

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&l...103.15,,0,8.39

Poverty Ridge is the tallest hill in Sacramento's old city, and another great place in the urban forest, with lots of dramatic street trees and residential architecture. There are also a lot of apartments mixed into the single-family homes here, creating a surprising amount of residential density. Most of the house setbacks are 10-15 feet from the sidewalk, but the homes are elevated to give them a bit more privacy and a sense of monumentality. For those wishing more privacy, there are curtains.

https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&l...259.98,,0,3.86

And it's not just all about single-family neighborhoods or even residential neighborhoods. This view is taken one block from Interstate 5, the building on the left shrouded in ivy is a state office building. What looks like a small redwood forest on the corner is a band of trees around a multi-level condominium complex. To the right is the Crocker Art Museum and Crocker Park, a downtown city park.
I like Sacramento, but I've always felt that it didn't look very much like California. I wonder why the people who intitally designed the urban forest didn't use more subtropcal trees. The first picture has a palm tree but that's it (in your examples). Fall foliage is nice for about a month but then you've got several months (a lot more where I live) with bare trees. Seems to me that if you are living in a place where so many broadleafed evergreens can thrive, you'd want to maximize their use. And the houses above look very eastern (US that is) as well.
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Old 11-02-2013, 03:28 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by xeric View Post
I like Sacramento, but I've always felt that it didn't look very much like California. I wonder why the people who intitally designed the urban forest didn't use more subtropcal trees. The first picture has a palm tree but that's it (in your examples). Fall foliage is nice for about a month but then you've got several months (a lot more where I live) with bare trees. Seems to me that if you are living in a place where so many broadleafed evergreens can thrive, you'd want to maximize their use. And the houses above look very eastern (US that is) as well.
Though shade isn't that needed in the winter months, so it's not a big issue. As to the bolded: what's wrong with that?
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Old 11-02-2013, 05:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xeric View Post
I like Sacramento, but I've always felt that it didn't look very much like California. I wonder why the people who intitally designed the urban forest didn't use more subtropcal trees. The first picture has a palm tree but that's it (in your examples). Fall foliage is nice for about a month but then you've got several months (a lot more where I live) with bare trees. Seems to me that if you are living in a place where so many broadleafed evergreens can thrive, you'd want to maximize their use. And the houses above look very eastern (US that is) as well.
Sacramento isn't a subtropical climate--it's a temperate Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and cool, rainy winters. As nei points out, deciduous trees are perfect because they shed leaves in the winter, allowing the sunlight to warm the houses on winter days, but in summer the leaves provide shade, allowing climate control. One side effect is that, while no Sacramentan ever has to shovel snow off their driveway, raking leaves is an annual ordeal, and instead of snowplows we have trash trucks followed by "the claw," a mechanical scooper to pick up the giant piles of leaves in fall, although as a cost-saving measure it is only used a couple months a year with yard-waste containers the rest of the time (although they are barely adequate for the supply of leaves we put out.)

Palms are decorative but they're just about worthless for shade. And, as I mentioned above, shade is absolutely critical in Sacramento. 100 degrees on a concrete sidewalk in direct sunlight pretty much sucks, even with low humidity, but trees provide covering shade and cool the air around them, combined with the Delta breeze it's much more comfortable. In many places in our older residential neighborhoods and some business corridors, even the middle of the street is shaded by the tree canopy.

The "eastern" look of the houses, once again, comes from the "eastern" origin of many of our immigrants, both from the eastern United States, and from Asia (Sacramento has long-standing Japanese and Chinese populations.) Unlike East Coast row houses of dark brick or stone with shared walls to conserve heat, our row houses are wooden, separated by a few feet, allowing better ventilation and placement of yard/street trees to shade the homes, but still using narrow lots and short setbacks to make a streetscape that is dense and walkable but still genteel and human-scaled. Many Northern California architects were originally trained in Chicago, so there is some continuity of style while materials differ. One difference is that the "Prairie" style of the Midwest is seen less often--the "Craftsman" style is the West Coast interpretation of the same period, with some deliberate touches taken from Japanese architecture, including landscape design. Many people say that Sacramento has a more Midwestern character, like other Valley cities, due to being surrounded by an extraordinarily productive agricultural region (at least the bits we haven't turned into suburbs yet.) The first photo was an area "redeveloped" from a racetrack into a new neighborhood in 1905, 50 or so years after the first generation of East Coast arborists started planting elms and maples and London plane. By the early 1900s, palms had been established as a "Californian" stereotypical tree so they came into use as decorative trees, but streets with palms along the sidewalks are less comfortable than those that produce more shade.

Part of why Sacramento may not look stereotypically "Californian" is because most people's image of California was forged by southern California, specifically Los Angeles. While northern California was populated by Easterners (both the Yankee and Asian kind), southern California was populated by Southerners--both the Dixie kind and the "south of the border" kind (seeing as California was originally part of Mexico, the population center before the Gold Rush, and a significant source of California's population and culture since then.) It's a different climate, sunny but not as hot, so shade isn't as critical and subtropical plants like palms and cacti more appropriate. While you can find plenty of Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival in northern California, the style was popularized in southern California and came to its full flower there, from private homes and office buildings to train stations and churches, along with its more obscure variants like Aztec and Mayan Revival.

It should also be noted that these "two Californias" are geographically very separate from each other--the trip from Sacramento or San Francisco to Los Angeles is as distant as a trip from Boston or New York to Raleigh, North Carolina or Pittsburgh, PA. California is a really, really, really big state, and as a result, there are several "Californias" with very different climates, geographies, cultures, and even architecture.
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Old 11-02-2013, 06:05 PM
 
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A lot of SoCal towns were founded by Midwesterners. Pasadena, Glendale...in fact, there were some interesting tensions involving the staid founders of Hollywood in the early 1900s when it started turning into "Hollywood." There's a reason much of the housing stock passes for other parts of the country in films and television, particularly Pasadena where a lot of filming takes place. (They have to film around the palm trees.)

There were also various agricultural booms that brought people with a taste for Victorians with their new prosperity, most prevalent on Bunker Hill before redevelopment, still in Angelino Heights, and everywhere else, really. There are actually tons of Victorians in the Inland Empire from the citrus industry history.

For current tree coverage, I wish there were more attention to native deciduous trees rather than palms. Oaks, sycamore, even maples. The most common thriving tree you see is the non-native eucalyptus, which are horrible for simple shade. My sister's street is lined with pretty massive 100' yew trees and they're nicely evergreen with little mess. Pepper trees grow well, pretty much wild. Jacaranda are beautiful but they're way overplanted and those purple flowers make a mess!
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:06 PM
 
Location: Fort Collins, USA
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Interesting responses. Regarding climates. I consider Mediterranian to be a subset of subtropical (not a different category). A subtropical climate has winter frosts but they are short-lived and far less of a limitation on plant life than the persistent frosts of temperate zone winters. There are many, many, broadleafed evergreens that have a large shade canopy that could be used in place of the New England tree species in Sacramento. Potential sources for those trees are California, New Zealand, the southern U.S., Australia, southern China, southern Japan, and the Mediterranean itself. Their lack of use in Sacramento strikes me more as evidence of lack of imagination and of habit then of any sort of practicality.

Yes there are multiple "Californias" but Sacramento is far closer (by most measures) to it's in-state neighbors than it is to most other regions of the country. Considering that the majority of the country is emulating the eastern U.S. in look and feel, it doesn't seem unreasonable to expect (and enjoy) some variation (and an expanded landscaping pallet) in an area that doesn't suffer from the climatic limitations of the northern, central, and interior U.S.
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:18 PM
 
Location: Fort Collins, USA
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
Though shade isn't that needed in the winter months, so it's not a big issue. As to the bolded: what's wrong with that?
They should truck in some snow from the Sierra to go along with those New England houses.
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Old 11-02-2013, 10:46 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
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xeric View Post
They should truck in some snow from the Sierra to go along with those New England houses.
To be nitpicky, many of those houses don't look particularly New England-style. The trees also looks like different species than northeastern trees.
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