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  #21  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 1:02 PM
Crawford Crawford is online now
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Originally Posted by aaron38 View Post
Why can't that be built anymore? Since when? I was in Nuremberg Germany last year I stayed at City Center Apartments in this building. (Right side of alley, behind the tree). It's not pre-war construction, but it felt fairly new and modern. But it blends right in. Had an elevator for accessibility. Build these everywhere.

https://www.google.com/maps/@49.4515...2!8i6656?hl=en
You find this streetscape attractive? Looks banal/utilitarian, at best. Typical slapdash postwar German reconstruction.
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  #22  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 1:05 PM
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Originally Posted by aaron38 View Post
Why can't that be built anymore? Since when? I was in Nuremberg Germany last year I stayed at City Center Apartments in this building. (Right side of alley, behind the tree). It's not pre-war construction, but it felt fairly new and modern. But it blends right in. Had an elevator for accessibility. Build these everywhere.

https://www.google.com/maps/@49.4515...2!8i6656?hl=en
Aside from the architecture not being attractive, there is a difference between sticking modern buildings into an existing 19th century urban fabric, and building a new pre-automobile urban fabric from scratch.
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  #23  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 1:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
You find this streetscape attractive? Looks banal/utilitarian, at best. Typical slapdash postwar German reconstruction.
I don't get it. It's pedestrian friendly, bike friendly, retail all over. Dense but not overbearing, mass transit everywhere. If that's not an attractive urban streetscape, then what is?
I fell in love with the streets of Nuremberg and it didn't bother me that I didn't love every single building. It's how they form a cohesive whole.

What do you suggest instead?
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  #24  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 3:14 PM
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Originally Posted by muppet View Post

Wow this is about the most beautiful streetscape I have ever seen.

Anyway, I'm pretty happy with my neighborhood, although I think it needs more density (along with a lot of non-core neighborhoods in Chicago) as de-conversations threaten some of the urban amenities we love. A couple of years ago Lincoln Ave (a main arterial street through my and many other neighborhoods) lost its bus route--the alderman at the time cited a loss of density due to de-conversions as one of the main culprits. Currently anything off the main arterial streets is zoned as SFH residential so the only multifamily buildings in the neighborhood were basically grandfathered in (luckily there are quite a few). Change that first.

Secondly, Chicago has to get out from under the DISASTROUS deal that privatized metered parking the city. That way we could begin taking underused parking lanes out and adding in dedicated bus routes, greatly expanding the reach, viability and appeal of non-rail transit in the city.

Some random empty lots and surface lots around the neighborhood need to go, but there is good movement on that front.

Lastly, a more attrative/pedestrian friendly Irving Park Rd (Wider sidewalks with more planters/streets, protected bike lanes, etc.): https://www.google.com/maps/@41.9542...7i16384!8i8192
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  #25  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 3:22 PM
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I live in Astoria/LIC in Queens. I would build the BQX streetcar to Brooklyn and push most of the taxi traffic from 21st Street over onto Vernon Blvd. I’d also extend the N train to LaGuardia Airport.
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  #26  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 3:24 PM
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Originally Posted by aaron38 View Post
I don't get it. It's pedestrian friendly, bike friendly, retail all over. Dense but not overbearing, mass transit everywhere. If that's not an attractive urban streetscape, then what is?
I fell in love with the streets of Nuremberg and it didn't bother me that I didn't love every single building. It's how they form a cohesive whole.

What do you suggest instead?
Man, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that setting. You don't have to justify your tastes. It's not post card charming but who cares, it looks very livable.
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  #27  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 3:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Handro View Post
Wow this is about the most beautiful streetscape I have ever seen.
And it's fake.
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  #28  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 4:07 PM
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Originally Posted by subterranean View Post
And it's fake.
Ah I see now, damn. Still, the real life version is great: https://www.google.com/maps/@51.5212...7i16384!8i8192
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  #29  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 5:35 PM
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Commercial Vitality:

There is no two ways around it - our local business district sucks. There's around 40 potential spaces for business. Some of them are vacant, or used as apartment units. A larger proportion are used by functional but "boring" businesses - realtors, small law firms, physical therapists, etc. Somehow, we support four different women's hair salons. But in terms of amenities my family and I use, there's very little. There's a neighborhood pub and restaurant with some nice outdoor seating, but the food is terrible. We finally got a coffeeshop again this month after a two-year absence. My wife sometimes uses a fabric store which relocated from another, more expensive neighborhood nearby. But after that the biggest neighborhood amenity for us is the Rite-Aid.

I have some faith that as the neighborhood continues to skew more young and upscale, the business mix will begin to change. But the central development problem is the neighborhood only has a bit over 3,000 people, which is not enough in the modern era to sustain a full-service business district.
Yeah, I've kinda always been a little puzzled as to why Morningside's and Highland Park's biz districts suck. Bryant St. in HP certainly has some nice amenities -- a few good restaurants mainly.. but not a decent bar (which is weird to me in Pittsburgh). Morningside's commercial activity, while boring like you said, is actually much more substantial in extent and function than Highland Park's... with HP's really just being that short few-block stretch of Bryant... and it still cannot get tenants for that development they built 5 years ago.

I guess both became a bit isolated when East Liberty was a no-go zone in the 80s and 90s, and haven't really recovered, with much of the main activity being centered in East Liberty, then and now.
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  #30  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 6:09 PM
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Originally Posted by aaron38 View Post
I don't get it. It's pedestrian friendly, bike friendly, retail all over. Dense but not overbearing, mass transit everywhere. If that's not an attractive urban streetscape, then what is?
It's cheap, banal Cold War design, aging poorly, with little context or character. It replaced stuff like this:

Strasbourg:
https://www.google.com/maps/@48.5813...7i13312!8i6656

Bern:
https://www.google.com/maps/@46.9479...7i13312!8i6656

Graz:
https://www.google.com/maps/@47.0706...7i13312!8i6656

So, yeah, I don't like it, considering what it replaced. It's why Germany has the ugliest city centers in Western Europe. Granted, I get that postwar reconstruction had other priorities. But this kind of stuff is pretty hideous:

Cologne:
https://www.google.com/maps/@50.9402...7i13312!8i6656

Düsseldorf:
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.2229...7i13312!8i6656

Stuttgart:
https://www.google.com/maps/@48.7723...7i13312!8i6656

And I didn't even show the worst. Essen, Duisburg, Dortmund, Bochum, Mannheim, all horrible. German cities are prosperous, clean, green, transit-oriented, and high QOL, but built environment is typically sterile and often ugly.
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  #31  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 6:38 PM
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Your Stuttgart example really isn't that bad. It's not Graz but it's still got loads of character and still seems quite livable. Reminds me of Japanese cities...also postwar but rebuilt to human scale.
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  #32  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 7:34 PM
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Originally Posted by subterranean View Post
And it's fake.
Lots of streets here do look like that, though.

Anyway, buildings constructed between 1950-1970 that shouldn’t be torn down are really more the exception than the rule.

Japanese cities are also generally ugly for the same reason. Great urban form, but the buildings themselves need to be replaced.
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  #33  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 8:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
You find this streetscape attractive? Looks banal/utilitarian, at best. Typical slapdash postwar German reconstruction.
Something being attractive is the most subjective thing around I suppose.

I like it.

Of course I am probably the only person on Earth who doesn't like Paris. Everything is all too much the same.

I'll take a functional "ugly" Tokyo or whatever other city that creates a functional environment with diverse structures.
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  #34  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 8:22 PM
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While I like a beautiful building as much as anyone else, quite honestly in a well-designed pedestrian environment - such as a European narrow street - people's eyes drift above the street level very infrequently. The upper floors might as well be invisible in a lot of cases.

In terms of being an inviting pedestrian environment, it's much more important that development is finely-grained - that there are lots of smaller residential buildings and storefronts - than it is for the building itself to be a work of art.
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  #35  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 8:28 PM
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What I dislike about post-war European architecture isn't the aesthetic quality, but that so much of it has aged horribly. A lot of those buildings look as well kept as a 70s era American municipal building.
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  #36  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 8:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
It's cheap, banal Cold War design, aging poorly, with little context or character. It replaced stuff like this:

So, yeah, I don't like it, considering what it replaced. It's why Germany has the ugliest city centers in Western Europe. Granted, I get that postwar reconstruction had other priorities. But this kind of stuff is pretty hideous:

Cologne:
https://www.google.com/maps/@50.9402...7i13312!8i6656

Düsseldorf:
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.2229...7i13312!8i6656

Stuttgart:
https://www.google.com/maps/@48.7723...7i13312!8i6656

The individual buildings won't win any beauty contests, but the built form, streetscaping, and density are all still right - and are far more important ingredients to achieving urban vibrancy than the presence of old buildings. With slightly better architectural quality these would still be fantastic areas.

Of course, as is the case with the comparison to Japanese cities, post-war redevelopments of areas with existing historic street grids and lot lines had a huge advantage when it came to creating a modern form of human-scaled urbanity.
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  #37  
Old Posted Jul 31, 2019, 8:40 PM
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Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
What I dislike about post-war European architecture isn't the aesthetic quality, but that so much of it has aged horribly. A lot of those buildings look as well kept as a 70s era American municipal building.
They rushed to rebuild the cities as quickly as possible (certainly understandable at the time), but yeah, they've aged poorly. It looks very slapdash to my eyes.

I also agree with those that compare to Japanese cities. I think there are strong similarities.
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  #38  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2019, 5:23 AM
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Hi, I am for increasing the parking space. A little more than a century since cars became a mass phenomenon, parking has turned from a topic of no concern to a problem. At first, no one thought about it, then it became a matter for discussion, and in the future ... most parking lots became paid. Now it comes to the fact that owning a parking space is perceived as more successful than owning a personal car. In different countries, the stages of this process took place at different times, but in general there was only one way - an increase in the number of parking spaces that cost money.
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  #39  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2019, 7:04 AM
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
While I like a beautiful building as much as anyone else, quite honestly in a well-designed pedestrian environment - such as a European narrow street - people's eyes drift above the street level very infrequently. The upper floors might as well be invisible in a lot of cases.

In terms of being an inviting pedestrian environment, it's much more important that development is finely-grained - that there are lots of smaller residential buildings and storefronts - than it is for the building itself to be a work of art.
I think this is factually incorrect.

I basically consider Mayfair in London to be the best form of urban neighborhood, and there are essentially no highrises. It’s expensive for a reason. But it has everything - quiet residential streets, local pubs, nice hotels and shops, lots of prime office space, great restaurants, nightlife. It is so walkable that you can crisscross it by foot without either having to walk along a traffic-clogged street or wait for traffic to cross a street, by cutting through church yards, mews, etc. There are several nice squares providing outdoor space and much of the architecture is beautiful (as always a smattering of post-war tear down opportunities).
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Last edited by 10023; Aug 1, 2019 at 7:24 AM.
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  #40  
Old Posted Aug 1, 2019, 1:37 PM
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I think this is factually incorrect.

I basically consider Mayfair in London to be the best form of urban neighborhood, and there are essentially no highrises. It’s expensive for a reason. But it has everything - quiet residential streets, local pubs, nice hotels and shops, lots of prime office space, great restaurants, nightlife. It is so walkable that you can crisscross it by foot without either having to walk along a traffic-clogged street or wait for traffic to cross a street, by cutting through church yards, mews, etc. There are several nice squares providing outdoor space and much of the architecture is beautiful (as always a smattering of post-war tear down opportunities).
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.
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