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  #21  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 12:55 AM
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If we examine LA in terms of historic development patters, street grid, population density, and overall built form then the proper boundary of the "central city" would would be:

Alameda Street (not the LA river) to the East

The aptly named Western Avenue (not the Pacifc Ocean) to the West

The Hollywood Hills to the North

Jefferson Blvd to the South

The only notable exception to this would be the finger of Old Hollywood which extends about 2 miles to the west of Western Avenue between Franklin and Sunset.

If you have any doubt about the validly of these boundaries, consider that the area described above is roughly 50 square miles in size and has a population density almost exactly equal to that of San Francisco. The reason for his coincidence is simple: this area was generally built and populated at the same time. Alas, if you live anywhere in greater Southern California, this is your "city center".
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  #22  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 1:09 AM
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But I wouldn't say that all areas north of the 10, south of the hills/mountains and west of the LA river are urban, or have an "urban" form in that American sense.
Well, this is one way of defining what I'm asking, but not necessarily. Another way might be "where would be a more sensible place to draw the boundary between your central jurisdiction and its suburbs?" It doesn't necessarily have to be 100% urban inside the boundary (what I drew for DC certainly is not). It just has to represent a sensible dividing line.

Any definition is fine as long as you describe it.
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  #23  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 1:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Shawn View Post
I was going to be lazy and just say, for Boston everything inside the I95-128 loop is The City and everything outside of that isn't, but Citylover covered it much better than that. My only quibbles are - in my mind - Saugus is still The City. Rt 1-centric and a bit strip-mally in spots, but still core Boston. Hilltop practically defined North Shore Boston for most of my life. I'd put all of Arlington in The City too, even the bucolic parts closer to Lexington. Also, as a Hyde Park native, you have to stretch The City to actually include all of the city. I know HP and Westie are single family house areas, but they're Green Line-serviced and would be "core city" in 98% of American cities. That extends down into Dedham Center, but stops at the Westwood border.
Based on Saugus as the connection and density/development style cut off here is what I got for the city limits. The area of the city would be about 291 sq miles with a population of about 2.1 million people based on the populations of the towns and cities included in the boundaries. This estimate is slightly higher than what would actually be contained inside the shape I drew because some of the towns are not fully inside the borders. That would be a density of around 7,217 ppsm.



I haven't lived in Boston so this could be wrong from a on the street experience but I think this works as someone who has spent a lot of time in the Boston area although this extends the city to areas that area less urban than I would really consider is necessary to be considered part of the "city".

Bostons density at this size would only be slightly lower than Seattle, Washington for example.
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  #24  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 1:48 AM
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I updated the shared google map to reflect all the discussion so far, including the many options for LA & Boston. I also added 2 more strict options for DC.
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  #25  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 2:46 AM
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For Shanghai, I'd say it's pretty much everything within the Outer Ring Expressway (S20). There are some pockets of high density outside the Ring, but for the most part the greatest part of the Shanghai Metro network and the majority of the municipality's population lives within this area.

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  #26  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 3:29 AM
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Originally Posted by brickell View Post
My own rough approximation. It's easier to say what is "The Suburbs" than what is not. So that's my starting point. The Beaches are their own thing, neither "the City" nor "The Suburbs".

I think I would include Miami Beach, at least below about the 5000 block in "The City". Basically just keep the northern boundary all the way accross to the Atlantic. And if you wanted to be a little more fine grained you would remove a lot of the South/East of US-1 Coral Gables suburbia. It is pretty tough to come up with "The City" though for Miami. It could either exclude many parts of the actual City of Miami or it could include many of its suburbs. For example, would you consider someone who lives in Hialeah as living in "the suburbs"? In theory you could make the boundary be the 826 minus maybe Miami Springs.

I did the calculations a few years back where if you took Miami plus various beach cities and a littler further up the coast on the bay side as well and you would get to around 1,000,000 people in about 85 square miles.
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  #27  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 3:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Cirrus View Post
So you're saying all the suburbs should be part of the city? Even including the valley, Orange County, and the Inland Empire?

I'll be honest: LA is part of the reason I asked this question. I'm not all that familiar with LA so I might be totally off base, but I sort of think "the city" would include all of the built-up part of LA County south of the mountains.
What moutains? The Hollywood Hills? Then you're leaving out places like Glendale, Pasadena, south SFV, Burbank etc, all which are pretty built up for suburbia and have their own shopping/employment centers.

There really isn't a line/border for LA.
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  #28  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 3:44 AM
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Originally Posted by DenseCityPlease View Post
If we examine LA in terms of historic development patters, street grid, population density, and overall built form then the proper boundary of the "central city" would would be:

Alameda Street (not the LA river) to the East

The aptly named Western Avenue (not the Pacifc Ocean) to the West

The Hollywood Hills to the North

Jefferson Blvd to the South

The only notable exception to this would be the finger of Old Hollywood which extends about 2 miles to the west of Western Avenue between Franklin and Sunset.

If you have any doubt about the validly of these boundaries, consider that the area described above is roughly 50 square miles in size and has a population density almost exactly equal to that of San Francisco. The reason for his coincidence is simple: this area was generally built and populated at the same time. Alas, if you live anywhere in greater Southern California, this is your "city center".
You need to thrown in Glendale/Burbank/pasasdena. Glendale isn't just a dowtown cluster. Everything south of the 134 seems pretty dense for a suburb. It honesly feels like an extenstion of Los Felz/East Hollywood or something.
Parts of Pasadena are suburban, but a good chunk of it isn't. And not just old town either.

And the Valley isn't the slouch many think it is either. How many metros have a Ventura Blvd?

Last edited by LA21st; Jun 24, 2016 at 4:01 AM.
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  #29  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 3:52 AM
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Originally Posted by sopas ej View Post
I don't fully agree with your map either. Burbank to me is a suburb with a defined downtown, but pretty much suburban in built environment.

People have referred to Compton as "the inner city" but it's a suburb, and it looks pretty much very suburban. I consider it part of the South Bay region of LA county, like Carson, which, I guess Carson is.
But Burbank isn't a suburb like a Reston, Herndon, Chantilly (or most U.S suburbs)

It's on a street grid, and there's a commerical street every mile or so. If it were in Northern VA, it would be considered more dense/built up than everything outside of Arlington/Alexandria.
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  #30  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 6:00 AM
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Originally Posted by LA21st View Post
You need to thrown in Glendale/Burbank/pasasdena. Glendale isn't just a dowtown cluster. Everything south of the 134 seems pretty dense for a suburb. It honesly feels like an extenstion of Los Felz/East Hollywood or something.
Parts of Pasadena are suburban, but a good chunk of it isn't. And not just old town either.

And the Valley isn't the slouch many think it is either. How many metros have a Ventura Blvd?
Agreed. As someone who was born and raised in Glendale, has an office there, works in glendale and Pasadena, there is no doubt that they have to be included.. The tri cities (Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank) + attached foothill communities, have a combined population of roughly 500,000 and an economy much larger than many metros... Each city has its own legit downtown, numerous institutions like jpl, cal tech, community colleges, museums, has major corporations (Disney, nestle, 3m, parsons, just to name a couple), and are major banking centers and have a populace that has high incomes
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  #31  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 8:51 AM
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Originally Posted by dave8721 View Post
I think I would include Miami Beach, at least below about the 5000 block in "The City". Basically just keep the northern boundary all the way accross to the Atlantic. And if you wanted to be a little more fine grained you would remove a lot of the South/East of US-1 Coral Gables suburbia. It is pretty tough to come up with "The City" though for Miami. It could either exclude many parts of the actual City of Miami or it could include many of its suburbs. For example, would you consider someone who lives in Hialeah as living in "the suburbs"? In theory you could make the boundary be the 826 minus maybe Miami Springs.
My first iteration was the 826 minus Miami Springs. The others I quibbled about myself. Hialeah is by most definitions a suburb, but it's not someplace you pack up the kids and move to either. It occupies some vague middle ground that is probably more "inner city", despite it not being in the "inner city". Same could be said for most of the rest of the NW unfavored quarter.
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  #32  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 1:53 PM
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Originally Posted by LosAngelesSportsFan View Post
Agreed. As someone who was born and raised in Glendale, has an office there, works in glendale and Pasadena, there is no doubt that they have to be included.. The tri cities (Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank) + attached foothill communities, have a combined population of roughly 500,000 and an economy much larger than many metros... Each city has its own legit downtown, numerous institutions like jpl, cal tech, community colleges, museums, has major corporations (Disney, nestle, 3m, parsons, just to name a couple), and are major banking centers and have a populace that has high incomes
And alot of those cities are adding lots of mixed use development.
gkendale is exploding.
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  #33  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 2:10 PM
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You guys have much wider interpretations of what "the city" is than I do.

I basically consider that any neighborhood which was built out around cars is suburban. So the "city" is the old urban, and arguably streetcar suburban, portions of a city core.

If I were going to draw a map for Pittsburgh, I'd actually take some city neighborhoods out, although I'd put other first-ring suburbs in as well.
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  #34  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 3:19 PM
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
You guys have much wider interpretations of what "the city" is than I do.

I basically consider that any neighborhood which was built out around cars is suburban. So the "city" is the old urban, and arguably streetcar suburban, portions of a city core.
the problem is that there are a million shades of gray between "urban" and "suburban". there is no clear line of demarcation where a neighborhood goes from being urban to suburban. it's an extraordinarily gradual continuum.

take my neighborhood (edgewater) on the far northside of chicago for example. we have a population density of ~37,000 ppsm (which is quite high by north american standards), but one of the main thoroughfares of the neighborhood (broadway) is a 4-lane auto-sewer plagued with several strip malls and 2 large supermarkets with giant surface parking lots. housing is mostly tightly packed lowrise multifamily (3 flats, 6 flats, courtyard buildings, & 4+1's), but there is also a fair bit of detached single family housing mixed in, along with highrise condo towers along the lakefront. the neighborhood is quite walkable and ped-friendly for the most part (particularly the clark street corridor through andersonville) and it has good rail and bus transit access, yet most people who live up here still have a car. it's not unilaterally urban or suburban. overall i'd call it more urban than suburban, but it's still mixed.
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  #35  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 3:43 PM
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It's not just shades of gray. It's also how you choose to answer the question. Here are 3 different versions for DC, and all of them would be perfectly legitimate answers.

The yellow is what I think would make the most sense as a political boundary; it's not all "urban" per se, but the politics revolve around urban issues or urbanization (for example there's much more support for transit than widening highways). Then the orange basically represents the bungalow belt, and the red is true walkable urbanity.

Maybe what we should be doing instead of asking for a single answer is making maps with multiple tiers, more like this.

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  #36  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 4:09 PM
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Originally Posted by LA21st View Post
But Burbank isn't a suburb like a Reston, Herndon, Chantilly (or most U.S suburbs)

It's on a street grid, and there's a commerical street every mile or so. If it were in Northern VA, it would be considered more dense/built up than everything outside of Arlington/Alexandria.
You are absolutely right. I guess I'm kind of biased against Burbank, no offense to people who are from there or live there, or like it. I will admit that Burbank is a city I don't often go into and explore; I get a different vibe from some of the people I know who are from there---Burbank residents seem to be on the slightly conservative side, which surprises me, because of the media/entertainment industry presence there (TV and radio studios, film studios). Hehe and I guess I just think Burbank is kind of dull, when you compare it to Glendale, which has a bigger city feel, and Pasadena, which has a charm to it that Burbank and Glendale lack. But I am aware that Burbank is a big job center. As is Glendale and Pasadena.

All of the LA posters made valid points. Although I like to rag on Orange County (hehe I'm dating myself with that term I know), I know that it is also a big job center. My godfather used to live in Los Angeles, but he commuted to his office somewhere in Orange County, Costa Mesa, I think, before he retired (he has since passed away).

I guess I wasn't sure about this exercise; my initial feeling was defining suburb vs. city by the built environment, but then people started talking about "city" in the sense of being more of an economic center than say vs. being a bedroom community (I guess). So yeah, in all of those regards, LA and the LA area is a different animal compared to most metro areas, being that the LA area has many economic/job centers spread throughout, and built environments are a hodgepodge in many areas.
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  #37  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 6:39 PM
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
You guys have much wider interpretations of what "the city" is than I do.

I basically consider that any neighborhood which was built out around cars is suburban. So the "city" is the old urban, and arguably streetcar suburban, portions of a city core.

If I were going to draw a map for Pittsburgh, I'd actually take some city neighborhoods out, although I'd put other first-ring suburbs in as well.
LOL, not all cities are created equal and using that limited scope, the entire Valley of Sun and Phoenix is just one giant suburb, which may be a popular joke for some around here but irrelevant to any meaningful definition or discussion.
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  #38  
Old Posted Jun 24, 2016, 7:24 PM
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Originally Posted by sopas ej View Post
You are absolutely right. I guess I'm kind of biased against Burbank, no offense to people who are from there or live there, or like it. I will admit that Burbank is a city I don't often go into and explore; I get a different vibe from some of the people I know who are from there---Burbank residents seem to be on the slightly conservative side, which surprises me, because of the media/entertainment industry presence there (TV and radio studios, film studios). Hehe and I guess I just think Burbank is kind of dull, when you compare it to Glendale, which has a bigger city feel, and Pasadena, which has a charm to it that Burbank and Glendale lack. But I am aware that Burbank is a big job center. As is Glendale and Pasadena.

All of the LA posters made valid points. Although I like to rag on Orange County (hehe I'm dating myself with that term I know), I know that it is also a big job center. My godfather used to live in Los Angeles, but he commuted to his office somewhere in Orange County, Costa Mesa, I think, before he retired (he has since passed away).

I guess I wasn't sure about this exercise; my initial feeling was defining suburb vs. city by the built environment, but then people started talking about "city" in the sense of being more of an economic center than say vs. being a bedroom community (I guess). So yeah, in all of those regards, LA and the LA area is a different animal compared to most metro areas, being that the LA area has many economic/job centers spread throughout, and built environments are a hodgepodge in many areas.
Long beach holds it own too. The south bay cities are dense,
Anaheim has a huge tourist area, santa ana is dense..

There just isnt anothee area like it.
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  #39  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2016, 1:52 AM
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Originally Posted by sopas ej View Post
I fully agree with you on Orange County and the Inland Empire being the suburbs, no doubt about that.

But I wouldn't say that all areas north of the 10, south of the hills/mountains and west of the LA river are urban, or have an "urban" form in that American sense.

Pico, Olympic, Washington Boulevards... west of downtown, I see nothing "urban" about them at all; actually quite suburban, just miles of extended storefronts, punctuated with some mini-malls, and maybe a few highrises, with many single family homes or small apartment buildings on the side streets. I wouldn't doubt these streets decades ago gave LA that nickname of "100 (or whatever number) suburbs in search of a city." Melrose Avenue is definitely not an "urban" street in terms of how people on these boards define "urban."

Much of the San Fernando Valley, particularly the older parts, look like they could be parts of Washington and Venice Boulevards; so why would those Valley thoroughfares be "suburban" but Washington and Pico Boulevards are somehow more urban?

LA definitely is its own unique animal. Hard to define in terms of "suburban" vs. "city."

In my experiences in other metro areas, like Chicago, you can definitely tell where the city ends and where the suburbs begin. And Chicago suburbs, to me, even feel semi-rural. LA suburbs somehow seem more populated and busy and crowded, and even look somehow denser than Chicago suburbs. I know someone who lives in a place called Mt. Prospect; it's a suburb of Chicago, but it felt like and looked like its very own small town.
I get what you're saying, and I actually mentioned that in my original post but it was too long so I edited it out.

Yeah my outline covers a large area, but to put it in perspective,

Where's most of LAs touristy spots ? within my outline

Where's LAs densest neighborhoods ? within my outline

Where's most of LAs nightlife ? within my outline

Where's the highest concentration of jobs ? within my outline

Where's all of LAs current rail and proposed rail lines geared/heading towards? within my outline

Where's most of LAs hustle and bustle "closest to 24hr living" ? within that outline

The only reason why I didn't include Long Beach, Glendale, Burbank, LAX(hotel row and El Segundo towers),Torrance and etc within that outline is because each Is deserving of being their own economic centers.

I'm not calling each of those cities "suburbs" but what I'm saying is, my outline is the center of LA county and where everyone finds themselves heading (tourists and citizens alike). Long Beach, Glendale, Burbank and etc. are nodal centers that have their own thing going on.

When most people in LA county say they are heading "downtown" or "to the city" or "out for the night" they aren't talking about long beach, they aren't talking about Glendale or Burbank. They are talking about downtown, Hollywood, west Hollywood, century city, Wilshire corridor, santa monica and etc. (everything within my outline)

The question wasn't whats dense and whats not. it was basically asking wheres the outline of your urban core (city Center) and suburbia. And as I said before, LA has more than one, but the most centrally located area that everyone flocks to is the area I outlined.
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  #40  
Old Posted Jun 25, 2016, 2:30 AM
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the problem is that there are a million shades of gray between "urban" and "suburban". there is no clear line of demarcation where a neighborhood goes from being urban to suburban. it's an extraordinarily gradual continuum.

take my neighborhood (edgewater) on the far northside of chicago for example. we have a population density of ~37,000 ppsm (which is quite high by north american standards), but one of the main thoroughfares of the neighborhood (broadway) is a 4-lane auto-sewer plagued with several strip malls and 2 large supermarkets with giant surface parking lots. housing is mostly tightly packed lowrise multifamily (3 flats, 6 flats, courtyard buildings, & 4+1's), but there is also a fair bit of detached single family housing mixed in, along with highrise condo towers along the lakefront. the neighborhood is quite walkable and ped-friendly for the most part (particularly the clark street corridor through andersonville) and it has good rail and bus transit access, yet most people who live up here still have a car. it's not unilaterally urban or suburban. overall i'd call it more urban than suburban, but it's still mixed.
What are you talking about?

There is nothing suburban about Edgewater. Strip malls and large surface lots exist all over Chicago, even downtown. Also, Broadway is no more auto-centric than Wabash or Grand or whatever. The only "suburban" (which is a silly description btw) parts of Chicago are along the city's edge: the neighborhoods of Forest Glen, Mount Greenwood... place like that... but it's still "the city" (a term suburban people use, which I fucking despise)

This thread is really silly. The City of Chicago is just that. The suburbs are the suburbs. Pretty cut and dry.
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