U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 05-09-2013, 06:32 PM
 
940 posts, read 1,737,513 times
Reputation: 732

Advertisements

I can't add a poll to this thread, but interested in responses from those in the conversation:

The urban-ness or suburban-ness of a place primarily has to do with:

A. how it is built/constructed
B. how it is used

I tend to be more agreeable to B, mainly because I've been in plenty of neighborhoods in LA that are built almost exactly the same and yet one feels sleepy, static, private, and "suburban," while another feels public, dynamic, active and "urban." To me, "urban" and especially "suburban" are states of mind. When a place believes it is the suburbs, I can usually tell.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-09-2013, 10:10 PM
 
Location: Monmouth County, NJ & Staten Island, NY
407 posts, read 407,275 times
Reputation: 661
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
But what does it mean to "look like a suburb"? That is the crux of the matter. What dos someone by that? Do they mean the homes are post-WW II? Lots of homes in Denver were built post WW II. Are the streets curvy instead of "on the grid"? Most suburbs of Denver are "on the grid". I've heard you and others say that Boston is not "on the grid", and Pittsburgh certainly isn't. The mill town where I grew up was more on a grid than Pittsburgh proper. Does it mean to have shopping centers in stead of a a downtown? There are tons of little strip centers in Denver.
From what I've heard in my life, I usually see that there's a difference between comparing city/suburbs versus urban/suburban, and usually the latter being more common especially around the NYC metro. We do have our bonafide suburbs, if you go by the actual political/governmental boundaries, you have the obvious like Northern New Jersey (sans Hudson and much of Bergen County), Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Orange counties and parts of SW Connecticut. All of these areas are predominatley suburban of course, with little slices of urbanity here and there like White Plains, Huntington and good ol' New Brunswick (graduated college in the theater on the left last year!). I'd guess these function more like Edge Cities or old town centers than true cities, even if they're actually classified as cities themselves...though of course most actual suburban municipalities are cities in themselves, one way or another. Between the tri states of this region, we have all kinds of designations between City, Hamlet, Village, Town, Towne, Township, Municipality and of course good old County....though the general consensus around here INCLUDING within the four outer boroughs of NYC is to refer to the almighty Manhattan island as....."the city" lol. The best has to be when I have friends/family from other parts of the city which tend to be decidedly more urban come out to my neighborhood and tell me how suburban it feels, "almost feel like I'm in Jersey". For most people, the actual suburb/city divide comes with two main factors A) where they work B) what kind of community they want to live in. Someone can have the desire to live in a single family, auto-centric "suburban" neighborhood and they can A) live in Staten Island, have a decent sized house (1200-2000 sq ft) for about double what it would go for in most comparable parts of Jersey (Jersey referring to the suburban areas in the NYC sphere of influence) but pay about 1/2 to 1/3 LESS property tax, much less in commuting costs, be generally car centric but have things much closer, have decent schools both public and private and that's what people do who mainly work in Manhattan because it's an easier/cheaper commute. In Jersey, it might make more sense to take on the higher (sometimes MUCH higher) property tax and longer driving times needed to get to daily things, if they work somewhere out there. Same goes for the other suburbs of NYC, which all tend to be VERY expensive property tax wise.

Every place is different, I've never been to Denver so I can't really speak much for it, but it also seems to have a slightly similar idea going on...there's the city of Denver proper, and then the suburb communities around it which seem to be small towns which all built outwards towards each other infilled by farmland which was already there and form the suburban ring in Denver's sphere of influence. Within these individual communities, be it a suburban town/city/village/etc and the city of Denver itself, there seems to be a nice selection of both urban and suburban type neighborhoods....like "urban" Main Street in the Denver suburb of Littleton, or "suburban" East Elk Place in the city of Denver itself. Another good comparison around here would probably be "urban" East Front Street in the NYC "suburb" of Plainfield, NJ versus "suburban" McArthur Ave within the "City" of New York. People interchangeably use urban/suburban in place of city/suburb and vice versa, and I think that leads to most of the confusion.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-10-2013, 06:31 AM
 
Location: Baltimore / Montgomery County, MD
1,196 posts, read 2,120,399 times
Reputation: 512
Northeastern built environment and compact bones of density. Everything else is country.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-16-2013, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Portland, Maine
457 posts, read 436,683 times
Reputation: 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Personally, I don't use that definition. Streetcar suburbs are suburbs, IMHO, they are just suburbs which were built with the planned transit being rail based, rather than automobile based.

What makes a suburb a suburb is its built form was designed to segregate housing away from jobs.

Urban neighborhoods were built throughout history with the understanding that virtually everyone would walk to work. As a result, they all showed a mixture of residential, small shops, and major employers. As the industrial revolution started, these "other employers" became mills and other large industrial employers.

In the initial parts of the industrial revolution, the old model stayed. This is why in the oldest neighborhoods in the Northeast and Midwest, you'll find a mixture of housing for the wealthy and poor, as well as storefronts and old industrial buildings. Everyone walked home from their jobs, be they factory workers or local bankers, so all neighborhoods essentially worked as small interconnected cities bumped against one another.

This changed with the railcar. The wealthy and middle classes didn't need to live close to work any more. Since at that time the mill neighborhoods were sooty, dirty, treeless messes, they abandoned the mixed-use neighborhoods en masse during the last part of the 19th century. They settled in quiet, residential areas which were a short rail drive away from their place of work. These areas might have had some neighborhood shopping, but on the other hand, transit made it easy to shop in downtown department stores as well, so it wasn't a given.

Regardless, the streetcar suburb was the prototype of the modern suburb. It contained universal single-family housing, excluded major employers (who would be loud and dirty), and accorded status to living in a leafy, somewhat isolated area. The autocentric post-WW2 suburb had its own characteristics (driveways, windier roads, much lower quality building materials), but it was basically a variation on a theme which was already set. Ironically, with deindustrialization, the reasons the gentry moved out of traditional urban neighborhoods to begin with vanished, which is part of why they have become attractive areas once again.
Not all street car suburbs have uses separated and single family homes. For example both Somerville and Cambridge in the Boston area developed as streetcar suburbs but are almost entirely built up with double and triple decker apartments with some larger apartments in and near the squares which act as neighborhood shopping areas.

Union Square Somerville: Davis Square, Somerville, MA - Google Maps

Davis Square: Somerville, MA - Google Maps

average residential area: Davis Square, Somerville, MA - Google Maps

Area IV Cambridge: Davis Square, Somerville, MA - Google Maps

Central Square: Davis Square, Somerville, MA - Google Maps

Harvard Square: http://goo.gl/maps/YrcAa
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-16-2013, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Portland, Maine
457 posts, read 436,683 times
Reputation: 253
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Times Square is pretty public, but who lives there? A local suburban mall is pretty public, too.
If you don't like the Times Square example how about the North End of Boston.

North End:

North End, Boston, MA - Google Maps

North End, Boston, MA - Google Maps

I am very familiar with this neighborhood in Boston and it is common to see neighbors chatting in the street and to have people say hi to each other when they are walking to the store or coffeeshop.
Where I live people are friendly but you can't easily walk to stores so you do not meet people you know as often just walking around and this also makes it harder to meet new people.

Average development where I'm from:

Hartford, Windsor, Vermont - Google Maps

Hartford, Windsor, Vermont - Google Maps
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-16-2013, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,245 posts, read 26,214,003 times
Reputation: 11701
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
It used to be that just seeing a woman's ankle was considered pornographic.
In Saudi Arabia?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-16-2013, 01:13 PM
 
Location: "Daytonnati"
4,245 posts, read 5,981,697 times
Reputation: 2967
Urban is a euphemism for "black".
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-21-2013, 08:36 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
45,983 posts, read 41,921,149 times
Reputation: 14804
For a metro, one could separate the sections ignoring political boundaries you separate them into levels of urbanness or just development type, by population density and prevailing building styles. Here's what I did for the NYC metro:


Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post

4) For New York City, density and having a subway line proximity follow each other rather well. Most areas near a subway line are of the darker 3 colors (above 41k / sq mile) and few of those densities are found away from a subway line. The difference is stark that you could divide the city into the parts near and not near a subway. Of course many of the low density areas not covered by the subway could just be non-residential areas. This map shows a more nuanced picture, but I have no clue what the key is:

http://farm1.staticflickr.com/71/223...59509d3b_o.jpg

A lot of the no subway areas just have no residents (for example, parkland) but the remaining no subway areas still look less dense. Did subways cause growth, or were subways built in areas already dense and built-up? For all but Upper Manhattan, subways came after development in Manhattan. For parts of Brooklyn, the development doesn't seem to cluster around subways much; it's rather even; my guess is subways followed at least as much as it spurred development. For some of the Queens lines, I think it's obvious subways spurred development. By density, it looks the NYC metro could be divided this way:

I) Manhattan, blocks of 5-6 story buildings with no setback, often with mid-rise buildings mixed in. Some neighborhoods have high rises as well. A road lined with stores on the first floor of these buildings are almost always within 1-2 blocks away. Parts of the West Bronx is at a similar density.

II) Outer Borough subway neighborhoods. Mostly from 40,000 - 75,000 people per square mile, much of the building stock is attached 3-4 story attached homes with some higher (see above) and lower density housing mixed in.

III) Outer borough neighborhoods away from the subway. Lower density sections aren't too different from older inner-ring suburbs and are often thought as "suburban", especially by those living in parts I & II. Much of it is detached homes, but still denser and with more apartment buildings and attached homes than developments further out. Only transit is buses and low frequency commuter rail, but still has high transit usage for American standards.

IV) Newer, lower density suburbia, almost all outside the city limits. Detached homes have larger lots than (III), many older suburbs belong with (III).

If a map was done, it would be an asymmetric series of ring (onion?) with some interesting exceptions. I didn't give a whole lot of detail about Type IV, it could probably use an extra division. If you click on the arrow of the quote, there's a bit more on other cities.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-21-2013, 10:24 PM
 
940 posts, read 1,737,513 times
Reputation: 732
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
For a metro, one could separate the sections ignoring political boundaries you separate them into levels of urbanness or just development type, by population density and prevailing building styles. Here's what I did for the NYC metro:

If a map was done, it would be an asymmetric series of ring (onion?) with some interesting exceptions. I didn't give a whole lot of detail about Type IV, it could probably use an extra division. If you click on the arrow of the quote, there's a bit more on other cities.
This seems to follow closely with the New Urbanist concept of "transects" (itself a descendant of Burgess and Parks' concentric ring analysis of Chicago).

In my opinion this works fine for delineating the various components of highly centralized high-industrial cities (or previously industrial cities), but doesn't do so well for contemporary, multipolar, "postindustrial" cities.

The population density in Los Angeles, for example, relatively neatly follows a sort of irregular concentric ring pattern, with densest leading generally outward to least dense. However, the built form and "urban-ness" (relative to the ways it's discussed on this forum) does not neatly follow that pattern.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-21-2013, 10:59 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,978 posts, read 102,527,356 times
Reputation: 33045
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
It used to be that just seeing a woman's ankle was considered pornographic.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
In Saudi Arabia?
No, Victorian England.
The Fetishization and Objectification of the Female Body in Victorian Culture - University of Brighton - Faculty of Arts
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Urban Planning
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top