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  #61  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2012, 7:56 AM
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Originally Posted by fflint View Post
^Doesn't weighted density take unpopulated land like industrial sites into account? I thought that was the whole point--the density at which people actually live, in the places they actually live?
Yes I know as others have already posted on here. My point is that the gap between overall density and weighted density is much higher in Chicago than it is in New York City. Chicago has so many industrial areas that form a barrier between neighborhoods, case in point there is an almost mile long in parts of a non-residential dead zone on the I-55/Chicago sanitary and ship canal corridor separating neighborhoods like Brighton Park and Little Village. In New York City outside of Staten Island you don't see this, there is much much more continuous density there, i.e. you can probably walk from one end of Brooklyn to the other and never leave a residential area, walk 10 miles in any direction in much of Brooklyn/Queens and you would never enter a neighborhood with less than 20K density. In Chicago you can travel from Rogers Park to the Loop and never leave a residential area as well but this is strictly north-south in a narrow corridor, if you travel inland you would hit industrial areas along the north branch of the Chicago River.
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  #62  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2012, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by fflint View Post
^Doesn't weighted density take unpopulated land like industrial sites into account? I thought that was the whole point--the density at which people actually live, in the places they actually live?
That would depend on the granularity of the calculations. If census tracts are used then not necessarily, even industrial lands need to be covered by census tracts but they generally don't have the population for a census tract of their own and would therefore include large chunks of residential area lowering the density of that census tract even if the density of the residential area is high. If census blocks are used, then industrial sites and even parks occupying blocks of their own would generally be taken into account, but last time I played around with census data (long ago), there was a limit to how many individual geographical units could be downloaded at once, so if you wanted census blocks you had to download them something like zipcode by zipcode. I wouldn't want to use a spreadsheet to do the calculations either, a halfway decent database like sqlite would be the minimum requirement. There are 8 million census blocks in the US vs something like 80,000 census tracts... Of course it may not be desirable to calculate on such a low level, surface parking could occupy an entire block and completely ruin the urban character of the neighborhood, but the block of residential buildings would still have a high density even if it's surrounded by surface parking in adjacent blocks. Maybe block groups would be a decent compromise.
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  #63  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2012, 3:11 PM
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You can see here how the census tract boundaries are drawn: http://www.citypopulation.de/php/usa-chicago.php

Industrial areas still have an effect, but much less than if you just calculated the gross density. I still think that necessarily makes weighted density by census tract is a good means of measurement though, as Mad_Nick said, big parking lots can have a negative effect on a neighbourhood, and so can industrial areas in the sense that there probably won't be as much within walking distance if your neighbourhood is surrounded by industrial uses as if it was surrounded by residential areas and offices.

If we're talking about the gap between weighted density and gross density for city propers though, the difference is actually greater in NYC than Chicago. This is probably because even though NYC doens't have as big industrial areas, the difference between Manhattan and the less dense parts of the outer boroughs is pretty big. The weighted density of Manhattan is around 100,000 ppsm, and Staten Island, outer Queens and outer Bronx are much less dense, even if they're dense by the standards of most American cities.
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  #64  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2012, 4:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Chicago103 View Post
My point is that the gap between overall density and weighted density is much higher in Chicago than it is in New York City. Chicago has so many industrial areas that form a barrier between neighborhoods,
This is true, but isn't the reason there's such a huge weighted density gap between the two cities.

NYC actually has a lower % of land area dedicated to residential than Chicago. Yes, Chicago has far more industrial land than NYC, but NYC has far more parkland and open space than Chicago.

NYC is 27% parkland; Chicago is 8% parkland.

The reason that NYC has far higher weighted density is because it has far more high density neighborhoods.
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  #65  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2012, 6:13 PM
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Here's a comparison of the density distribution for Chicago and New York's urban areas at a census tract level. One of the interesting things about New York is how there is no one dominant density with a lot of people living at 3,000 ppsm and 100,000 ppsm and everything in between. Some of the other NE cities are similar in this sense.
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  #66  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2012, 2:02 PM
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I dont think you can compare the loop to manhattan. The loop is a couple square miles while manhattan is over 20. Plus the loop probaby only has 10-20k residents. Manhattan has 1.6 million. You would need about 100 loops to have as many residents as manhattan to put things in perspective.

A more interesting comparison would be patterns of density in 1950 chicago vs san francisco of today given their similar densities.



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Originally Posted by Chicago103 View Post
I have been fascinated recently by comparing density patterns of Chicago with those of New York City. Chicago has the skyscraper height and probably similar daytime density with Manhattan in the Loop but overall Chicago is less than half as dense as New York City.

One thing I have noticed is that NYC (all boroughs not just Manhattan) is much better at mixing housing densities in neighborhoods outside of central areas such as having midrise and highrise apartment buildings mixed in with flats and single family housing, this is a good part of the reason that Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens are as dense as they are. In Chicago neighborhoods like these with 20K+ people per square mile are exclusively along the lakefront. Once you get more than a few miles from the lakefront in Chicago it is almost all low rise single family dwellings and flats with 10-15K per square mile density (aka the bungalow belt) with virtually no large apartment buildings.

I noticed this when looking at google street view in places like Queens where many residential streets don't look much different than the bungalow belt neighborhood of Chicago I live in with many single family homes or two flats and yet the average Queens neighborhood is twice as dense as mine. This is because in Queens the commercial streets often had large five-seven story apartment buildings whereas commercial streets in my neighborhood were filled with mostly two story buildings, shops with one floor of apartments above and also some three story brick three flats but no large residential buildings. For the record I live near the edge of the city by Midway Airport but I purposely looked at neighborhoods in Queens near LaGuardia and JFK airports to compare housing roughly the same distance from the respective CDBs.

I think the Chicago patterns reinforce NIMBYism because there is huge resistance to build any large residential buildings in inland neighborhoods here, in NYC such mixtures of buildings have been the norm for generations and while NIMBYism no doubt exists there it is harder for them to make an argument about larger residential buildings changing the context of a neighborhood.

Also another issue Chicago has is that much more land here is used for industrial use and brownfield sites of former industry (Lake Calumet/South Works) especially on the south side and this lowers the population density of the city as whole. NYC by comparison seems to have much less industrial land or at least lacking the large swaths of continuous industrial areas like Chicago. The Near West Side of Chicago also has huge former warehouse areas that are largely underutilized albeit increasingly gentrifying but the population density is still less than 10K in many of those areas only a couple miles from the Loop. Nowhere in Manhattan or within a couple miles of it has that low of a population density. In fact western Staten Island is the only area of NYC that has large swaths of land that are not either residential/commercial or park. For the most part New York City is just relentless density and we see things like Brooklyn having 35K density over 70 square miles. In Chicago it is hard to find continuous areas of more than a few square miles surpassing 30K per square mile, even the Near North Side with it's huge amount of residential highrises (Trump/Hancock/Marina City, etc.) only is at about 30K, less than half the average density of Manhattan.

Then there is also the fact that Chicago's population is 25% less than what it was in 1950 and New York City is bigger now than it has ever been. One way in which high density can occur is through having a high number of people per household, I wonder if NYC's is higher than Chicago's. It is pretty amazing for an old urban city like NYC to actually have a population higher than it did in 1950, something unique out of all the old urban centers of either the northeast or midwest and this is reflected in the density. Many cities were quite dense in 1950, actually Chicago was about 70% as dense as NYC in 1950, today Chicago is about 44% as dense as NYC.

I suppose down the road I or somebody should post pictures and google earth street views so we can have a visual reference for this conversation.
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  #67  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2012, 8:35 PM
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^ Plus the Loop is just a downtown, Manhattan is an entire area with its own neighborhoods. The last comparison had about 800,000 in a Manhattan sized area North from the Loop. I'm not sure the numbers this year though, some of the neighborhoods lost while others gained.
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  #68  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2012, 2:34 AM
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^ Plus the Loop is just a downtown, Manhattan is an entire area with its own neighborhoods. The last comparison had about 800,000 in a Manhattan sized area North from the Loop. I'm not sure the numbers this year though, some of the neighborhoods lost while others gained.
That would mean you had about 20 square miles with 40k plus density. Not sure how that would be carved out.

I just don't get the original posters logic. He states that manhattan and the loop have similar daytime densities (whatever that means) and then is confounded that Chicago has less than 50% of the density of NYC. Why would the density figures to be tied to the "daytime densities do manhattan and the loop" when manhattan and the loop are not analogous at all. Like I said you would need somewhere in the range of 100 loops to be analogous to manhattan.
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  #69  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2012, 11:38 AM
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^ Maybe a better comparison would be between the Loop & Midtown or the Loop & Downtown. Manhattan is an entire borrough.
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  #70  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2012, 12:28 AM
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Could you do the weighted density for Long Beach, CA?
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  #71  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2012, 5:08 PM
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Originally Posted by CityKid View Post
Could you do the weighted density for Long Beach, CA?
I got a weighted density of 17,044 ppsm for Long Beach. That's pretty dense, more so than the City of Los Angeles, Oakland or Miami, although a bit less dense than Berkeley.

Still, the densest places of significant size outside a core city seem to be in Hudson County, NJ. The county as a whole has a weighted density of 33,531 ppsm, which of course means some cities within the county are even denser.
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  #72  
Old Posted Apr 8, 2012, 4:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Chicago103 View Post
I have been fascinated recently by comparing density patterns of Chicago with those of New York City. Chicago has the skyscraper height and probably similar daytime density with Manhattan in the Loop but overall Chicago is less than half as dense as New York City.

One thing I have noticed is that NYC (all boroughs not just Manhattan) is much better at mixing housing densities in neighborhoods outside of central areas such as having midrise and highrise apartment buildings mixed in with flats and single family housing, this is a good part of the reason that Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens are as dense as they are. In Chicago neighborhoods like these with 20K+ people per square mile are exclusively along the lakefront. Once you get more than a few miles from the lakefront in Chicago it is almost all low rise single family dwellings and flats with 10-15K per square mile density (aka the bungalow belt) with virtually no large apartment buildings.

I noticed this when looking at google street view in places like Queens where many residential streets don't look much different than the bungalow belt neighborhood of Chicago I live in with many single family homes or two flats and yet the average Queens neighborhood is twice as dense as mine. This is because in Queens the commercial streets often had large five-seven story apartment buildings whereas commercial streets in my neighborhood were filled with mostly two story buildings, shops with one floor of apartments above and also some three story brick three flats but no large residential buildings. For the record I live near the edge of the city by Midway Airport but I purposely looked at neighborhoods in Queens near LaGuardia and JFK airports to compare housing roughly the same distance from the respective CDBs.

I think the Chicago patterns reinforce NIMBYism because there is huge resistance to build any large residential buildings in inland neighborhoods here, in NYC such mixtures of buildings have been the norm for generations and while NIMBYism no doubt exists there it is harder for them to make an argument about larger residential buildings changing the context of a neighborhood.

Also another issue Chicago has is that much more land here is used for industrial use and brownfield sites of former industry (Lake Calumet/South Works) especially on the south side and this lowers the population density of the city as whole. NYC by comparison seems to have much less industrial land or at least lacking the large swaths of continuous industrial areas like Chicago. The Near West Side of Chicago also has huge former warehouse areas that are largely underutilized albeit increasingly gentrifying but the population density is still less than 10K in many of those areas only a couple miles from the Loop. Nowhere in Manhattan or within a couple miles of it has that low of a population density. In fact western Staten Island is the only area of NYC that has large swaths of land that are not either residential/commercial or park. For the most part New York City is just relentless density and we see things like Brooklyn having 35K density over 70 square miles. In Chicago it is hard to find continuous areas of more than a few square miles surpassing 30K per square mile, even the Near North Side with it's huge amount of residential highrises (Trump/Hancock/Marina City, etc.) only is at about 30K, less than half the average density of Manhattan.

Then there is also the fact that Chicago's population is 25% less than what it was in 1950 and New York City is bigger now than it has ever been. One way in which high density can occur is through having a high number of people per household, I wonder if NYC's is higher than Chicago's. It is pretty amazing for an old urban city like NYC to actually have a population higher than it did in 1950, something unique out of all the old urban centers of either the northeast or midwest and this is reflected in the density. Many cities were quite dense in 1950, actually Chicago was about 70% as dense as NYC in 1950, today Chicago is about 44% as dense as NYC.

I suppose down the road I or somebody should post pictures and google earth street views so we can have a visual reference for this conversation.
I'm the nei memph mentioned in the third post. I just join this forum and want tochime in. First, even with just row houses NYC reaches densities not commonly found in Chicago. Park Slope (roughly between the Park and 4th Ave in the view) in Brooklyn is mostly all brownstone row houses with not that many apartment buildings. There are some scattered apartment building but I doubt large enough to make much of a difference. Here's an example of a street in the neighborhood. Most tracts are between 50k-65k / square mile; the one in that view is on has a density of 57 / sq mile, with a few apartment buildings on the east edge. The whole area has a similar density, so my guess is the apartments aren't making much of a difference; the mostly identical row houses create mostly identical densities. It seems like Chicago doesn't have densities like this except right by the city center (by the Near North Side along the river), but I'm not very familiar with Chicago. To get 20+ k / sq mile in a census tract 2 family homes are sufficient; most of Somerville, MA is 2 family homes with some triple deckers on small lots with no row houses or apartments. Most tracts around 22 k / sq mile.

Looking at neighborhoods near JFK is a bit atypical of Queens. Much of the area around JFK was built after 1940, and is postwar suburban development that happend to be within the city limits. Single family homes on small lots. Much of the growth in NYC from 1940-1970 was from filling undeveloped land often in areas far from subways, that were unsuitable for residential use until mass automobile ownership. Queens grew by 50% from 1940 to 1970. NYC had white flight from core neighborhoods to outer neighborhoods in the postwar decades, which masked inner city decline. Does Chicago have similar neighborhoods? The neighborhood by LaGuardia is denser than neighborhoods by JFK, as it's a bit closer to the city center; but portions of it are far from a subway; meaning it got developed less dense than usual. So, the neighborhoods you looked at in Queens might be similar in density to Chicago's "bungalow belt" neighborhoods; but they're not typical Queens neighborhoods. Denser areas of Queens near subway lines are filled with blocks like this as well row house like block like this . Queens neighborhoods without any apartment buildings like this one have a density of 25,000 per square mile; about the same as the average weighted density of Chicago. I suspect NYC demolished a lot of its lower density housing stock with apartment buildings and Chicago didn't. But yea, you're right, NYC builds apartment building housing far from the city center.
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  #73  
Old Posted Apr 8, 2012, 9:27 PM
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How do you get 2010 density by census tract? I've never been able to find the raw data.
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  #74  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2012, 2:00 AM
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This chart I made might be of interest:



I graphed the densities of Chicago and New York City, and included New York City borough by borough. The graph displays what percent of people in each place live in census tracts denser than a particular value with a log scale. For example, the chart shows about 23% of Queens residents live in census tracts greater than 64,000 people per square mile. Past about 10%, Chicago has a steep tail of dense neighborhoods; density increases right at the very core. NYC doesn't show this pattern very much; the next 20% isn't as drastically different as the 10% of the population living at the highest densities compared to Chicago.

Out of the 5 boroughs, Queens shows the highest density variation; as I said it contains some areas full of apartment buildings and others of single family homes on small lots. Brooklyn has the least variation; it's mostly row homes. Manhattan doesn't vary much either, but it has a large spread in its least dense areas, part of which are probably from business district areas. Either way, most of Manhattan is built up similarly, even if the housing styles change.

Also, all my numbers are from the 2000 census.
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  #75  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2012, 3:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
This is true, but isn't the reason there's such a huge weighted density gap between the two cities.

NYC actually has a lower % of land area dedicated to residential than Chicago. Yes, Chicago has far more industrial land than NYC, but NYC has far more parkland and open space than Chicago.

NYC is 27% parkland; Chicago is 8% parkland.

The reason that NYC has far higher weighted density is because it has far more high density neighborhoods.
NYC is 19.5% according to the Trust For Public Land

http://cloud.tpl.org/pubs/ccpe-city-park-facts-2011.pdf
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  #76  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2012, 3:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post

NYC is 27% parkland; Chicago is 8% parkland.
I think that 8% is only counting land maintained by the Chicago Park District, there are also several Cook County forest preserves, a state park, a large privately run golf course as well as lots of land in the Lake Calumet area that is not yet organized parkland but is essentially wilderness/wetlands. It wouldn't surprise me if Chicago's percentage of open land is actually similar to New York City.
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  #77  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2012, 12:19 PM
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NYC is 19.5% according to the Trust For Public Land

http://cloud.tpl.org/pubs/ccpe-city-park-facts-2011.pdf
According to the New York City Department of City Planning (the city's official land use agency), NYC is 27% parks/open space.

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/lan...s/nycpub.shtml

And notice that your source doesn't show parkland by city. It shows % of city managed parkland, which is a very different thing.

NYC's largest parks aren't city parks; they're federally owned/managed parks. The city has no jurisdiction over Great Kills Park, Jacob Riis Park, Floyd Bennett Field, Fort Wadsworth, etc.

So 19.5% sounds about right for city managed parks, with the 7.5% balance for federally managed parks.
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  #78  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2012, 12:30 PM
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I It wouldn't surprise me if Chicago's percentage of open land is actually similar to New York City.
According to the State of Illinois and Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Chicago is less than 10% open space, so only has about 1/3 the proportional open space as NYC.

http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/image/i...&groupId=20583
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  #79  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2012, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
This chart I made might be of interest:



.
Thats incredible. Is it true that only 20% of Chicago residents live in neighborhoods of 32,000 per sq mile while more than 95% of Manhattanites live at such a density? Plus 50% of Queens, 80% of the Bronx and 90% of Brooklyn?

New York is just a beast, but honestly these numbers are consistant with the relative immensity of urban experience offered by respective cities.
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  #80  
Old Posted Apr 11, 2012, 11:06 PM
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I find that graph a lot easier to read for some reason, easier than those bell curve graphs. Looks great!
I am actually surprised to see Staten Island even as close as it is, it looks extremely residential to me.
I wish we could see similar to NY sized cities in a graph. Chicago just isn't close in size.

Could we see a similar graph for SF and Toronto?
Thanks for all of this cool stuff.
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