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Old 02-19-2014, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Old Bellevue, WA
18,794 posts, read 14,290,500 times
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I wonder if there is a 10th reason. It seems to me that we have more institutional corruption in government in the US than in Europe, especially Northern Europe. If true, the result would be that public (gov't run) transit would be inherently more high cost, low benefit than in Europe. So naturally, people would tend to greatly prefer a private sector solution to any problem when possible in the US.

Recently I came across the factoid that the cost per passenger mile by public transit bus is $1.70, whereas by car it is 37 cents. With economies of scale I would have expected it the other way around. I suspect the problem is what I call institutional corruption. The public sector workers here are next-to-impossible to fire. They don't get fired; they go on paid "administrative leave." They get every conceivable holiday, high wages, high job security, pensions guaranteed by the taxpayer, etc.

You can see the same thing in our public education system. We spend more than anyone save Switzerland, yet we get mediocre results compared to Europe, especially the Northern lands.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,272 posts, read 26,286,355 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
I'm not characterizing your position as anything. I'm quoting you. If you want to say that Europe developed its suburbs more densely that's true, to a point, but it doesn't mean that those places are much less car dependent compared to similar big cities in the US or that job growth in the 'burbs and suburb-to-suburb commuting aren't big, traffic inducing problems in Paris or London.
You quoted me but your response didn't address what I was saying. You said that I said that Europe didn't have sprawl (that's not what I said). I said that Europe has denser sprawl than the U.S. that's partly attributable to a different psychology when it comes to land consumption. You didn't really address that argument but instead launched into a monologue about how even Europe has sprawl (which no one has disputed).

And yes, it can be easily be argued that European cities are less car dependent than similar U.S. big cities. Going down the list from top to bottom, European metros have much higher transit shares than American metros. And if you think that greater densities have nothing to do with that, then I don't know what to tell you.

I mean, there's a big difference between Le Blanc Mesnil "dense" and South Central L.A. "dense." Many of Paris' post-WWII suburbs would be shining beacons of walkable, transit-oriented urbanity here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
A lot of Hudson County? Parts of Arlington County? Parts of Northeast Philly? Evanston? Brentwood?
None of those places come close to being as dense, walkable or transit-oriented as the majority of Parisian communes. The Northeast built rowhomes in neighborhoods that are still largely car-centric. Paris built towers. Arlington County has had TOD for maybe a decade (and still isn't nearly as dense and walkable as outer Paris).
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:08 AM
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
45,992 posts, read 42,048,502 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Metro Paris is just over twice as dense as NYC metro, 50% denser than LA metro. Of course, put that in perspective, it's 1/10th the density of a real dense metro is. As far as I'm concerned, champions of the standard American line of thinking of more is better can go live in Dhaka. The place is a cesspool. A certain degree of sprawl is definitely a good thing. Maybe some people like NY's greater sprawl but greater centralization, others like LA or Paris's more uniform sprawl, and still others actually want to live as crowded as they do in the actually dense parts of the world.
Usually I stick to developed world cities only in city comparisons, as the densities and living conditions involve things that would be unacceptable to people in wealthier countries. Though if Dhaka ever gets wealthy, where could it sprawl to? I imagine it would sprawl a bit, but mostly it would have a big high rise boom.

As for people who like really dense cities, a friend visited Hong Kong and liked it. Though, visiting is one thing, living another. Paris's sprawl doesn't seem particularly uniform, its density appears to drop rather quickly going out, not much looks like the old city except immediately nearby and maybe a few suburban centers. See this chart:

http://marketurbanism.com/2010/10/19...ialist-cities/

Note Moscow and Paris have a similar overall density, even though the profile is not similar.

The European cities that get the most urbanist attention are often not the densest cities, but more cute pedestrian friendly ones. German cities get better press than Italian cities, even though German cities sprawl more. And Copenhagen in particularly gets lots of attention even though outside the older part of the city it's rather sprawly, though the suburbs look a bit more transit and pedestrian friendly than American ones. The city itself is rather anti-car, bike friendly and maybe a bit on the cuter rather than gritty side.

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Copen...115.95,,0,7.22

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Copen...,100.14,,0,7.4

still, most are relatively close together and there are some sections of rowhouses / apartment buildings but overall the metro doesn't seem that high density. If for some strange reason all you cared about was density, there are plenty of denser old world developed cities. This author seemed to like more density:

A Tale of Four Cities | Build the City

Now Barcelona, my favorite city of the trip, is in a whole different category. The level of density and intensity went beyond the typical European city into an Asian realm. People, people everywhere. Shops, shops everywhere... The question isn’t “is there a grocery store within walking distance?”; but “which of the half-dozen produce shops, bakeries, meat markets and supermarkets within two blocks should I go to?” Streets are still crowded with pedestrians at midnight. Our room faced onto a 10-foot “lightwell” fronted with windows into kitchens and bedrooms from other apartments. The street-side windows faced towards the balconies across the street, a mere 20 feet away. Basically, no privacy, no quiet. But urban energy everywhere. I loved it.

Though I wonder if he experienced only a small portion of it.

Anyhow, lumping all of Europe together hides a lot of difference. Denmark has the same % detached homes as Massachusetts (though Massachusetts is below the US average), Spain is drastically different from anything in the US. Maybe it's arguable that Denmark is closer to the US in built form in some ways than to Spain?



http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/sta...pe_of_dwelling

I assume semi-detached includes row houses, no clue what other includes.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:15 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 27 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,030 posts, read 102,707,476 times
Reputation: 33083
Quote:
Originally Posted by wutitiz View Post
I wonder if there is a 10th reason. It seems to me that we have more institutional corruption in government in the US than in Europe, especially Northern Europe. If true, the result would be that public (gov't run) transit would be inherently more high cost, low benefit than in Europe. So naturally, people would tend to greatly prefer a private sector solution to any problem when possible in the US.

Recently I came across the factoid that the cost per passenger mile by public transit bus is $1.70, whereas by car it is 37 cents. With economies of scale I would have expected it the other way around. I suspect the problem is what I call institutional corruption. The public sector workers here are next-to-impossible to fire. They don't get fired; they go on paid "administrative leave." They get every conceivable holiday, high wages, high job security, pensions guaranteed by the taxpayer, etc.

You can see the same thing in our public education system. We spend more than anyone save Switzerland, yet we get mediocre results compared to Europe, especially the Northern lands.
Seriously?
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,272 posts, read 26,286,355 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsvh View Post
Bajan- Why are you so obsessed with density numbers? No one is denying that sprawled out cities in the US are less dense than Europe. But that is a symptom of sprawl and car-dependency. Not the cause.
Huh? Do you mean that car dependency is a symptom of sprawl?

I started out in this thread saying that the author of the article didn't even list age as one of the reasons why the U.S. is more car dependent than Europe. While it could be argued that most American cities would be denser without cheap gas, highway construction, etc., it's sort of silly to ignore the fact that European cities already had much larger and denser walkable cores that were better suited for public transit. And it's also silly to ignore that space in Europe comes at a much higher premium, which results in more intensive land use.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:21 AM
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
45,992 posts, read 42,048,502 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Seriously?
If a person says something, I would assume they're serious.

Otherwise, if you want information here's something:

Corruption Perceptions Index 2013 - Results
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:23 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 27 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,030 posts, read 102,707,476 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
If a person says something, I would assume they're serious.

Otherwise, if you want information here's something:

Corruption Perceptions Index 2013 - Results
Got it! I'm off this forum. Tired of getting harassed for my posts.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,272 posts, read 26,286,355 times
Reputation: 11734
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
A Tale of Four Cities | Build the City

Now Barcelona, my favorite city of the trip, is in a whole different category. The level of density and intensity went beyond the typical European city into an Asian realm. People, people everywhere. Shops, shops everywhere... The question isn’t “is there a grocery store within walking distance?”; but “which of the half-dozen produce shops, bakeries, meat markets and supermarkets within two blocks should I go to?” Streets are still crowded with pedestrians at midnight. Our room faced onto a 10-foot “lightwell” fronted with windows into kitchens and bedrooms from other apartments. The street-side windows faced towards the balconies across the street, a mere 20 feet away. Basically, no privacy, no quiet. But urban energy everywhere. I loved it.

Though I wonder if he experienced only a small portion of it.
I agree with his description. I didn't really know much about Barcelona prior to going (other than the fact it hosted the Olypmics). In terms of overall vibrancy, it definitely rivals Paris, and possibly even surpasses it in some areas.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,272 posts, read 26,286,355 times
Reputation: 11734
Quote:
Originally Posted by wutitiz View Post
I wonder if there is a 10th reason. It seems to me that we have more institutional corruption in government in the US than in Europe, especially Northern Europe. If true, the result would be that public (gov't run) transit would be inherently more high cost, low benefit than in Europe. So naturally, people would tend to greatly prefer a private sector solution to any problem when possible in the US.
But France, Spain and Italy all ranked higher on the corruption index than the U.S. last year. The cities in those countries still have excellent mass transit systems (and they also have HSR). Britain is only slightly ahead of the U.S.

Italy among most corrupt countries in Europe - The Local
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:40 AM
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
45,992 posts, read 42,048,502 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
But France, Spain and Italy all ranked higher on the corruption index than the U.S. last year. The cities in those countries still have excellent mass transit systems (and they also have HSR). Britain is only slightly ahead of the U.S.

Italy among most corrupt countries in Europe - The Local
There was an article (Economist?) I read about why American projects get stopped by NIMBYs so much. A German businessman comment was if "the government decides [after a public consensus] that it should be done, it'll get done]. An Italian businessman comment was "if opponents delay a project, those who want it done will bribe the politicians". Bribery can be cheaper than massive bureaucratic red tape, American construction costs are unusually high.
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