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Old 06-16-2015, 11:25 AM
 
10,275 posts, read 10,343,474 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mag3.14 View Post
You mean get crime up to European levels right? Baltimore aside, most American towns would be horrified at the crime rates of many a Euro nation
True. The U.S. has a huge murder and violent crime problem, but generally has lower crime rates than most of Europe. You are far more likely to (say) have your purse stolen or your apartment burglarized in Paris or London as opposed to NYC or LA.
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Old 06-18-2015, 10:32 PM
 
2,639 posts, read 1,995,194 times
Reputation: 1988
I think that Chinese cities might be worth a look. Traditionally they had a rectangular geometry.
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Old 06-19-2015, 10:07 AM
 
471 posts, read 621,545 times
Reputation: 390
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorge Bueno View Post
I'm curious what others think here... Why don't North American developers and city planners every try to emulate Western European towns or cities when building new suburbs/towns/redeveloping cities centers in North America, such as with plaza, piazzas, squares, more walkable streets, etc..?

In my opinion, if I were to magically transport any half decent medium sized city from Italy, France or Spain for example into North America , it would instantly be consider one of the best cities in North America. I could choose a city most North Americans(or many W. Europeans) have never even heard of or only vaguely familiar with and it would be superior in lay out, walkability, public transportation and overall quality of life to nearly all US cities save maybe a few smaller gems and some of our major cities like Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Toronto, New York City, Montreal, etc.. I think Western European cities are by and large better than North American cities from a quality of life standpoint. Western European cities are much better for pedestrians, bikers, and mass transportation (lots of planning, history, and money/taxes there). Only a handful of North American cities are pedestrian friendly and offer decent public transportation like Chicago, New York City, and Toronto. By the way major cities in North America could use some serious makeovers as well in public transportation, more and better public spaces, improve bike friendliness, and housing development.

I'm not saying that Western European cities don't have problems, ugly ghettos, or no sprawl, many do. I lived in Italy for several years and traveled a great deal, I saw many very ugly suburbs, industrial holes, bombed out neighborhoods etc... However, most European cities and towns overall are simply superior to cities and towns in North America from quality of living and attractiveness standpoint. Part of the problem is certainly the obsession with building everything from a car centric point of view in North America. Also, North American cities not only suffer terrible planning, but are full of big box stores on the periphery. Perhaps, this is more of a political/economic issue that could be only addressed on a national level. Perhaps the United States and Canada would be better off if they made it more difficult for big box stores to operate. In my opinion they take away more from the community than they give back in taxes, wages, and to my point above they negatively impact the walkability and attractiveness of cities, especially newer sunbelt cities and small towns. They are often awful to walk in, and offer horrible public transportation. Small towns in the US have by and large seen their downtown cores completely hollowed out. 5 miles from the old dead town center there will be an ugly concentration of parking lots, fast food, and big box stores. Not only is it ugly, but you can basically get off any highway in the US and be in the same ugly parking lot and big box setting anywhere in North America. Even the best US cities suffer from too many chains and ugly box stores in my opinion.

So again, I ask... Why don't North American developers and city planners ever try to emulate Western European towns or cities when building new suburbs/towns/redeveloping cities centers in North America with plaza, piazzas, squares, more walkable streets etc..? Perhaps this would involve changes in politics and economics as well. Some things like 2000+ years of city evolution are clearly out of a city's control, but even many bombed out(literally) European cities or newer developments are typically superior to US sprawl. Any opinions provided or perspective are appreciated whether you disagree, agree or have some ideas. Also I mean no insult to anyone, I'm just curious why North American cities/towns overall are so undesirable compared to European cities/towns overall.
The government needs the tax dollars you pay when you get gas.

Also, crime would increase exponentially if we had walkable cities.
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Old 06-19-2015, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,811 posts, read 5,628,082 times
Reputation: 4009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zapruder View Post
I totally agree with this post.

I refuse to live on top of other people this is why I live on a little over one acre of land in a semi rural outlying suburb.
I don't want anyone near me. If want or need something I will drive the five miles to the main boulevard where my favorite grocery stores and home improvement centers are located.
I get my exercise as a distance runner and run every day.

You can take your urban lifestyle Bull***t and enjoy it yourself. That's not for me or seemingly the majority of others in the center of the country.
So true with your last statement!! The OP needs to understand that suburban development happened and is still happening because it's what the majority of people WANT! If people didn't want it, then it would stop developing that way. Money talks, and if people were demanding more urban type of development and not flocking to all the suburban development then things would change. Developers are not stupid- they want to make profits and will build where and what the masses want.
If 80% want suburban type of housing and 20% want urban type of housing, sure you may see those 20% and they seem like big numbers on forums like these- but people need to realize that other 80% is still a vast majority, and that's why things are the way they are now. Sure you are seeing more urban types of development to accommodate that 20% or so because there is money in it- but the other 80% is why car centric, suburban types of development is still growing at explosive rates in almost all metro areas in the US these days.
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Old 06-19-2015, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,811 posts, read 5,628,082 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
I read comments like this all the time and I get lots of Europeans visiting me and I live in a fairly auto-dependent area no one has ever said anything negative and many are openly envious of the space we have, the pool, the trees, etc.

Now, where I live isn't like Houston or a place like that, and so there are attractive walkable areas not that far away either in the immediate area or in the major cities that are a couple of hours away from us.

But no one has ever said anything like: "Ewww, we're going to a restaurant and taking the car... that's so... 1957..."

I mean, where they live in outer Paris, Milan or Stockholm they pretty much do the same TBQH.
Same here! Slightly different situation, my wife is from China, so her friends and family back home are used to using the subway or buses to get to most places, too. But when they come here to visit us they don't complain, they love that we can all just hop into our comfortable car and drive to where we want to go instead of walking very far in heat or cold, or having to go get onto a bus.
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Old 06-19-2015, 11:57 AM
 
520 posts, read 532,433 times
Reputation: 821
You can count me in on the 'hell yeah for suburban life' front. Im in the glorious massive west coast and my nearest approximation of a living hell would be to be stuck in an urban city surrounded by the mass of humanity and without a car to get the f out of there. I LOVE my car and I love the rivers, and mountains, and miles of evergreen forests around here. You can take your Euro living and stuff it where the sun dont shine.
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Old 06-19-2015, 12:19 PM
 
Location: Bothell, Washington
2,811 posts, read 5,628,082 times
Reputation: 4009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Meyers View Post
You can count me in on the 'hell yeah for suburban life' front. Im in the glorious massive west coast and my nearest approximation of a living hell would be to be stuck in an urban city surrounded by the mass of humanity and without a car to get the f out of there. I LOVE my car and I love the rivers, and mountains, and miles of evergreen forests around here. You can take your Euro living and stuff it where the sun dont shine.
Yes, I forgot to mention this aspect! We out here in the west don't feel that everything we ever want or need in life is within the confines of the urban area where the buses or trains go. We go very often out to the beaches, to the mountains, we go camping, we go hiking, we go on road trips, etc. Fridays after work here in the Seattle area are quite a scene, with freeways jammed with cars of all shapes and sizes headed out of the city with kayaks strapped to the top, with camping gear stuffed in the trunk, or even pulling trailer campers behind them. We couldn't live car free and do that- with the frequency with which people go "out" like that, we'd be spending more on zip cars than we do on car payments.
And not just on weekends, but just at the spur of the moment if it's a nice evening we'll pack up the kid and a picnic basket and head out to a beach to have dinner and enjoy the sunset. What a pain it would be to have to think about getting a zip car for that trip with no advanced warning!
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Old 06-19-2015, 01:10 PM
 
2,639 posts, read 1,995,194 times
Reputation: 1988
In Seattle we have both options: 1. Urban amenities 2. Access to nature
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Old 06-19-2015, 01:30 PM
 
2,639 posts, read 1,995,194 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jm31828 View Post
So true with your last statement!! The OP needs to understand that suburban development happened and is still happening because it's what the majority of people WANT! Sure you are seeing more urban types of development to accommodate that 20% or so because there is money in it- but the other 80% is why car centric, suburban types of development is still growing at explosive rates in almost all metro areas in the US these days.
As for city living, about the only demand would be from individuals who, by temperament, are inclined to love it-a small minority.

And in the USA there is no real tradition of city living, no real culture of city living, and no real tradition of city building.

Most of the cities that exist were thrown together in a big rush, not grown organically over centuries.

Think of them as crude improvisions that were slapped together. And that is what you have to work with if you want to promote city living.

Last edited by Tim Randal Walker; 06-19-2015 at 01:50 PM..
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Old 06-19-2015, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Vancouver
18,504 posts, read 15,564,431 times
Reputation: 11937
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Randal Walker View Post
In Seattle we have both options: 1. Urban amenities 2. Access to nature
I can vouch for this
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