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  #1  
Old Posted Jun 17, 2019, 11:41 PM
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European Pattern of growth/density for Western US cities?

Hey guys. So I was recently thinking about this as I increased my traveling around Southern California.


Much of the development pattern of LA, SD, and the other towns and cities consist of few high rise central districts surrounded by “seas” of low rise areas. This type of development, interspersed with the mountainous geography, reminded me of similar places in Mediterranean/alpine Europe, North Africa, the Levant, etc, in which you have dense low rise development with a few if any skyscrapers put against the topography of the area.

Thus, it came to my mind: Should California and other Western states follow the European model of dense low rise development in order to protect views and maximize their urban landscape?
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  #2  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 6:01 AM
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I think you need to distinguish between the differences within those seas of lowrise areas. For example there is quite a built/ population density difference or function between say, an Old Town and a modern carcentric suburb, or a teeming, midrise Athenian suburb and a spacious, 'American style' Toulousien one, a clapperboard San Francisco district with a postwar LA one.
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  #3  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 1:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jd3189 View Post
Hey guys. So I was recently thinking about this as I increased my traveling around Southern California.


Much of the development pattern of LA, SD, and the other towns and cities consist of few high rise central districts surrounded by “seas” of low rise areas. This type of development, interspersed with the mountainous geography, reminded me of similar places in Mediterranean/alpine Europe, North Africa, the Levant, etc, in which you have dense low rise development with a few if any skyscrapers put against the topography of the area.

Thus, it came to my mind: Should California and other Western states follow the European model of dense low rise development in order to protect views and maximize their urban landscape?
i'm conflicted on this. (i wrote and erased an entire conflicted post)


http://aflixionado.com
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 1:20 PM
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at this point, i think i'd rather preserve some character of "old" LA interspersed with many glassy highrises, centralized around subway stations. i don't know that i'd like to see the city razed for a giant south lake union. i don't know.
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 2:22 PM
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San Diego does not remind me of Marseille or Naples, at least in terms of development patterns. How are they similar outside of geography and weather?
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 2:30 PM
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San Diego does not remind me of Marseille or Naples, at least in terms of development patterns. How are they similar outside of geography and weather?
the closest international analogue to me is oceania...i'd like to see more of this...wherein pedestrian and transit connectivity are given far more of a priority. we need to stop this podium highrise crap, to be sure.
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 2:56 PM
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San Diego does not remind me of Marseille or Naples, at least in terms of development patterns. How are they similar outside of geography and weather?
Some of the nicer coastal areas of Europe are dead ringers for Socal. Especially the wealthy suburbs:


https://www.google.com/maps/@43.7077.../data=!3m1!1e3


https://www.google.com/maps/@43.5616.../data=!3m1!1e3


https://www.google.com/maps/@43.7631.../data=!3m1!1e3
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  #8  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 2:58 PM
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Hard PASS.
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 3:31 PM
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Some of the nicer coastal areas of Europe are dead ringers for Socal. Especially the wealthy suburbs:
Not really. Look at these scenes in Streetview. Doesn't look anything like SoCal. Are you just talking about the Mediterranean architectural style?

This is typical "fancy" coastal SoCal, in an area I'm very familiar with. Doesn't look like France-
https://www.google.com/maps/@33.6039...7i16384!8i8192
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 3:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
Not really. Look at these scenes in Streetview. Doesn't look anything like SoCal. Are you just talking about the Mediterranean architectural style?

This is typical "fancy" coastal SoCal, in an area I'm very familiar with. Doesn't look like France-
https://www.google.com/maps/@33.6039...7i16384!8i8192
Actually, when I was traveling by train in the south of France, the hills did indeed remind me of the Hollywood Hills; I even saw what looked like chaparral to me (I'm not sure if chaparral is just a California thing or if it grows in all Mediterranean climates). It was like I looked out one side of the train and saw the Hollywood Hills, and looked out the other side of the train and saw the Mediterranean.

These are Google Street View screen grabs from somewhere in the Hollywood Hills:







Maybe not exactly like the French Riviera, hehe, but similar kind of environment.
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 3:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
Not really. Look at these scenes in Streetview. Doesn't look anything like SoCal. Are you just talking about the Mediterranean architectural style?

This is typical "fancy" coastal SoCal, in an area I'm very familiar with. Doesn't look like France-
https://www.google.com/maps/@33.6039...7i16384!8i8192

That particular streetview doesn't look much like France. But much of the south of France does look a lot like Socal:

https://goo.gl/maps/GGnFKZw8zTFDaRjh6
https://goo.gl/maps/xPot5yCvzW9RWYVr7
https://goo.gl/maps/rBt7xWUzNYUYAnqF8

Except of course everything's bigger in America. It's not just the Mediterranean architecture, it's the car-dependent lifestyle, the outdoorsy, health conscious culture, the liberal progressive values, and appreciation for some of the finer things in life, among other things.
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 3:50 PM
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Originally Posted by sopas ej View Post
Actually, when I was traveling by train in the south of France, the hills did indeed remind me of the Hollywood Hills; I even saw what looked like chaparral to me (I'm not sure if chaparral is just a California thing or if it grows in all Mediterranean climates)
You can find chaparral in parts of the Mediterranean. Check out the Adriatic coast of the Balkans. It's the closest analogue to Socal anywhere in Europe in terms of climate and environment.
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 4:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badrunner View Post
That particular streetview doesn't look much like France. But much of the south of France does look a lot like Socal:

https://goo.gl/maps/GGnFKZw8zTFDaRjh6
https://goo.gl/maps/xPot5yCvzW9RWYVr7
https://goo.gl/maps/rBt7xWUzNYUYAnqF8
Oh yeah, those totally do look like SoCal. If you had told me those were Malibu, I would've believed it; the only obvious clue to me is the French road sign.

Here, a neighborhood in Malibu, maybe a bit more rustic-looking: https://www.google.com/maps/@34.0457...2!8i6656?hl=en

I always preferred the look of "rustic-rich" to "manicured rich" in SoCal anyway.
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 4:46 PM
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I never been to coastal France or Italy (only see from the googles) but I think the similarities between SoCal and these areas would be some of the vegetation, topography, climate and as someone else pointed out, architectural cues but Southern California seems to have it's own unique style.
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 4:52 PM
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I've been to lots of those low-density sprawling SFH zones in Europe, and the difference is that they *generally* have better and more frequent transit at least along the main road in the area. And that nearby main road usually has a type of crossroads "village centre" with at least a few buildings like a café, a tabac (French-style smoke shop) and other basic services - which actually resembles a village centre as opposed to a strip mall.
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 5:08 PM
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Balearic coast of Spain feels California-esque, especially outside of the city centers. The desert areas in southern Spain also feel very similar to the Californian deserts.
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 5:10 PM
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Also, Lisbon reminds me of a cleaner and quieter San Francisco.
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 5:16 PM
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Also, Lisbon reminds me of a cleaner and quieter San Francisco.

Lisbon is the quieter one?
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 5:24 PM
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Lisbon is the quieter one?
Except in the nightlife areas, Lisbon seems very quiet to me.
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Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 5:30 PM
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Except in the nightlife areas, Lisbon seems very quiet to me.

I mean it's the more densely populated and more touristy of the two cities - and I'd argue probably has more streetlife and nightlife throughout.

"Most" of San Francisco (like any other city) consists of pretty quiet residential areas too.
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