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  #41  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2019, 1:44 PM
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10023 10023 is offline
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I was thinking about examples like this. I mean, Barcelona is a beautiful city overall. But if you have narrow streets like that, you can't actually get a good look at the facades of the buildings on their upper stories anyway. You can have simple, functional structures. The built condition of the public right of way becomes far more important than the building itself.

Or hell, look at Naples. It's a much grittier, less touristy city. A lot of the individual buildings - although old, are nothing special in terms of design. But the heterogeneity means you never know what you're going to find when you round the next corner. To me that's the most central part of a great pedestrian experience - being able to wander around on foot and be constantly surprised by what you find.
I still think you’re wrong.

Aesthetics are not just visual. With old stone or brick buildings, those narrow alleys feel quaint, cosy and inviting. With post-war poured in place concrete and lots of blank walls, they feel oppressive and unsafe.
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  #42  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2019, 2:00 PM
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
The built condition of the public right of way becomes far more important than the building itself.
I think we can find a pretty good example of what you're talking about right here in Pittsburgh... Walnut Street in Shadyside.

It's very likely the least architecturally pleasing commercial district in Pittsburgh (with much of it being comprised of post war ugliness and/or remuddled-beyond-recognition victorian era structures), but still it is also among the most popular shopping/dining/drinking/strolling areas and sought after real estate due to its location/satisfying pedestrian experience.
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  #43  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2019, 2:23 PM
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
To me that's the most central part of a great pedestrian experience - being able to wander around on foot and be constantly surprised by what you find.
In Germany, however, the heterogeneity of the urban landscape was damaged, because the postwar replacement buildings have larger footprints, more blank walls, greater auto accommodation and cheaper, more generic facades. Also, many roadways were widened or straightened, and cores often added ring roads. The street-level experience in, say, Naples, is far superior to that of any major city in Germany.

Granted, the German cores remained extremely successful, with heavy foot traffic, high property values, high transit usage, etc. but this is more a function of German public policy/regulatory authority than design. For example, the high streets remained packed, but Germany essentially banned large-scale retail outside of city centers until recently.
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  #44  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2019, 3:42 PM
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Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
I still think you’re wrong.

Aesthetics are not just visual. With old stone or brick buildings, those narrow alleys feel quaint, cosy and inviting. With post-war poured in place concrete and lots of blank walls, they feel oppressive and unsafe.

So then the problem is blank walls. With more active, engaging frontages & intimate scale the materials, details, and design matter less.

Do these post-war streets feel oppressive and unsafe?


2018-05-12 12.59.38 1 by Eric H, on Flickr


2018-04-28 11.49.40 2 by Eric H, on Flickr


(though again, this isn't hard to achieve with infill based on an existing historic urban template)
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  #45  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2019, 4:03 PM
Crawford Crawford is offline
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Japanese cities are vibrant, livable and interesting, but irredeemably ugly. I've only been there once, but I don't think they match up well with Western European cities. Everything looks ramshackle and like it's about to collapse, like you see in big Latin American cities.
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  #46  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2019, 4:28 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
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Originally Posted by pj3000 View Post
I think we can find a pretty good example of what you're talking about right here in Pittsburgh... Walnut Street in Shadyside.

It's very likely the least architecturally pleasing commercial district in Pittsburgh (with much of it being comprised of post war ugliness and/or remuddled-beyond-recognition victorian era structures), but still it is also among the most popular shopping/dining/drinking/strolling areas and sought after real estate due to its location/satisfying pedestrian experience.
Right.

For non-Pittsburgh folks, this is the location he's talking about. The Google Car came by at a quiet time - the streets aren't usually that dead.

Compared to other - more architecturally nice - business districts in Pittsburgh it basically has two things going for it:

1. Four blocks of entirely unbroken street walls, aside from some cross streets and alleyways, all of which are in active use commercially.

2. More importantly - and uniquely - it's on a very narrow street for a commercial district. Curb-to-curb it's only about 30 feet wide. The other major commercial streets in Pittsburgh in contrast are between 37 and 50 feet wide, including parking lanes. It's much easier to get the whole comfy-cozy "outdoor room" vibe going - even with short buildings - if you're working off of a narrow street.
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  #47  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2019, 8:34 PM
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Right.

For non-Pittsburgh folks, this is the location he's talking about. The Google Car came by at a quiet time - the streets aren't usually that dead.

Compared to other - more architecturally nice - business districts in Pittsburgh it basically has two things going for it:

1. Four blocks of entirely unbroken street walls, aside from some cross streets and alleyways, all of which are in active use commercially.

2. More importantly - and uniquely - it's on a very narrow street for a commercial district. Curb-to-curb it's only about 30 feet wide. The other major commercial streets in Pittsburgh in contrast are between 37 and 50 feet wide, including parking lanes. It's much easier to get the whole comfy-cozy "outdoor room" vibe going - even with short buildings - if you're working off of a narrow street.
I think its unique and refreshing.
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  #48  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2019, 3:36 PM
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
To me that's the most central part of a great pedestrian experience - being able to wander around on foot and be constantly surprised by what you find.
Yes. 100% yes!
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  #49  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2019, 4:48 PM
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Flatten the whole thing and begin again.
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  #50  
Old Posted Aug 2, 2019, 7:26 PM
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Wicker Park in Chicago here. Pretty much an ideal urban neighborhood in a lot of respects as far as what SSP typically values.

It long ago "gentrified" but is now at the point of overheating and pricing out the record stores and artists and so forth that made it cool to begin with.
Small quirky places feeling pressure.. It has the problem that some popular cities have but on a neighborhood scale - same with Logan Square nearby.

There's talk of organizing collectives and so forth to keep it affordable for legacy businesses and artists etc.
And I realize I am technically part of the problem.

also too many app-enabled motorized scooters probably
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