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Old 04-17-2015, 02:41 PM
 
1,008 posts, read 867,649 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorge Bueno View Post
Europeanflava,

"Because West Europe cities are more close and more pedestrian friendly. You will not look stupid for traveling by foot throughout much of Western Europe like you will in much of America.

American cities are more spaced out and more dependent on transportation to get places."

This is true, in your opinion is the pedestrian friendly nature of European cities superior, inferior, incomparable etc.. to North American cities?

I am of the opinion that more pedestrian friendly cities are far superior to car dependent cities. I don't think I am alone in thinking this at all, but yet the vast majority of housing in the US is built along the car/sprawl model, this include many of the largest metros in North America. Do people really prefer this way of living? Or is just that the market offer few alternatives and the walkable alternatives on offer are typically expensive places to live and relatively rare in North America.
The pedestrian friendly nature of Europe hoods is superior in my opinion. A car culture makes people uncaring of others feelings. I would say most people don't prefer that but just accept it as a way of life if they wish to live in America and not along one of the two seaboards. Inner America is spread out and you can literally go hundreds of miles from one major city to the next. Definantly not a place to meet new people and save on gas.
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Old 04-17-2015, 03:02 PM
 
9,868 posts, read 8,669,212 times
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The fact that many people refuse to accept that a 100% car dependent suburban life is inferior is frustrating.

Yes, Europeans drive too, and yes there are walkable American neighbourhoods in certain cities, but for Christ's sake, take a look at public transit maps in Munich, Barcelona, Lisbon, Vienna (not mention first tier city such as London and Paris), and tell me whether driving a damn car is absolutely necessary every day.

Munich for example, has a metro population of 5.6 million, similar to Miami, Houston, or Philadelphia, and its transit map looks like this

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Old 04-17-2015, 03:08 PM
 
1,711 posts, read 737,233 times
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I think the answer is partly dependent on what a nation values. A nation might well excel at what it values; and not at what it is indifferent too.

If there is a lack of a countervailing tradition, I expect that the majority (or, at the least, a plurality) will set the tone. I recall a comment that the USA lacks a tradition of city living.
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Old 04-17-2015, 03:21 PM
 
Location: M I N N E S O T A
14,607 posts, read 15,256,455 times
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We like what we have... thanks anyways.
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Old 04-17-2015, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Brussels
420 posts, read 301,441 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iNviNciBL3 View Post
We like what we have... thanks anyways.
you (as a whole) kind of don't, because as some other poster said many American cities are trying to reinvent themselves into some new urban planning that puts in the middle of things the person, and not the car.... We are not in the 70s when GM was GM and Detroit was Detroit... And there is an increasing number of Americans who don't have a car (because they choose not to have it). Times are a'changing.
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Old 04-17-2015, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,673 posts, read 65,562,129 times
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Town planning in the USA is largely done by a cabal of businessmen who engage in the process only to maximize the profits generated by their business. Normally, members of planning commissions are uncompensated appointees, and volunteers are largely businessmen who sell cars, insurance, real estate, or financial instruments. They plan the town in such a way that it is easy for a citizenry with money and automobiles to access the marketplace.
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Old 04-17-2015, 03:42 PM
 
Location: M I N N E S O T A
14,607 posts, read 15,256,455 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kikebxl View Post
you (as a whole) kind of don't, because as some other poster said many American cities are trying to reinvent themselves into some new urban planning that puts in the middle of things the person, and not the car.... We are not in the 70s when GM was GM and Detroit was Detroit... And there is an increasing number of Americans who don't have a car (because they choose not to have it). Times are a'changing.
This is happening on a pretty small scale, yes.... but just because you are making somewhere more pedestrian friendly doesn't mean you are making it "European"

Europe is not special in that area, there are walkable places all over the world.... not just Europe.

American suburbs are still booming and they stick to the same model they have been using, spread out single family homes... because that is what people like here. they don't want to live in a "European like city" which is why people aren't building them on a big scale (as in as much as what they are doing in the suburbs)
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Old 04-17-2015, 04:04 PM
 
61 posts, read 61,917 times
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"You will not look stupid for traveling by foot throughout much of Western Europe like you will in much of America."

This is very true, I travel the US a lot for work. I feel like this in Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, etc..all of these cities have nice areas and I don't mean to pick on them. That being said they all have a token walkable area or maybe several. However, it seems like people typically travel by car to the walkable areas. They park and then walk around a select few blocks then get in their car to leave. I was recently in Columbus, Georgia, for work I had to walk through a small wooded areas and through two parking lots just to get to a restaurant about 200 ft away without using a car, there were no sidewalks or anything, just 4 lane roads and chain stores/hotels. At the restaurant there was a large bar and lots of drinking... Granted I was in the suburban area of a small city and this was the closest restaurant, but I still don't understand why anyone would prefer driving everywhere instead of walking, riding a bike, or reading a book/iphone on the bus/subway etc.. Why wouldn't you want to be able to walk to a grocery store, restaurant, bar, library, public square etc...
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Old 04-17-2015, 04:11 PM
 
61 posts, read 61,917 times
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"And there is an increasing number of Americans who don't have a car (because they choose not to have it). Times are a'changing."

This is true, but the change is so slow and seems like a token gesture in many sprawling US cities, just something to brag about it like a little tram line. To my knowledge you can only truly live car free without any real problems in portions of Toronto, Chicago, New York City. Those are the only cities I know of that it is very common not to have a car and their is zero stigma for the rich to well off to ride public transpo (subway, bus etc..). I think Montreal, Boston, San Francisco, DC and Philly offer this on a smaller scale. Quite frankly, even small European cities of little history or note typically offer superior mass transpo, walk-ability, and quality of life than most "top" US cities.

It is interesting that when some West European cities were bombed out during WWII they didn't rebuild them as car sprawling cities, but dense walkable cities with excellent public transport. Where there is a will there is a way I suppose, perhaps North America can save/rebuild some it's formerly dense cities (Cleveland, Buffalo, Detroit) which all have large wealthy sprawling suburbs, and bring the best North American cities for transpo like Chicago, NYC, San Francisco, and Toronto up to European standards.

"The fact that many people refuse to accept that a 100% car dependent suburban life is inferior is frustrating."

I always find that odd as well.
1. I think this may come from a lack of exposure and education about the rest of the world and better ways of life. Also to be fair it doesn't help that North Americans get little vacation time, flying to Europe/East Asia/S. America can be expensive when you have student loans/mortgage/kids etc..
2. I suppose it may truly be a preference for some people, I actually know a few that being exposed to both urban life and suburban life chose car life. I know people that love driving, maybe it is the privacy, the supposed freedom it offers, and the cheap big private houses are appealing to many. Many grew up being shuttled around by car so maybe they just like it. Its their natural state as odd as it seems, how else can anyone explain the popularity of huge car metros in the US?
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Old 04-17-2015, 04:19 PM
 
61 posts, read 61,917 times
Reputation: 81
"American suburbs are still booming and they stick to the same model they have been using, spread out single family homes... because that is what people like here. they don't want to live in a "European like city" which is why people aren't building them on a big scale (as in as much as what they are doing in the suburbs)"

I agree that it may be true that most North Americans prefer suburbs. But out of 3000 million people, I think many don't desire a care lifestyle. Perhaps there really isn't enough demand or maybe it is just a lack of government interest to promote different infrastructure. I think many residents of Chicago or New York City or San Francisco would prefer to live in a European city than another car city in the US, I could be wrong and this a generalization as many former residents of these cities to often move to cheaper less hectic warm weather cities after presumably making some money. If the big dense US cities weren't so expensive, maybe more people would probably want to live a more walkable lifestyle, like Western Europeans do. There are few options in North America really, especially for walkable smaller and medium sized cities with good public transpo.
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