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Old 03-21-2015, 01:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Randal Walker View Post
The best I have come up with is a standardized design for a city-pleasant, if bland; then add a bit of character. Then use the same design over and over in a neighborhood.

This is part of the reason that I favor historical preservation-they don't make 'em like that anymore.
Let's not start this again. Standardized designs have been a feature of cities for a LONG time (NYC tenement buildings, Philadelphia rowhouses, etc).
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:29 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
Let's not start this again. Standardized designs have been a feature of cities for a LONG time (NYC tenement buildings, Philadelphia rowhouses, etc).
EXactly! Drive down some streets in Chicago, Milwaukee, Denver and look at the rows and rows of bungalows. I've said this before, but for the benefit of those who haven't seen this yet-I used to be a visiting nurse in Denver and surrounding area. There was no need to ever ask where the bathroom was in one of those bungalows; they were all in exactly the same place.
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Old 03-22-2015, 06:01 AM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 7,327,156 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
Let's not start this again. Standardized designs have been a feature of cities for a LONG time (NYC tenement buildings, Philadelphia rowhouses, etc).
^^^
Quote:
Originally Posted by FallsAngel View Post
EXactly! Drive down some streets in Chicago, Milwaukee, Denver and look at the rows and rows of bungalows. I've said this before, but for the benefit of those who haven't seen this yet-I used to be a visiting nurse in Denver and surrounding area. There was no need to ever ask where the bathroom was in one of those bungalows; they were all in exactly the same place.
I agree with both of you. Go to any city and you will see street upon street of the local vernacular architectural styles. Some it's the rowhouse. In others it's the side by side duplex or the stacked duplex or the bungalow. In neighborhoods built around WW I, it's frequently the four square. As cities started to grow significantly after the Civil War, real estate developers built similar looking houses from stock plans to house those people who felt the need to escape the crowded conditions closer to the center of the city.

Urbanists are really constrained by their ideology from actually seeing the urban environment as well as understanding its history. The entire basis for the urbanist critique of the built environment in the US depends upon the myths that the suburbs began after WW II, that sprawl is unique to the 2nd half of the 20th century and later, and that the cause of all this "evil" is the automobile. That these myths contain some shreds of truth does not make any of them a correct reading of the history of urban America.

Suburbs have been around since ancient times, primarily because whether it was Rome in 100 AD or London in 1480 or New York in 1880, crowding lots of people together with primitive sanitation and virtually no regulation makes for unpleasant living conditions, and those who could afford it, then like now, frequently chose to live outside the dense core of the cities. In the US, where land was plentiful, 19th century cities had relatively big footprints and small populations, which meant that there were lots of farms and cow pastures within city boundaries even into the early 20th century (there are still a few within the boundaries of my little city today!). The development patterns within these city boundaries was pretty much the very same ones we've seen around the US since the 1940s outside city boundaries. Suburbs developed outside of city boundaries after WW II because most cities had run out of land to develop. For an example, see the 1894 Buffalo City Atlas: Atlas.

Sprawl is hardly unique to the post-WW II era in America. You can find examples of the mindset that causes sprawl in the colonial era when the American colonists went ballistic because the British parliament decided that the land west of the Appalachians should be left for the Native Americans. The seaboard colonies hadn't run out of land to settle, but maybe it was not as good or too expensive in the eyes of many people at the time. Likewise, in the mid 19th century, there's the phenomenon of American settlers entirely skipping over the Great Plains to settle in the Oregon Country. They thought the largely treeless plains were a "desert" and just kept going when they could have settled anywhere east of the 100th meridian without worrying overmuch about "desert" conditions. Later, in the 19th and early 20th century, industrialists built their factories on green fields on the outskirts of cities and neighborhoods or suburban cities/towns grew up around them. Homestead, PA and Lackawanna, NY are examples of this.

The automobile did not make suburbs possible because they had always been possible. Horse-cars, then street-cars, and then buses enabled people living in the newly built outlying areas of cities to reach their jobs in the downtown business district. The private automobile made commuting much easier, so it made suburban living more popular but it didn't "cause" suburbs to develop. It was love at first sight with Henry Ford's Model T for Americans, as even urban neighborhoods developed in the mid-1920s already had garages and driveways. The original interstate highway system, contrary to what some urbanists claim, was developed because Americans, especially then General and later President, Dwight Eisenhower, was so impressed with the German Autobahn. That it was later extended into the interstate system we have today that makes intra-metropolitan area commuting possible does not change the fact that its original intent was for national defense and economic development.
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Old 03-22-2015, 08:11 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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^^
Excellent analysis.
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Old 03-22-2015, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,760,961 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda_d View Post
^^^


I agree with both of you. Go to any city and you will see street upon street of the local vernacular architectural styles. Some it's the rowhouse. In others it's the side by side duplex or the stacked duplex or the bungalow. In neighborhoods built around WW I, it's frequently the four square. As cities started to grow significantly after the Civil War, real estate developers built similar looking houses from stock plans to house those people who felt the need to escape the crowded conditions closer to the center of the city.

Urbanists are really constrained by their ideology from actually seeing the urban environment as well as understanding its history. The entire basis for the urbanist critique of the built environment in the US depends upon the myths that the suburbs began after WW II, that sprawl is unique to the 2nd half of the 20th century and later, and that the cause of all this "evil" is the automobile. That these myths contain some shreds of truth does not make any of them a correct reading of the history of urban America.

Suburbs have been around since ancient times, primarily because whether it was Rome in 100 AD or London in 1480 or New York in 1880, crowding lots of people together with primitive sanitation and virtually no regulation makes for unpleasant living conditions, and those who could afford it, then like now, frequently chose to live outside the dense core of the cities. In the US, where land was plentiful, 19th century cities had relatively big footprints and small populations, which meant that there were lots of farms and cow pastures within city boundaries even into the early 20th century (there are still a few within the boundaries of my little city today!). The development patterns within these city boundaries was pretty much the very same ones we've seen around the US since the 1940s outside city boundaries. Suburbs developed outside of city boundaries after WW II because most cities had run out of land to develop. For an example, see the 1894 Buffalo City Atlas: Atlas.

Sprawl is hardly unique to the post-WW II era in America. You can find examples of the mindset that causes sprawl in the colonial era when the American colonists went ballistic because the British parliament decided that the land west of the Appalachians should be left for the Native Americans. The seaboard colonies hadn't run out of land to settle, but maybe it was not as good or too expensive in the eyes of many people at the time. Likewise, in the mid 19th century, there's the phenomenon of American settlers entirely skipping over the Great Plains to settle in the Oregon Country. They thought the largely treeless plains were a "desert" and just kept going when they could have settled anywhere east of the 100th meridian without worrying overmuch about "desert" conditions. Later, in the 19th and early 20th century, industrialists built their factories on green fields on the outskirts of cities and neighborhoods or suburban cities/towns grew up around them. Homestead, PA and Lackawanna, NY are examples of this.

The automobile did not make suburbs possible because they had always been possible. Horse-cars, then street-cars, and then buses enabled people living in the newly built outlying areas of cities to reach their jobs in the downtown business district. The private automobile made commuting much easier, so it made suburban living more popular but it didn't "cause" suburbs to develop. It was love at first sight with Henry Ford's Model T for Americans, as even urban neighborhoods developed in the mid-1920s already had garages and driveways. The original interstate highway system, contrary to what some urbanists claim, was developed because Americans, especially then General and later President, Dwight Eisenhower, was so impressed with the German Autobahn. That it was later extended into the interstate system we have today that makes intra-metropolitan area commuting possible does not change the fact that its original intent was for national defense and economic development.
True, but even if the changes happened over a period of decades, the result is still that development patterns today are pretty different from those of the mid 19th century. Cars played a role in those changes, as did other factors.

I would also say that generally you're more likely to have housing built by big developers today than in the past. I think most cases where you had "standardized housing" were when a community experienced rapid growth, whether that's a factory town being built "overnight" or a rapidly growing big city like New York or Philadelphia.

Cities that grew more gradually, like Toronto around 1840-1890 saw pretty varied housing stock. I mean there are commonalities, but usually you'll have just sets of 2-3 homes that are the same, the next homes further down the street are usually a little different. Nowadays, rather than building a few homes here, and a few homes there, and a few more elsewhere, smaller slower growth communities will just build a few dozen or even a few hundred homes in one location and nothing elsewhere. I think even big fast growing cities often saw piecemeal development, Montreal did for example.
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Old 03-22-2015, 11:49 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
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^^
Excellent analysis.

===========================

Seriously, my town (population 20,000 -30,000) has a mix of housing styles and types next to each others, there's little cookie-cutter housing development because it wasn't large enough nor fast growing enough for it to be practical. Even in a big city like New York City, development was often by block and each block often had some rather random combinations (not to say that cookie-cutter blocks don't exist there). I could post photos or streetviews later.

And of course there's been suburbs or suburban development (as in outlying development) for a long, long time. The automobile encourage different types of development from prior suburbs. Besides allowing for lower residential densities, commerical and business nodes became less centralized (either in a downtown or a corridor). And a train/streetcar passenger is a pedestrian at both ends (and even with park and rides, at one end) while a driver doesn't need to be at either end. Higher centralization or concentration allows for better transit service, for automobile it often makes things worse (less space to fit in parking, more traffic).
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Old 03-22-2015, 12:38 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,992 posts, read 102,568,112 times
Reputation: 33059
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
^^
Excellent analysis.

===========================

Seriously, my town (population 20,000 -30,000) has a mix of housing styles and types next to each others, there's little cookie-cutter housing development because it wasn't large enough nor fast growing enough for it to be practical. Even in a big city like New York City, development was often by block and each block often had some rather random combinations (not to say that cookie-cutter blocks don't exist there). I could post photos or streetviews later.

And of course there's been suburbs or suburban development (as in outlying development) for a long, long time. The automobile encourage different types of development from prior suburbs. Besides allowing for lower residential densities, commerical and business nodes became less centralized (either in a downtown or a corridor). And a train/streetcar passenger is a pedestrian at both ends (and even with park and rides, at one end) while a driver doesn't need to be at either end. Higher centralization or concentration allows for better transit service, for automobile it often makes things worse (less space to fit in parking, more traffic).
Pittsburgh is more like what you describe, fewer cookie-cutter-ish blocks there. Even in Denver, it's not as extreme as the pictures I've seen of Chicago. And of course, over time, these areas have acquired a patina, with the different additions, landscaping, etc. I sometimes try to imagine what some of these neighborhoods in Denver would have looked like in the 20s, with their cookie-cutter houses, few trees, etc. Probably pretty stark.

As for the bold, what's wrong with that? Why should all 2 1/2 million of us in metro Denver have to go downtown to conduct out daily business, e.g. work, shop, dr's appts, etc?
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:02 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
45,987 posts, read 41,947,535 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FallsAngel View Post
As for the bold, what's wrong with that? Why should all 2 1/2 million of us in metro Denver have to go downtown to conduct out daily business, e.g. work, shop, dr's appts, etc?
I didn't say it was bad or good in my post, not interested in answering that question; it's more a personal preference than something factual anyway. And so what? Whether it's good or bad, its still a difference. Streetcar / rail era neighborhoods had businesses, and downtown can refer to a suburban downtown. I also mentioned corridors.
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Old 03-22-2015, 01:07 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,992 posts, read 102,568,112 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I didn't say it was bad or good in my post, not interested in answering that question; it's more a personal preference than something factual anyway. And so what? Whether it's good or bad, its still a difference. Streetcar / rail era neighborhoods had businesses, and downtown can refer to a suburban downtown. I also mentioned corridors.
Well, OK. I'm just saying, it's far more convenient for someone, say, 20 miles from the city center to go a few blocks to buy groceries, clothes, see the dr than it is for them to go 20 miles, regardless of the type of transportation chosen. For work, when you're going to be there all day, it doesn't matter so much.
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Old 03-22-2015, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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I think retail is pretty "centralized" today too, or at least clustered together. It's that they're clustered around auto infrastructure and not necessarily that close to where population is clustered (close = 10 min walk, usually still within 10min drive).
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