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Old 09-21-2014, 03:34 PM
 
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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?
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Old 09-21-2014, 03:56 PM
 
Location: bend oregon
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i would like living in a new futuristic city but it would need some houses and buildings that were historic looking.
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Old 09-21-2014, 04:36 PM
Status: "How long till Fall?" (set 7 days ago)
 
Location: Where my bills arrive
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Keeping historic buildings is great but adapting them to a new purpose is even more important. Too often a vintage building is kept in disrepair because no one wants to invest in a building that a city won't allow alterations/repurposing. Most investors do not want to invest in a museum.
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Old 09-21-2014, 06:21 PM
 
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Depends.

If the historic housing stock was either really high quality, had a coherent neighborhood aesthetic, or both then maintaining that is of huge value. Think brownstone Brooklyn, Boston's North End, etc. If the housing isn't coherent or is coherent but ugly and shoddy on the other hand then replacing it won't damage the fabric of the neighborhood, quite the opposite. Context matters.

Even the nicer historical neighborhoods aren't unbeatable or irreplaceable, just would be terribly wasteful not to utilize what already exists.
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Old 09-21-2014, 07:32 PM
 
Location: M I N N E S O T A
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I don't understand how the age of a cities buildings can make that city more walkable
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Old 09-21-2014, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Michigan
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There's nothing inherently urban about historical architecture unless the city it's in is very populated (or was at some point). Otherwise, many small towns and villages across the US would be entirely more active than they currently are.
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Old 09-21-2014, 08:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iNviNciBL3 View Post
I don't understand how the age of a cities buildings can make that city more walkable
Not by default, but the historicism often attracts people looking for a walkable space due to attractive aesthetics. And buildings built before the 1950s are typically walkable/urban by default, as that was before the age of the car.
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Old 09-21-2014, 08:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iNviNciBL3 View Post
I don't understand how the age of a cities buildings can make that city more walkable

It is actually quite simple. Many old cities and neighborhoods were built pre automobile.
Rather than designed for cars, they were designed for people.

Walkability is not some new trend, for five thousand years cities were designed around walking as the primary mode of transportation.
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Old 09-21-2014, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Kennedy Heights, Ohio. USA
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The older historic neighborhoods were built in an era where the main most practical mode of transport for the average Joe was the human foot. That is why historic neighborhoods are more dense and have more foot traffic because it was more cost effective to have everything you need for everyday existence within a reasonable walking distance when the neighborhood was being developed. Historic buildings that have aesthetic appeal within a coherent framework of similar like structures gives a neighborhood or city a unique rare flavor that sets it apart from the majority of recently developed areas.
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Old 09-21-2014, 08:52 PM
 
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Older cities in the pre-auto era were built on a smaller scale making them much more walkable. But as cities and metropolitan areas grew larger and larger and scaled more to the automobile, they become less walkable.

I don't like the scale of very large cities like New York. Even Paris and London are relatively car-dependent due to their sheer size which in the 20th century has been fueled in large part by the automobile, though maybe not as much as NY and LA and the former may retain more elements of their traditional walkable urbanism. The daily traffic jams of Paris' main boulevards are a nightmare. But generally, as cities scale up in sheer physical size and distances between neighborhoods within them become ever greater, they become more dependent on the automobile. Not just for personal transportation but also commercial. The logistics of supplying a megacity with its daily needs would not be possible without modern trucking and vast armies of big noisy gas-guzzling trucks. Of course, smaller cities and suburbs in the modern era are often poorly built for walking and we have plenty of those. So size and scale isn't the only factor but still an important one that tends to be overlooked.
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