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Old 03-12-2014, 01:50 PM
 
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
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Density discussions have been a hot topic on City-Data in a variety of forums for quite some time. There's all sorts of discussions about it but rarely have these discussions included the reasons why. I think that many of us have anecdotally understood why certain areas are densely populated while others are not but I am not sure that anyone has collected all the reasons why in one place. To that end, here's my top of mind list as to why some areas are more densely populated than others. Please chime in with your own thoughts.
  1. When a city was developed: Cities that were developed mostly pre-WWII are almost always more densely populated than those whose development was primarily post WWII.
  2. Geographic restrictions including water, mountains and the like.
  3. Access to plentiful water: Areas with more limited access to water from rain, melting snow and groundwater tend to be more densely populated
  4. Other climatic consideration including microclimates
  5. Robust public transportation nodes
  6. Costs of living: areas with higher costs of living force a greater percentage of residents into smaller dwellings and multifamily housing.
  7. Employment Centers: decentralized employment centers that are especially car dependent drive (no pun intended) lower density development.
I have a few others on the top of my head but will refrain for now to see what others might contribute to this list.
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Old 03-12-2014, 02:11 PM
 
1,110 posts, read 911,644 times
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I would add:

Development costs: if it is cheaper to develop out rather than up, there is a lot of available land, and people desire to live in that area, then the city will develop outward rather than upward.
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Old 03-12-2014, 03:08 PM
 
Location: The City
22,341 posts, read 32,203,483 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnc2mbfl View Post
Density discussions have been a hot topic on City-Data in a variety of forums for quite some time. There's all sorts of discussions about it but rarely have these discussions included the reasons why. I think that many of us have anecdotally understood why certain areas are densely populated while others are not but I am not sure that anyone has collected all the reasons why in one place. To that end, here's my top of mind list as to why some areas are more densely populated than others. Please chime in with your own thoughts.
  1. When a city was developed: Cities that were developed mostly pre-WWII are almost always more densely populated than those whose development was primarily post WWII.
  2. Geographic restrictions including water, mountains and the like.
  3. Access to plentiful water: Areas with more limited access to water from rain, melting snow and groundwater tend to be more densely populated
  4. Other climatic consideration including microclimates
  5. Robust public transportation nodes
  6. Costs of living: areas with higher costs of living force a greater percentage of residents into smaller dwellings and multifamily housing.
  7. Employment Centers: decentralized employment centers that are especially car dependent drive (no pun intended) lower density development.
I have a few others on the top of my head but will refrain for now to see what others might contribute to this list.
Is this really the case? - am curious as almost all of the most dense areas have plentiful water supplies best I can tell
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Old 03-12-2014, 03:14 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Are we limiting to patterns in the US or a more general international perspective. The density contrast of recent vs older cities isn't as strong everywhere.
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:36 PM
 
Location: South Beach and DT Raleigh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidphilly View Post
Is this really the case? - am curious as almost all of the most dense areas have plentiful water supplies best I can tell
When comparing apples to apples, the more water restricted cities in the West have denser post WWII development. Las Vegas is a good example. Its development, while mostly suburban, is a lot more densely populated than many recently developed metros in the Southeast where water is more plentiful and access to it doesn't limit sprawl.
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:39 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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However, suburban Toronto is denser than almost anywhere recent North American development.
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:43 PM
 
Location: The City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnc2mbfl View Post
When comparing apples to apples, the more water restricted cities in the West have denser post WWII development. Las Vegas is a good example. Its development, while mostly suburban, is a lot more densely populated than many recently developed metros in the Southeast where water is more plentiful and access to it doesn't limit sprawl.

Ahh gotcha but is that more landscape driven - most of these are flat (Think also Phx or the LA basin) with no impediment until a huge impediment where development basically stops.

expanding in such a pattern would be difficult in Say Atlanta or even a NYC or Philly due to the undulating landscape - not severe but more rolling with many creeks and valleys - they really dont exist in LA/LV/PHX per se - so in some ways a water feature of sorts but am not sure density correlates to water availability moreso the impact of landscape - Also these places are to me less dense at the purest sense and more just consistent build out - not sure water availability plays in - if so I would think even smaller footprints with less need to water a lawn that exists on nearly all of them artificially if that makes sense - you dont need to really water to the same extent in the others I referenced because they get ample rainfall - generally
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:36 PM
 
Location: Paris
8,133 posts, read 6,695,422 times
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Urban planning policies: residential and office development zoning, minimum lot sizes, authorized floor space ratio...
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:57 PM
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 rnc2mbfl View Post
When comparing apples to apples, the more water restricted cities in the West have denser post WWII development. Las Vegas is a good example. Its development, while mostly suburban, is a lot more densely populated than many recently developed metros in the Southeast where water is more plentiful and access to it doesn't limit sprawl.
Ditto Denver, Phoenix, LA, etc.
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:58 PM
 
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Don't forget parking minimums!
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