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Old 09-22-2014, 03:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
I've never been to London, but based on my short time in Paris, I disagree. I think in many cities, large and small, one lives in their neighborhood, (or maybe their arrondissement, in Paris) so, only their neighborhood needs to be walkable. If one wants to leave their neighborhood, and go to another part of Paris, they can choose to hop on the Metro, if they don't want to drive or walk.

In a massive city like Paris, that may be easier said than done.
Many are still driving and the streets are clogged with bumper to bumper traffic.







Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
This is even true, in a greatly diminished way, here in the small city of Youngstown. There are people who live on their own side of town, (in Ytown, the largest division of neighborhoods is by cardinal direction, but each side of town can further be divided into smaller neighborhoods) who may have only visited other parts of Youngstown a handful of times.

That's my point. It is generally easier to get around without a car in a small city or town than in a big city.
Given that the smaller city is built in a more traditional manner and not that of a sprawling auto suburb.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post

As for the original topic, I think historical architecture helps, but isn't a requirement for urbanity. Basically, what urbanlife78 said.
I think historical architecture is very important for urbanity but the form is more important than the age.
Historical architecture can be copied or emulated. Design and construction of new neighborhoods can take
their inspiration from the past. Aesthetics is very important. People don't like to walk in ugly places.
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Old 09-22-2014, 05:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
So I was just thinking about what historic buildings mean to urbanity and urban growth and it made me ask the question-how important is history to the health of a city? Typically, the healthiest/most famous neighborhoods of the most famous cities, the ones with the most foot traffic and generally the most urbanity (dense, walkable areas) are older and rich with history. So does that mean that you need historic structures to have a healthy, walkable city? Does that mean that cities built anew with newer walkable spaces will never live up to the reputation of the older ones? Long story short-how important is history to the urbanness and reputation of a city?
From my perspective, a historic character tends to correlate with walkable characteristics. But it is not necessarily the case. A place can be walkable, popular, yet offer no historic content at all.
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Old 09-22-2014, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Paris is a dense city with no highways through the city and many narrow streets, so even if only a minority drive, you can still get traffic jams. And probably a lot of those are from the suburbs driving in, or maybe from the city driving to the suburbs, not necessarily trips entirely within the city. The auto mode share for Paris (city proper) is very low, even lower than in many much poorer cities and probably lower than just about any city (maybe literally all?) including much smaller cities.

Looking at Canada, the cities with the shortest commutes (distance wise), which are small very small, maybe 5-20 thousand people, all have the overwhelming majority of people driving to work. The number walking is often not even much higher than in much bigger and more expansive cities, and of course transit use is utterly dismal.
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Old 09-22-2014, 07:02 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
Paris is a dense city with no highways through the city and many narrow streets, so even if only a minority drive, you can still get traffic jams. And probably a lot of those are from the suburbs driving in, or maybe from the city driving to the suburbs, not necessarily trips entirely within the city. The auto mode share for Paris (city proper) is very low, even lower than in many much poorer cities and probably lower than just about any city (maybe literally all?) including much smaller cities.
What is the mode share? This source has 18% for commute trips. It's lower than most European cities, but Paris has small city limits. Manhattan + closer in areas of the outer boroughs would have a similar car commute %. Though I'm a bit surprised that even 11% of Paris residents who work in Paris drive.

http://cost355.inrets.fr/IMG/pdf/WG2..._behaviour.pdf

Old Urbanist: Bikes, Transit and Traditional Urbanism
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Old 09-22-2014, 10:09 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
Paris is a dense city with no highways through the city and many narrow streets, so even if only a minority drive, you can still get traffic jams. And probably a lot of those are from the suburbs driving in, or maybe from the city driving to the suburbs, not necessarily trips entirely within the city. The auto mode share for Paris (city proper) is very low, even lower than in many much poorer cities and probably lower than just about any city (maybe literally all?) including much smaller cities.

Looking at Canada, the cities with the shortest commutes (distance wise), which are small very small, maybe 5-20 thousand people, all have the overwhelming majority of people driving to work. The number walking is often not even much higher than in much bigger and more expansive cities, and of course transit use is utterly dismal.
So looking at the data more closely, most of these small cities/towns are around 90% auto-commuting, maybe down to 80% for some like Stratford, ON and La Tuque, QC. There's only a handful with less than 75% auto commuting though.

Banff: 44.4%
Jasper: 46.0%
Nelson: 60.7%
Iqaluit: 63.9%
Yellowknife: 64.0%
Whistler: 67.2%
Revelstoke: 72.5%

All of these are pretty remote, and Yellowknife is the biggest at about 20,000 people. A lot of them are environmentally conscious resort towns in the mountains (Banff, Jasper, Revelstoke, Whistler). Iqaluit is extremely remote, and has no land connection to the rest of the world. Much of Northern Canada is like this, which means everything has to be flown in, and is expensive as a result (including gas and cars). Plus it's very small communities, and maybe easier to walk than drive in the ice and snow. Yellowknife and Nelson are more impressive. Nelson is a pretty compact little old town. Yellowknife is newer, founded in the 1930s, but with pretty centralized employment and moderately high residential densities (for its size), although it's still more than I expected that are walking and biking.

To compare to bigger cities, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa and Victoria (less big, but notable outlier with very high walking mode share) are all around 70% auto commute mode share, and then you have Calgary at 76.7%, then Winnipeg, Quebec City, Edmonton and finally Hamilton at 84.4%.
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:23 AM
 
Location: London, UK
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I like old buildings were it has recently been renovated. For example the front door is glass and the windows are wider. It adds a twist..
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Old 09-24-2014, 02:02 PM
 
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Old buildings are important in cities for many reasons--not fake new buildings designed to look old, but real old buildings, whether restored or in not-so-fabulous condition. The patina of age is important because it gives the city visitor the sense of the passage of time, that a place has been inhabited and utilized over generations. Old buildings tell a story and give a sense of place. They also provide variety to the visitor--cities often juxtapose old and new, creating new combinations.

Even if a city has been extensively redeveloped, the infrastructure provided by existing historic fabric, including street networks and transit infrastructure, can help maintain the city's walkability. New walkable mixed-use buildings are inspired by historic buildings for their design and function, if not their exterior appearance.

And there are many nice things to be said for plain ol' old buildings. Old buildings are important because, as less desirable spaces, they charge cheaper rent, while city rent in new buildings is often at a premium. Cheap rent is critical for new, high-risk and innovative uses. Jane Jacobs wrote about this--in the 1950s, she referred to theaters, artists' studios, cafes and bookstores as the kind of businesses that located in old buildings. Those businesses are still around today, but modern high-risk/innovative uses, from tattoo studios, restaurants, microbreweries and coffee roasters to cohousing spaces and tech startups, typically choose places with the cheapest possible rent and the closest proximity to their target audience--which often means an old building in an urban core.
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Old 09-26-2014, 08:42 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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That's basically what's been happening with the old warehouses around King West and (to a lesser extent) King East. Lower rent, lots of smaller creative/tech sector businesses, but also faster increases in rent than the average office building. The later industrial buildings (40s-60s) might have lower rents, but aren't as easy to retrofit or aren't as well located, so they often seem to get replaced with big box stores and shopping centres (ex Leaside, Golden Mile).
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Old 09-26-2014, 10:09 PM
 
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Out here, the tilt-up warehouses from the 1960s are starting to become art galleries, co-working spaces, restaurants and live music venues. Being a cheap box nobody wants has real advantages for folks who can't afford high rents. The landmark buildings nearby, including the older industrial buildings (1900s-1940s brick and poured concrete) are more likely to get rehabbed into higher-end restaurants or offices--or housing.
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Old 09-27-2014, 03:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OuttaTheLouBurbs View Post
.... Does that mean that cities built anew with newer walkable spaces will never live up to the reputation of the older ones? Long story short-how important is history to the urbanness and reputation of a city?
For me it does. Walkable areas in which I am surrounded by architecture of towering concrete slabs and acres of glass give me the absolute creeps - and I lived in Manhattan for more than forty years. Decorating these types of areas with trees in huge concrete containers and then having little clots of sitting spaces and umbrella islands doesn't change the vibe for me. Some of Germany's rebuilt post-WW II cities, as well as similar U.S. attempts, make me want to flee, not walk.

I like a mix of very old, old and new. I am immensely fond of Lisbon where you will find people spaces in all sorts of old neighbourhoods and unexpected places.
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