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Old 02-21-2015, 06:18 AM
 
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As a kid, I once walked alone from a Holiday Inn on the outskirts of downtown LA into its dead center core. Why? My mom left me behind. Long story.

Mind you, this before Google Maps and all that. I just went off of memory on which streets mom would turn on.

LA is probably the only core metro that I could reasonably pull that off with. Certainly cannot do so with Seattle.
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Old 02-21-2015, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revelated View Post
As a kid, I once walked alone from a Holiday Inn on the outskirts of downtown LA into its dead center core. Why? My mom left me behind. Long story.

Mind you, this before Google Maps and all that. I just went off of memory on which streets mom would turn on.

LA is probably the only core metro that I could reasonably pull that off with. Certainly cannot do so with Seattle.
What are you talking about? Seattle has a numbered grid and also includes identifiers at the end of street names to signify which district you're in (for instance, 13th Ave E, 22nd Ave S, 145th Ave NE, 145th Ave NW, etc.). The mentally incompetent could easily navigate within this city.

... unless you're strictly saying by your comment that you're familiar with DTLA and not Seattle streets.

Last edited by GatsbyGatz; 02-21-2015 at 11:42 AM..
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Old 02-21-2015, 10:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by memph View Post
A
Anyways, the main thing is LA has this reputation of being the most sprawling city in the US while SF has the reputation of being one of the most compact ones. So maybe SF is still a bit denser... but the difference is not that big.
The larger point, though, is that the premise is wrong. Essentially this entire thread is based on a false premise.

LA is not the least sprawling city. They didn't weight the density, so a square mile in scrubland 60 miles from LA is being measured the same as downtown LA. If you weight the density (ie actually look at the distribution of the population on the land) you see that LA is not the least sprawling city.

LA has always been defined by sprawl. It is one of the sprawliest cities on earth. It's dense sprawl, but it's clearly sprawl.

And the high density at the core is a bit misleading, because these are very poor immigrant neighborhoods that don't have super high structural density, but have like (to use a non PC example) 10-15 poor Guatemalans in a split-level house. So the population density is high, but it does not look, feel, or function, like the core areas of SF.
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Old 02-21-2015, 10:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Chicago76 View Post
Palms really isn't medium density though. Not by general standards. It's at about 25,000 people per square mile thanks to all of those 12-20 unit medium sized apartment buildings. That's a neighborhood density that roughly 10% of all Angelinos have. By the numbers, it is walkable. And then you walk it. You go down Venice where a lot of the commercial activity is and you notice a ton of vehicular traffic using a 6 lane road. You see a lot of offstreet parking everywhere and standalone/recessed commercial buildings. It's entirely possible to get around on foot. The problem is that it's not very inviting to do so. And relatively few people do, considering the number of people in the area and the pedestrian-friendly weather.

Density in that particular case isn't the issue as much as how that density was constructed. It's "paper denisty". A lot of LA is that way.
Yes, this.

LA has good population density over a large geography. But the things we assume to come with the density (walkability, transit usage, desirability by non-poor) generally aren't in evidence, at least not as much as one would expect.

I spent a week in one of the densest non-poor neighborhoods in LA two years ago- the Fairfax neighborhood, which is close to Hollywood and the Grove mall. Honestly, there was almost no pedestrian activity outside of poor people waiting for the bus, and even though I tried to walk everywhere, it was not a pleasant experience. The neighborhood was built for the car.
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Old 02-21-2015, 11:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOLA101 View Post
The larger point, though, is that the premise is wrong. Essentially this entire thread is based on a false premise.

LA is not the least sprawling city. They didn't weight the density, so a square mile in scrubland 60 miles from LA is being measured the same as downtown LA. If you weight the density (ie actually look at the distribution of the population on the land) you see that LA is not the least sprawling city.

LA has always been defined by sprawl. It is one of the sprawliest cities on earth. It's dense sprawl, but it's clearly sprawl.
I was trying to make the weighted density point and even take it a step further upthread in post #40

Incorporated LA County + incorporated Orange County - 1,915 sq. mi. & 11.49 million peope = ~6,000 ppm

NYC + Hudson + Essex + Bergen + Union + Middlesex + Nassau + Monmouth - 1,875 s/m & 14 million = 7,466 ppm

People in greater LA don't actually live more densely than people in the NYC area it's that NYC has grown so big that it's started sucking the Poconos and the Lehigh Valley into its statistical orbit. Once you cross the mountains east of LA there's no one out there to suck in - because there's no water.
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Old 02-22-2015, 07:35 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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If you're comparing urban areas, the Poconos make no difference because the Poconos are outside the urban area. Adding a few more outer suburbs are enough to make the NYC are less dense than Los Angeles. Note that a few incorporated areas in distant parts of LA county aren't included in the urban area.

List of United States urban areas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

But yes, once you weight by where people live NYC is denser, maybe much denser than Los Angeles. That's not true of other older American cities usually thought of as less sprawling: for example, Chicago, Boston or Philadelphia. There's little density difference in their core with LA and their suburbs are overall much less dense than LA's. I made a graph of population living above X density for a number of US urban areas + London. The London isn't really comparable, as census tracts are defined differently, and especially in the "London urban area" graph parkland/undeveloped land gets incorporated are in many census tracts. Los Angeles tends to have very little gaps in development. The San Francisco graph doesn't include the entire Bay Area (only the San Francisco urban area), if it did its graph would follow Los Angeles much more closely.

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Old 02-22-2015, 07:42 AM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Originally Posted by NOLA101 View Post
LA has always been defined by sprawl. It is one of the sprawliest cities on earth. It's dense sprawl, but it's clearly sprawl.
But then if sprawl is different from density, what exactly is sprawl? It may mean different things to different people, if it means anything at all.

Quote:
And the high density at the core is a bit misleading, because these are very poor immigrant neighborhoods that don't have super high structural density, but have like (to use a non PC example) 10-15 poor Guatemalans in a split-level house. So the population density is high, but it does not look, feel, or function, like the core areas of SF.
I think an LA poster posted household sizes of the core areas, don't remember where. It was definitely higher than San Francisco, by maybe 40-50% but not as extreme as your example. So, yea I agree my map is a bit misleading. I made a graph of weighted housing density from downtown. Weighted so as to prevent non-residential areas from skewing the numbers.

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Old 02-22-2015, 10:25 AM
 
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People like to beat up in LA for sprawl; it's actually high density. People like to beat up on LA for too much roadway; it actually is fairly low on lane miles per capita. Like Chicago, it's enormous in extent of urban area, but for some reason Chicago doesn't get called sprawly so often.

New York is an outlier, as the graphs above show.
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
I think an LA poster posted household sizes of the core areas, don't remember where. It was definitely higher than San Francisco, by maybe 40-50% but not as extreme as your example. So, yea I agree my map is a bit misleading. I made a graph of weighted housing density from downtown. Weighted so as to prevent non-residential areas from skewing the numbers.
Yeah, I exaggerated for effect, but I do think the larger household sizes come into play. LA is heavily Hispanic and Asian (culturally very amenable to intergenerational living), rather poor relative to housing prices, and lacks a traditional urban structural density. So you have lots of surprisingly high density areas, and tons of medium-high density areas, but much of it has to do with cultural and economic factors, and don't necessarily come with the "side benefits" of density.

There is really no high density neighborhood in LA that is upper income, transit oriented and has pedestrian oriented retail. The fact that new developments out in the desert are fairly dense because of geography and growth (water/utilities) limitations doesn't make LA, to me, "least sprawling", but I agree sprawl is somewhat subjective.
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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Yeah, well, it's hard to say how much of LA's higher density is due to crowding. Many census tracts in LA have little in the way of parks, industry, or anything other than residential.

Although the built density is often higher than it looks from the street. You have buildings with rear extension, or back yard cottages, or bungalow courts, or 2-3 storey apartment buildings that stretch all the way to the back of what are rather deep lots. Plus usually there's no space lost to back alleys and city blocks are relatively large, so there's not that much space dedicated to ROWs despite the ROWs being pretty wide.
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