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Old 05-15-2014, 08:37 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
You can make new construction small, but you can't make it old.
A new building will eventually become old. Building new buildings on a more human scale, as well as renovating old buildings, is a good way to mimic how we use to construct cities. European cities do this best by building buildings that have the same scale as older buildings yet still provide the needed space one would need.
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Old 05-15-2014, 09:57 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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I did see some interesting research about this topic. Smaller buildings (it just so happens they are older) make it easier for a larger range of potential tenants. When a master developer gets one large parcel they want tenants fast and they are less likely to take risks on smaller potentially unknown businesses vs chains with credit and resources.

I saw an article about how manhattan is going to require smaller footprint spaces and limit banks because the banks have been buying up the old corner stores and such.

Basically smaller form factor = more diversity and more competition. There is a chapter about this in Ben Ross' new book called Dead End about the development of the suburbs. I am reading it now.
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:04 PM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoenixmike11 View Post
Well- I guess the preservationists are correct about keeping historic buildings and architecture around.

Study: Older, smaller buildings better for cities
Story is incomplete because it leaves out Charleston, South Carolina. Downtown doesn't have a single building taller than a church steeple because when the industrial revolution came around, Charleston didn't want any tacky high rises. It is the blueprint for the Historic Preservation programs around the country and the National Historic Register.

Basically the downtown looks like it did 200-300 years ago.

Consistently ranked the prettiest city in America.
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:18 PM
 
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Might help to explain why downtowns in European cities tend to be so vibrant and lively, while ours are mostly dead, rundown and decayed.
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:40 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 14 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
It has some stats.
This is the only stat in the entire article:

**In Seattle, commercial areas with smaller, more age-diverse buildings have 36.8 percent more jobs per square foot than areas with newer, larger buildings.**

And, as always, correlation does not equal causation.

Maybe the older buildings are more likely to be office buildings and the newer buildings more likely to be places like hospitals, or factories. Who knows? We certainly don't, from reading that article.

They even say, later: **Researchers acknowledge that other factors also contribute to success in the three cities.** They don't say what these "other factors" are, and three cities is a pretty small sample size. (San Francisco, Seattle and DC)
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Old 05-15-2014, 11:23 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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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
This is the only stat in the entire article:

**In Seattle, commercial areas with smaller, more age-diverse buildings have 36.8 percent more jobs per square foot than areas with newer, larger buildings.**
Are you referring to just the article not the full study? The full study is a 100 pages. There's a bunch of stats there. The article is a short summary of the full study if you want more information, you have to dig a bit. You're not going proof of a claim in a short media piece. Really, no one can make much of an intelligent conclusion or criticism with just looking at the article and not the real study.

Quote:
Maybe the older buildings are more likely to be office buildings and the newer buildings more likely to be places like hospitals, or factories. Who knows? We certainly don't, from reading that article.
We certainly do. But you need to look at their source.

Quote:
They even say, later: **Researchers acknowledge that other factors also contribute to success in the three cities.** They don't say what these "other factors" are, and three cities is a pretty small sample size. (San Francisco, Seattle and DC)
Analyzing three cities looked like a lot of work. The study says they plan to go through a few more.
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Old 05-15-2014, 11:35 PM
 
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I agree with Katiana on this being a woefully inadequate article and I highly support preservation and renovation of old buildings.

If the goal is to determine the best form factors of built environment that people tend to utilize and enjoy, a survey of people in a variety of built environments and with exposure to various typology examples would be better.

There's that old adage form follows function. The very nature of the large buildings being built tend toward certain uses and typology (Commercial office, Institutional, industrial etc..). If you wanted to say, test people's desire for residential buildings in urban areas it would make more sense. I would surmise at some level of scale people feel subsumed to the larger structure or mega developments, whereas, something which is smaller scale and pedestrian 'proportioned' makes them feel more 'cozy' with the environs.

What you will find is people enjoy the quality and form of older buildings in creating a more imposing (in street appeal character) or personal quality of space in old buildings with unusual features that define it or it's overall more personal scale: whether it be high ceilings, quality / uniqueness of finish, ambience / charm or other variables and intangibles (uniqueness of an area) say, a printers row, meatpacking district, warehouse district, etc...

On the other hand, the overall fabric (consistency of scale) with a comprehensive mixed usage will naturally lend itself to vibrancy whereas, the sole dominating type mega projects rarely will incorporate the quality of finish and materials to match most anything of say 80 years and older. It just isn't in the mindset of most developers. Nor would the high cost to replicate enable diversity and equity of use and type.

Then throw in the variables of zoning, and the requisite scale (ingress egress type issues in newer buildings and it will simply be very difficult for a builder to mimic the qualities found in the older buildings before many newer mandatory federal requirements were involved in the design from the construction stage.

The overarching thing one usually finds, is that people like certain 'scale' (proportions; sort of analogous to anthropological studies on desirability in member of the opposite sex) this is the key element Duany Zyberk et. al. of the New Urbanist school of thought did identify correctly (IMO). It is what Vitruvius and Palladio recognized in scale and proportion. When the built environment has a certain cohesiveness - not necessarily in style - but, at least provides a consideration of how the new construction fits within the context of the greater whole, it will give people (IMO) a certain level of comfort. i.e pedestrian friendly vs. urban island to urban island development styles or mega blocks of an amalgamation as a sculptural symbol to celebrate the architect, but rather that which compliments the greater whole.

Perhaps I'm not describing this as well as possible, but I think this is what is found in the three cities used in the study. Areas of older buildings of higher overall quality of construction and materials within a consistent neighborhood that lends itself to being desired. Then there is the wildcard of depending on the cities in question and the inventory of said older buildings of character, they are fewer and fewer, thus becoming their own magnet simply based on lack of supply, and the likelihood that they are on a peripheral area adjacent to the best location - due to nature of development patterns building out from the core historical commercial areas.

Probably the most telltale example of when designers / planners 'get this', is the movement in the 90s to build retro sports ballparks. Basically, it was the tacit acknowledgement that people enjoyed the character of the old facility but wanted the amenities of the latest technology in most areas from restrooms, to team accommodations and technology for the attendees.

On the flip side, the pseudo New Urbanist shopping centers of freestanding lego boxes versus the old style megamall, while slightly better to look at, are not an improvement at all, since the developers are paying lip service to scale but rarely anything to quality. They are built to be outmoded when the 15 year financing and cash flow projections at end of life.

Last edited by ciceropolo; 05-15-2014 at 11:46 PM.. Reason: additional content
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Old 05-16-2014, 05:26 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,056 posts, read 16,063,174 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanlife78 View Post
A new building will eventually become old. Building new buildings on a more human scale, as well as renovating old buildings, is a good way to mimic how we use to construct cities. European cities do this best by building buildings that have the same scale as older buildings yet still provide the needed space one would need.
No, the mostly do it by not building more space, or they do it via sprawl. Take the business/downtown area of Paris, La Defense. Rather than tear down central Paris since it was completely useless at meeting the needs of the post- industrial world, they went five miles away to the outskirts and built downtown. London has five major business centers, again, they sort of stuck then where they could since old London is completely useless at meeting the needs of a modern society, thus you have things like Cannery Row. Of course, there isn't enough room which is one of the reasons that office space costs even relative to London's otherwise astronomical real estate prices. Pros and cons to both approaches.
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:48 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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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
No, the mostly do it by not building more space, or they do it via sprawl. Take the business/downtown area of Paris, La Defense. Rather than tear down central Paris since it was completely useless at meeting the needs of the post- industrial world, they went five miles away to the outskirts and built downtown. London has five major business centers, again, they sort of stuck then where they could since old London is completely useless at meeting the needs of a modern society, thus you have things like Cannery Row. Of course, there isn't enough room which is one of the reasons that office space costs even relative to London's otherwise astronomical real estate prices. Pros and cons to both approaches.
The business/downtown area of Paris is central Paris. It's not useless at meeting the needs of a modern society. Central Paris is the main job center, it is rather dispersed compared to American skyscraper district, but it's by far the biggest job center. I'm having trouble finding recent numbers, I found an employment total of 1 million in 1990. I think it has declined somewhat, but it's still much larger than La Defense. I'm sure why you'd call La Defense a downtown, a better description would be a secondary downtown similar to Arlington for DC [downtown DC is still much larger even though it has no skyscrapers]. La Defense also isn't job sprawl in the the sense of being far away from the city center and rather disconnected, as many suburban office parks, again similar to Arlington. Here's the CBD of Paris:

SkyscraperPage Forum - View Single Post - Can someone explain to me how Paris can be almost as dense as Manhattan?

As for old London being useless, no. The bulk of the jobs are still in old London. The City of London has 400,000 jobs, about the same as Chicago's Loop in less area. Westminster to the west holds most government jobs and many non-finance company headquarters, again can't find recent numbers for Westminster but estimating 800,000 jobs. Canary Wharf would be a fraction of that. Of course, the City of London accomplished squeezing so many jobs in a small area by tearing some old buildings for skyscrapers. But there's still plenty of old buildings around.

FAQs

Canary Wharf is 129,000 jobs and it's the largest satellite business district. By % of jobs in the city center, both cities aren't that different from NYC.
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:50 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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Quote:
Originally Posted by ciceropolo View Post
I agree with Katiana on this being a woefully inadequate article and I highly support preservation and renovation of old buildings.
Why do complain about how inadequate a short web article is rather than actually look at the full study? It's strange way to make a judgement when more information is available.
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