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  #161  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2017, 8:10 PM
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Originally Posted by johnnypd View Post
The US does those linear inner city suburbs built to a grid really well, with good quality, spacious housing either side of a commercial strip. Often the Downtown area can be a little underwhelming, especially when you see the impressive skylines but on the ground they can be somewhat quiet and lacking in real activity or character. But then you have the really livable, interesting areas outside of that. I'd imagine the typology is derived from the British high street, with the difference that in the US the roads are longer and straighter. I think on here there's a bit of an inferiority complex about US cities and yes they have problems, have been impacted by the car, white flight, decay and so on. But personally I'd rather live in inner Chicago than say, the equivalent neighbourhood in Madrid.
good points! I agree, in London you have concentrations around what I imagine were formally villages swallowed up in the London sprawl. Whereas in the US, the linear grid was planned for model Ts or streetcars in the 10s and 20s.

of course, not all cities have been able to preserve this type of urban design, which I imagine is what drives the original point people were debating.
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  #162  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2017, 11:16 PM
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Basically every neighbourhood will have a 'high street' no matter how far from the centre you are, which will thread along to other 'high streets', and go for miles.
One block away will be housing. The difference from the US is smaller shopping streets will intersect all along the main one, and mix together as they pass the centre.
And no single family homes, just dense residentials.





Battersea's (the street jammed with traffic):


www.gqdesign.com

www.wickham.eu/blog

Whitechapel's leads from the impoverished working class high street right into the main financial district



and passes the second financial district 7 km later


www.rightmove.co.uk


Marylebone Road connects Paddington where it starts (leaving the A40), or Hammersmith





connects up to Kings Cross (5 - 17 km depending on where you reckon it starts)



Goldhawk Road (at left) becomes...





...Oxford Street 8km later, when it hits the city centre - Note even though we're in the centre now these still have the traditional businesses/ institutions/ shops facing
the main street but residentials straight behind (though of course they're now converted to offices/ hotels/ billionaires pads).



Likewise Piccadilly that threads through the upper class mansion blocks of West End London...




...started off as the Great West Rd 15 km earlier.



www.getwestlondon.co.uk


...which became Cromwell Rd then Brompton Rd then Knightsbridge after 12km



www.boriswatch.co.uk


by the time it approaches the edge of the centre it now looks like this, - grander buildings but still the businesses facing, residentials behind:


Last edited by muppet; Jul 15, 2017 at 12:04 PM.
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  #163  
Old Posted Jul 14, 2017, 11:56 PM
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uh, I think the debate is about nodes vs linear concentrations. Of course central London is going to have both (so does NY/northern NJ and other major world cities with massive populations). New York has Broadway, and downtown/midtown/uptown.

but what about say, Portland and Helsinki?

Portland

Helsinki (roughly same scale)

outside of the core, activity in Helsinki is mostly concentrated in nodes clustered at former villages that were swallowed by sprawl. these nodes have retail, rail, and residential. In between are houses, apartment developments, and forests.

Outside the core of Portland, the activity is concentration on linear streets. In SE and NE Portland, restaurants and retail can be found along the length of Alberta, Hawthorne, Belmont, Division, etc.

Portland:



Helsinki:

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  #164  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2017, 12:00 AM
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So five miles of nearly continuous retail along a given street doesn't count because the surrounding neighborhoods are also dense?
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  #165  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2017, 12:02 AM
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are you talking about london (which is irrelevant to this conversation, I don't know why it was brought up), or say, helsinki or Stockholm or Oslo or some northern German cities? you will not find 5 miles of continuous retail on a dedicated street in the latter cities. you will in similar size US cities. the activity level in a place like Portland doesn't pale in comparison to Helsinki, it's just that the activity is stretched out a bit more owing to 1900-1920 city planning based on model Ts and streetcars which concentrates everything on a linear street as opposed to a rail node.
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  #166  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2017, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by dc_denizen View Post
of course I have. maybe you should try to understand the point that I'm trying to make re: linearity vs concentrated nodes.

Places like London, while they have high streets, don't funnel activity to major blvds in such a linear way as US cities do. you have residential/commercial uses mixed to a greater degree, and you don't have such a standard street grid as in the US.
Yes, they do.

And US cities, the real ones, also mix commercial and residential activity. Commercial on the ground floor, residential above. This is the same in basically every city everywhere throughout urban history.
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  #167  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2017, 10:24 AM
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Okay DC, what you're saying is that in the US long radial strips of density/ retail/ businesses follow along main arteries, sided by residentials.

whereas in Europe they cluster around nodes (former villages and towns swallowed by the larger city):



where suburbs meet a centre:




So far so right imo.

However, European cities will also have the strips of density/ retail/ businesses along the main arteries also, on top of the clustering nodes.

Helsinki's land use shows both the nodes as well as the arterial strips



You can see one such example at top left that connects Ruskeasuo to Kuappatori 6km away.



I used to live in Helsinki and this is a main artery lined like this becoming the main drag for 5 other 'nodes' / city districts. It eventually becomes a highway as it leaves the city entirely
but will ultimately end as the main street of the city of Tampere, 180km away.

The street passes through Helsinki's other districts


Also look again at Helsinki's centre. This may at first look like typical city centre density, but it's actually the same pattern. The main street with all the activity is at top,
and is sided by residentials one block in - they just aren't recognisable lowrise detached houses, but apartment blocks.



main street at right



The city centres will actually have a great deal of residentials in patchwork blocks from the arteries, just they resemble the businesses in built form and start to look
the same morass. (This is the more continental, less Nordic Copenhagen btw)




I think you're right that there is a marked difference in look, especially with the sharper delineation in the US between residential and business (whereas in Europe they're the
same bulk or share the same building), and added to by the dead straight streets. But the format in Europe is not dissimilar. It also has long streets sided with business and retail,
stretching for miles, cutting through residential. It's wrong to say Northern Europe doesn't have this, as it's natural that major arteries will attract business the world over.

Last edited by muppet; Jul 15, 2017 at 10:09 PM.
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  #168  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2017, 5:49 PM
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If Portland is the example it's a poor one. Even on its best neighborhood avenues (Hawthorne etc.) the retail is concentrated and otherwise spotty. Same here in somewhat-denser Seattle.

London is only the poster child for the "high street" format. Paris too. Barcelona also has solid retail avenues through town. And Athens. And basically everywhere I've been. I haven't been to Scandinavia so maybe it's different there.
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  #169  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2017, 6:14 PM
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^ Athens/barcelona etc are southern European cities which have a level of density that surpasses anything in the US or northern Europe. Compare Helsinki to Madrid: Helsinki's built environment (outside of the compact downtown) is mostly 2-6 story apartments, rowhouses and single family homes separated by forests. meanwhile madrid is all apartment buildings . I'm not talking about Portland vs Athens here.

Helsinki has an active center, which then quickly falls into a less active suburban fringe. Try finding a good restaurant in Finnish suburb...they don't exist as most of that type of activity occurs in the city center.

Portland has a (less) active center, but the activity level (restaurants/retail etc) is spread out across more square miles owing to linear retail streets. try finding a good restaurant on Division or Hawthorne or Belmont or Alberta? pretty darn easy.

Portland:

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  #170  
Old Posted Jul 15, 2017, 6:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
If Portland is the example it's a poor one. Even on its best neighborhood avenues (Hawthorne etc.) the retail is concentrated and otherwise spotty. Same here in somewhat-denser Seattle.

London is only the poster child for the "high street" format. Paris too. Barcelona also has solid retail avenues through town. And Athens. And basically everywhere I've been. I haven't been to Scandinavia so maybe it's different there.
Tokyo has well....has very dense, active avenues and high streets, then very quiet residential alleys and streets hidden away from the main action.
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  #171  
Old Posted Jul 17, 2017, 11:46 PM
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When i look at old black and white photos of american cities they appear much busier, full of people, life, more vibrancy. Trams, stations, open spaces full of people, narrow streets full of people, restaurants, department stores etc, very european like. Something must have happened since then that really changed things and did a number on many american cities... white flight/auto centrism/suburbanisation?
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  #172  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2017, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by picard View Post
When i look at old black and white photos of american cities they appear much busier, full of people, life, more vibrancy. Trams, stations, open spaces full of people, narrow streets full of people, restaurants, department stores etc, very european like. Something must have happened since then that really changed things and did a number on many american cities... white flight/auto centrism/suburbanisation?
I think a combination of white flight, and cheaper housing in the suburbs along with a glorification campaign of 1950's suburban living. It was the trend, the "thing" to do. Plus, a crapload of military personell looking to come home, and start a family.
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