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Old 05-09-2012, 12:51 PM
 
1,108 posts, read 2,152,152 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDAllstar View Post
I think you need to put "urbanity in context". To be urban has nothing to do with size in relation to city propers. If we were judging urbanity of MSA area, then it would be completely different. When it comes to urbanity in the city proper sense of the word, we must measure the percentage of urban build across an entire city per capita. Chicago actually falls farther if you measure it for it's entire land area because it lacks greatly in the neighborhoods that sprawl away from the loop and coast. This is why row house cities or apartment walled cities have a greater density than the Midwestern single family home design. The streets are narrower and the houses lack gaps. The number one rule in urbanity is street interaction of buildings. Creating an uninterrupted street wall is the greatest way to establish ultimate urbanity. Doing this with residential construction is the ultimate way to build livable urbanity. Obviously over the years, planners have learned how to incorporate parks for urban escapes, but the street wall build is maximum urbanity. Visit Paris to see this done to residential perfection.

There is really no comparison if we are just judging the loop etc., but when we take the entire city into account and most people in Chicago don't live in the loop, their existence and daily life is not that urban. The other factor is ease of transit use. Chicago sprawls much like L.A. with extremly densely built single family homes. The other cities on the list have a much denser and more vibrant lifestyle for a larger percentage of the city which is the true measure for urbanity. If I used your measurement for urbanity, Washington DC would have to be ranked there as well because the urban core of buildings is larger than every city except NYC in land area but that is not an accurate measure of the entire city.

San Fran and Boston have the highest percentage of land in their cities built in densely compact blocks. Chicago's core loses it's luster because of its shape in relation to the whole city. Most people living in Chicago don't have the overwelming experience of the loop when they leave their home to walk up the street you are refrering too. European cities are built to be residentially dense and compact. If Chicago had those characteristics in the neighborhoods across the city and covered less land with the same amount of housing, Chicago would have higher transit ridership, retail would have greater density. The city would not have room for strip stores with their own parking lots.

If we compare cities just based on their size instead of their build environment and dominated city wide built form, we will never be able to make accurate comparisons.
I agree with your logic, but I think you're underestimating just how many large swaths of dense, urban areas there are in Chicago. As someone mentioned, South Loop to Rogers Park, as well as many of the areas along the Blue and Brown lines are quite dense and urban over big stretches. Yes, the roads are wider than SF, Boston, or Philly, but the scale of urbanity is second only to NYC. There are very vibrant streetscapes 7-8 miles from downtown. And they're not just nodes of activity but long stretches with tons of retail, dense residential, dense employment, etc.

Pound for pound SF and Boston are more urban, I suppose, but something has to be said for Chicago's scale of urbanity. Even if the areas south of the Loop became their own city, you'd still have the second largest mass of continuous, truly *urban* area in the country.
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Old 05-09-2012, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Earth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwillyfromphilly View Post
First of all when it comes to urban cities New York stands alone as the number #1 city. You make it seem like Chicago is the stand alone number 2 urban city and that there is a huge gap between Chicago and the rest of the cities(similarly to how New York City stands above cities). That is simply not the case.

If anything Chicago is on par with cities like Philadelphia and Boston. You make it seem like Chicago is in its own league like New York City is. By the way I liked all the pics except for the last one. Seems like a direct cheap shot at Philly to boast some sort of inferiority complex with Chicago maybe.

Fact: Chicago has more urban population and buildings than those smaller cities outside NY. Chicago is a bigger city which some people have a hard time excepting this fact.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Washington D.C.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FAReastcoast View Post
Completely agree. Chicago is hands down the second most urban city in the US. It is def closer to SF, Bos, Phi than it is to NYC but it still is considerably more urban than the former in my opinion.
It seems the greatest issue here has more to do with how people measure urbanity in relation to an entire city. From a planner perspective, we measure urbanity by the median meaning when you look at an entire city, what constitutes the average built environment in the city. Many people are pointing to the coast, but that makes up such a small part of Chicago. From overhead, Chicago looks very similar to LA. Moderate density sprawling for miles in the form of single family homes on tiny lots.

I don't know how many of you are football fans but this is a great analogy for you all. I'm a huge college football fan so I'm going to give you a college football example for this analogy. When comparing which teams are the best, coaches measure based on the weakest part of the team. Also, recruiting classes are really built upon 3 stars versus four and five stars on average. You get a few blue chipers, but the true measure of your class is the middle. Urbanity can be measured in the same way. You may have areas that are extremly urban, but what does the majority of your city look like? How dense are the majority of livable areas in your city? What is the street interaction of the majority of buildings in your city?

That's the industry take on it atleast. Anyway, it's been fun.

Last edited by MDAllstar; 05-09-2012 at 01:18 PM..
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Washington D.C.
12,445 posts, read 13,794,717 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orzo View Post
I agree with your logic, but I think you're underestimating just how many large swaths of dense, urban areas there are in Chicago. As someone mentioned, South Loop to Rogers Park, as well as many of the areas along the Blue and Brown lines are quite dense and urban over big stretches. Yes, the roads are wider than SF, Boston, or Philly, but the scale of urbanity is second only to NYC. There are very vibrant streetscapes 7-8 miles from downtown. And they're not just nodes of activity but long stretches with tons of retail, dense residential, dense employment, etc.

Pound for pound SF and Boston are more urban, I suppose, but something has to be said for Chicago's scale of urbanity. Even if the areas south of the Loop became their own city, you'd still have the second largest mass of continuous, truly *urban* area in the country.
This is true, but we have to measure pound for pound. The issues with this comparison are the same reason boxing in different weight classes has to be compared pound for pound. Otherwise, we would never be able to compare cities, boxers, different era's over the last thousand years, etc. etc. Chicago is by far the second most densely built city over the most miles squared. But it's intensity per capita is not even close. If we are taking into account size and not intensity, LA has to be one of the most urban since in most cities you would be in forest very soon with a side by side comparison.
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Twilight zone
3,630 posts, read 7,905,170 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDAllstar View Post
It seems the greatest issue here has more to do with how people measure urbanity in relation to an entire city. From a planner perspective, we measure urbanity by the median meaning when you look at an entire city, what constitutes the average built environment in the city. Many people are pointing to the coast, but that makes up such a small part of Chicago. From overhead, Chicago looks very similar to LA. Moderate density sprawling for miles in the form of single family homes on tiny lots.

I don't know how many of you are football fans but this is a great analogy for you all. I'm a huge college football fan so I'm going to give you a college football example for this analogy. When comparing which teams are the best, coaches measure based on the weakest part of the team. Also, recruiting classes are really built upon 3 stars versus four and five stars on average. You get a few blue chipers, but the true measure of your class is the middle. Urbanity can be measured in the same way. You may have areas that are extremly urban, but what does the majority of your city look like? How dense are the majority of livable areas in your city? What is the street interaction of the majority of buildings in your city?

That's the industry take on it atleast. Anyway, it's been fun.
A lot of buildings that appear to be single family homes may actually have more than one family living in them. Some have upwards to 25 people(or more) in them depending on how many units the building has. I think L.A. has a similar situation in some parts of the city. This is what boosts population desity of certain areas

case in point: two flats

http://blog.lucidrealty.com/charming...o-flat-349850/


http://www.atproperties.com/agents/S...on/recentsales

Examples of a 4 unit building

http://chicago.olx.com/great-locatio...-iid-309997524




mas23

Last edited by mas23; 05-09-2012 at 01:49 PM.. Reason: pictures
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Old 05-09-2012, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Earth
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Pound for pound smaller area comparisons are incomplete but the over all picture is bigger in Chicago and it's far from being linear. You see you have to go further out.






Even further beyond Philly or Boston to accommodate a larger urban population.

Last edited by urbanologist; 05-09-2012 at 02:03 PM..
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:03 PM
 
Location: Washington D.C.
12,445 posts, read 13,794,717 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mas23 View Post
A lot of buildings that appear to be single family homes may actually have more than one family living in them. Some have upwards to 25 people(or more) in them depending on how many units the building has. I think L.A. has a similar situation in some parts of the city. This is what boosts population desity of certain areas

case in point: two flats

Chicago 2 Flat, multi-family, for sale $349,850 - 2552 W. Iowa, 60622


Personal Site of Scott G Peterson, 1586 N. Clybourn, Chicago, IL 60642 - Office Name Lincoln Park

Examples of a 4 unit building

Great Location 2-4 Unit building - Chicago - Houses - Apartments for Sale




mas23
I'm not talking about population density. I'm talking about structural density meaning built environment. Single family homes are not urban like row houses or street walled apartment buildings. When I say street walled apartment buildings, I mean without breaks between buildings.
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:18 PM
 
5,348 posts, read 9,581,296 times
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NYC
Chicago (DT & Highrises)
SF
Philly/Boston
DC/Baltimore
Chicago (Residential)

I have been to Chicago 100's of times. The city is huge which is a gift and a curse. The DT areas are extremely urban. Second behind NYC. However, large swaths of residential areas on the west and southsides are not that urban to me. All of the homes are single family bungalos and flats. You can see this flying into Midway. Miles and miles of homes with parking spaces in the front yard. Miles of strip malls with surface parking lots and big box stores like Walmart. Large areas of Chicago look like east coast suburbs. You will not find miles of strip malls in DC, Boston, Baltimore & Philly. This kills Chicago's residential urbanity. Pound for pound, Chicago does not have the structual density that east coast cities have because of the row houses. This is the typical southside look and feel and it doesn't compare to miles and miles of rowhomes IMO.
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Twilight zone
3,630 posts, read 7,905,170 times
Reputation: 1729
Quote:
Originally Posted by MDAllstar View Post
I'm not talking about population density. I'm talking about structural density meaning built environment. Single family homes are not urban like row houses or street walled apartment buildings. When I say street walled apartment buildings, I mean without breaks between buildings.
No they're not. but Im just correcting the statement about single family homes on tiny lots.




mas23
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Old 05-09-2012, 02:25 PM
 
5,348 posts, read 9,581,296 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanologist View Post
Pound for pound smaller area comparisons are incomplete but the over all picture is bigger in Chicago and it's far from being linear. You see you have to go further out.






Even further beyond Philly or Boston to accommodate a larger urban population.
The west and southside of Chicago doesn't look anything like that. The southside is 60% of Chicago's land area.
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