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  #21  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 4:23 PM
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Originally Posted by IrishIllini View Post
Chicago razed pretty much all of its public housing between the 90s and early 10s. I don’t think there’s much left in Detroit or Baltimore either.
the highrises have now all been demolished (except for the one-off senior buildings), but many low and mid-rise projects remain in CHA (cabrini rowhouses, dearborn homes, ABLA brooks, lawndale gardens, lathrop homes, wentworth gardens, altgeld gardens, etc.)
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  #22  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 4:42 PM
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Chicago razed pretty much all of its public housing between the 90s and early 10s. I don’t think there’s much left in Detroit or Baltimore either.
Detroit has almost none left.

But public housing didn't create crime and blight. Those projects were the pre-war solutions to overcrowding and affordable housing crises. Many of them were inhabited by middle class white families until the FHA began backing home loans to middle class families... but largely excluded non-whites from participating.
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  #23  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 5:44 PM
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Originally Posted by The North One View Post
What is lucky about this? Lucky you have next to zero surviving pre-war development to restore and that's lucky? Hooray for your sterile new autocentric podium hotels and apartment donuts, so lucky.

I think I'll still prefer a downtown Buffalo or a Cleveland that had a "carcass" to clean up.
This is hard to argue with. The old portion of downtown LA that was neglected and is now being revived is one of the most exciting parts of the city. Newer development just seems to lack the character that the older stuff has.
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  #24  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 5:50 PM
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Originally Posted by The North One View Post
What is lucky about this? Lucky you have next to zero surviving pre-war development to restore and that's lucky? Hooray for your sterile new autocentric podium hotels and apartment donuts, so lucky.

I think I'll still prefer a downtown Buffalo or a Cleveland that had a "carcass" to clean up.
The whole city is new, there is no past legacy to repair or correct for it can be whatever we want it to be. The only unfortunate thing really is lack of old architecture and although there was some loss generally speaking there wasn’t really that much to lose.

If you are going to put a big emphasis on living in a place with 200 years minimum of urban history it’s not going to be for you.
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  #25  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 5:51 PM
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Originally Posted by LAsam View Post
This is hard to argue with. The old portion of downtown LA that was neglected and is now being revived is one of the most exciting parts of the city. Newer development just seems to lack the character that the older stuff has.
Because the old stuff was organic and grew/evolved in stages and over time. The new stuff is contrived and value engineered. That's not saying I wouldn't welcome the new stuff because there are cities that lack a lot of pre-war development (i'm in one) so anything is better than nothing. My hometown of 60k in upstate NY has more prewar than Houston.

As for the old stuff in LA being redeveloped in LA, when I was driving around there last summer, i couldn't help but noticed all the activity.
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  #26  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 6:27 PM
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Phoenix has squandered an untold amount of tax dollars trying to revive its old downtown. Most of that money went to lollapalooza-style projects - sports arenas, convention centers, parking garages, and shopping centers that only served to emphasize Phoenix's pointlessness as a city. Still, 10 years ago, there was an uptick in the quality of those urban Hail Mary passes. The city put in a light rail system. Then ASU set up a satellite campus downtown. Today, there are huge residential infill projects downtown and the central city. There's even a burgeoning nightlife in the Roosevelt Row neighborhood. It's still a long way from being interesting but by comparison to 20 years ago, it's been a remarkable renaissance. The few civic assets Phoenix has are mostly in and near downtown - the museums, library, theaters and concert halls. I would wish for better architecture in the new construction - much of it is cheap and forgettable. But for a city whose urban pulse was mostly an ill-founded rumor the current transformation is nearly stunning.
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  #27  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 7:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
And I'm pretty sure SF had major urban renewal with Fillmore/Western Addition/Japantown, and downtown projects like Embarcadero Center.
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Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
It's weird to hear that SF didn't suffer effects of urban renewal, since many urban planners point to SF as the leading pioneer for undoing urban renewal damage.
There seems to be a lot of dsyslexia going on here. People so love to argue against points that were never made.

What I said was to the topic of the thread: Not that SF didn't have "urban renewal" and not that you couldn't argue that renewal was not ultimately a good thing, but that its "downtown" (or even its city fabric on a large scale) was not "killed" by urban renewal the way it was being argued Phoenix's was.

And this should not be a city vs city thing. What's interesting is WHY there was a difference. I don't claim to have the answer but clearly there was a difference. For one thing, San Francisco is NOT criss-crossed by freeways the way the planners wanted it to be and the way cities like LA and Pheonix are. They were stopped by citizen action.

Niether is NY by the way.
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  #28  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 7:32 PM
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Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
It's weird to hear that SF didn't suffer effects of urban renewal, since many urban planners point to SF as the leading pioneer for undoing urban renewal damage.
Mostly for tearing down expressways in the inner city like the Embarcadero Freeway along the waterfront and the 101 extension that crossed Market Street just above the Civic Center.
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  #29  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 7:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Pedestrian View Post
There seems to be a lot of dsyslexia going on here. People so love to argue against points that were never made.

What I said was to the topic of the thread: Not that SF didn't have "urban renewal" and not that you couldn't argue that renewal was not ultimately a good thing, but that its "downtown" (or even its city fabric on a large scale) was not "killed" by urban renewal the way it was being argued Phoenix's was.

And this should not be a city vs city thing. What's interesting is WHY there was a difference. I don't claim to have the answer but clearly there was a difference. For one thing, San Francisco is NOT criss-crossed by freeways the way the planners wanted it to be and the way cities like LA and Pheonix are. They were stopped by citizen action.

Niether is NY by the way.
Maybe not Manhattan, but the other boroughs are. And what about the PCH and 280 through SF?
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  #30  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 7:50 PM
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Originally Posted by austlar1 View Post
Mostly for tearing down expressways in the inner city like the Embarcadero Freeway along the waterfront and the 101 extension that crossed Market Street just above the Civic Center.
No. In the era we are talking about, it's not about tearing down the few freeways that were built but for not building so many others that were planned:


https://www.quora.com/Why-has-San-Fr...t-west-freeway
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  #31  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 7:54 PM
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Maybe not Manhattan, but the other boroughs are. And what about the PCH and 280 through SF?
You are referring to 101 (which is not on the coast in SF)? It's really just a Bay Bridge connector to the south but it's one of the rump freeway system that was built--see above. It's about ⅔ of the freeway left in the city. The other third is 280 (demolition of part of which is under discussion), a few miles of the Central Freeway and the extended Golden Gate ramp structure (part of which has now been buried).
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  #32  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 8:00 PM
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You are referring to 101 (which is not on the coast in SF)? It's really just a Bay Bridge connector to the south but it's one of the rump freeway system that was built--see above. It's about ⅔ of the freeway left in the city. The other third is 280 (demolition of part of which is under discussion), a few miles of the Central Freeway and the extended Golden Gate ramp structure (part of which has now been buried).
So there are freeways running through San Francisco, as there are in New York. I think the confusion came from implying SF and New York were outliers as the cities that were spared freeway construction and urban renewal in the 20th century when they are not.

Back to Phoenix, I wonder if the desert climate has anything to do with the lack of built density. Would it make sense to build dense housing when the summers can reach 105+ degrees regularly? Early planners and builders might have just been thinking logicially.
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  #33  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 8:24 PM
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So there are freeways running through San Francisco, as there are in New York. I think the confusion came from implying SF and New York were outliers as the cities that were spared freeway construction and urban renewal in the 20th century when they are not.
To compare the freeway construction in SF and NY with that in Phoenix and LA is ridiculous--SF has 2 parallel freeways in the southeast part of town only and part of one of those may eventually be torn down as I said.

But you are right--those who don't want to see that there's a vast difference and take an interest in why such a difference just aren't interested in why what happened in Phoenix and elsewhere did. So be it.
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  #34  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 8:32 PM
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The freeways in New York are barely freeways. They are car destroyers disguising themselves as highways.
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  #35  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 8:36 PM
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To compare the freeway construction in SF and NY with that in Phoenix and LA is ridiculous--SF has 2 parallel freeways in the southeast part of town only and part of one of those may eventually be torn down as I said.

But you are right--those who don't want to see that there's a vast difference and take an interest in why such a difference just aren't interested in why what happened in Phoenix and elsewhere did. So be it.
Ha, you are the one comparing them by even bringing them up. Cities in the USA suffered during urban renewal in the 20th century, that's not up for debate. The nuanced ways that cities changed is another story, but the original point still stands. There are innumerable small differences in planning, economics, population, etc. that vary from city to city over the decades, so I think it's a fools errand to specifically compare Phoenix to other cities and instead a better way to approach the discussion is why Phoenix in particular was impacted by this period as it was.
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  #36  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 8:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Pedestrian View Post
There seems to be a lot of dsyslexia going on here. People so love to argue against points that were never made.
Ironic. lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedestrian View Post
What I said was to the topic of the thread: Not that SF didn't have "urban renewal" and not that you couldn't argue that renewal was not ultimately a good thing, but that its "downtown" (or even its city fabric on a large scale) was not "killed" by urban renewal the way it was being argued Phoenix's was.

...

Niether is NY by the way.
So I'll agree with the spirit of your point, but I don't think the particulars of the argument are all that accurate. This is exactly the same type of urban renewal freeway building that happened in cities like Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit: https://goo.gl/maps/7AvM13hCssJikJv87

And you don't have to go far from here to find, in SF, the telltale signs of the destructive forces of our mid-century obsession with automobile traffic (i.e. surface lots): https://goo.gl/maps/cjxbQtUxDNmAQGSa7

One thing I find interesting about SF, considering how expensive land is there, is how much surface parking lots still exist so close to the city's core. These lots exist just several blocks from some of the city's signature skyscrapers. In a New Yorker's eyes, this is pretty weird.
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  #37  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 8:48 PM
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I guess I should have said more in my OP...

When I visited Phoenix in 2005 (and it was the only time I've ever been there), I felt that most of the place looked like it was built within the previous 30 years or so, minus of course the very few pre-war buildings I saw, and the historic territorial capitol building. I also felt like I saw a lot of vacant undeveloped areas.

So when I saw this while watching "Psycho" recently (starts at around 0:13, and then you see the pan over Phoenix, and then the camera "goes into" the room where the John Gavin and Janet Leigh characters are finishing up with their nooner):
Video Link


... so I thought 'Wow, Phoenix at one time looked like that?? It looks so established.' Because when I went there in 2005, it didn't look like an established city at all; everything looked new or fairly new, and very spread out, with little development in between other developments. But if you look at that shot in the film, it looks like every block has development on it, with a few parking lots. And this was circa 1960. When I was there in 2005, I guess I had assumed that a lot of those vacant lots had never been built on before, but apparently, many of them probably were; things were just demolished. And that's why I like reading about a place's history; it explains why things are the way they are at the present time. I had just assumed that most of downtown Phoenix hadn't been developed, but instead, I learned that a lot of it was torn down.

So, it wasn't that Phoenix abandoned its downtown, it DESTROYED it. In the comments section in the articles, someone said, to paraphrase, "At least in LA, you can still see some old sections and imagine what it might've been like in the past, but you can't do that with Phoenix."

I don't know if it's the case, but I feel like a lot of the people who responded in this thread didn't even read the articles I linked. In the articles, you will see that downtown Phoenix looked like it did in the 1930s in the photo in the OP, and then by the early 1970s, you saw this:


And then by the 1980s, I guess it was the nadir of downtown Phoenix:


It looks like it was nuclear-bombed.

And now it looks like this:


Like it says in the article, there's development now, but a lot of it consists of superblocks.

The first several paragraphs of the Rogue Columnist Article part 1:

Quote:
When you see downtown Phoenix today, be kind. No other major city suffered the combination of bad luck, poor timing, lack of planning, vision and moneyed stewards, as well as outright civic vandalism. The only thing missing was a race riot, which happened elsewhere in the city during World War II and is not spoken about. First, definitions. Downtown runs from the railroad tracks to Fillmore and between Seventh Street and Seventh Avenue. Any other definition — even though much of the local media are oblivious to this — is ahistorical, inaccurate and, as my sister-in-law would say, just wrong. Twenty-fourth Street and Camelback is not downtown. Central and Clarendon is not downtown.

If one were going to site the center of Phoenix today, one would pick Arcadia, with majestic Camelback Mountain nearby. But that was not the case with the original township in the 1870s. The town was centered in the great, fertile Salt River Valley, soon to be reclaimed by revolutionary waterworks from the Newlands Act and connected by railroads to the nation. It was here that downtown grew and for decades flourished. But Phoenix was small and isolated. It did not grow from 10,000 in 1910 to more than 185,000 in 1930 like Oklahoma City. In 1930, Seattle's population was more than 386,000 and Denver nearly 288,000. Phoenix held 48,118 souls in the same year and was far from any other metropolitan area.

It's a fascinating counterfactual to wonder what might have happened in downtown Phoenix if not for the Great Depression and World War II. The decades before 1940 were the golden age of American city building, including art deco architecture and the City Beautiful movement. One can see it in such buildings as the Luhrs Tower and Luhrs Building, the Professional Building and the Orpheum Lofts (and, north of downtown, in the Portland Parkway). Conventional wisdom holds that the Depression didn't hurt Phoenix much, but this is not true. With deflation and little building happening, it stopped downtown dead. This was continued by the material shortages of World War II. By the time the economy began the long post-war expansion, downtown was facing too many obstacles and didn't have many of the grand bones of the other cities I mentioned.

The distorting result of the region's abundant land showed up early. The territorial capitol (today's historic state capitol), built at the turn of the 20th century, was not located downtown, as was the case in, say, Denver and Atlanta. Instead, it was placed a mile west, through neighborhoods of charming Victorian houses. A city hall, band shell and Carnegie library (still standing) were also built outside the original township along Washington on the way to the capitol. When the beautiful post office-federal building at Van Buren and First Avenue had become obsolete, an attempt was made to replace it on that site with a multistory building. The result would have been a jewel for the city. Instead, a real-estate hustle and speculative land prices forced the government to place a much smaller new post office at Central and Fillmore. This remains a pleasing building — now part of the ASU campus — but at the time was far from the old downtown and a failure of will and vision.

The city built out in both directions and downtown was pulled north by the famed Hotel Westward Ho in 1928. The inability to create vertical density and focus for downtown was already evident. Another problem facing downtown: Arizona was a frontier state, the 48th star in the flag, with less than half a million population in 1940. It was capital poor. Phoenix was home to no major corporations; everything was small-scale except for agriculture. This would have profound consequences for downtown.

Still downtown thrived. Here is the state of play around 1940 (population 65,414 in 9.6 miles of city limits): At the southern foot of downtown are the busy Southern Pacific and Santa Fe railroad tracks servicing the produce warehouses and Union Station. With agriculture the one big business, this is a huge employment center and like the rest of downtown, excluding these giant railroads, locally owned. With hundreds of thousands of acres under cultivation, agricultural operations get their seeds and equipment from companies located here, and ship a good portion of its produce from here. A handsome combined City Hall and Maricopa County Courthouse had been completed eleven years earlier at First Avenue between Washington and Jefferson. All the banks and radio stations (with their towers) are located downtown. The retail district is centered at Central and Washington, including all the department stores and scores of specialty retailers. Want to eat or drink? Downtown is full of restaurants and bars, many run by Greeks, including the legendary Saratoga. For motorists, this is where the neon entryways to the city converge. Pedestrians are shaded by blocks of awnings and overhangs. Downtown still had residential area, too. The imposing Victorian mansions on Monroe from Second Avenue to Seventh Avenue made up "Millionaires Row." Palm-lined streets of bungalows ran north of Van Buren.
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  #38  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 10:24 PM
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see below

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  #39  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 10:35 PM
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That fairly close range pan shot from NW to NE downtown PHX captured most of what was there at the time. Note that at about 26 seconds there is even a repeat of part of the pan shot to make it appear that there is more to the place. There were a few blocks to the south that contained one or two department stores (one was Goldwater's owned by Barry Goldwater's family) and some smaller stores. Most of those closed a few years after Psycho was filmed. Some relocated to a new shopping center built a mile or two out on North Central that also contained a hotel. That was a Del Webb project I believe. Even that is no longer operative, but the hotel might remain. Back downtown the Westward Ho Hotel with the radio mast on top was one of the two or three tallest buildings. My interest in downtown PHX arose from the fact that my grandfather spent his last night alive as a guest of the Westward Ho. He and my grandmother were driving from Texas to California and spent the night at the once famous hotel. They left early the next morning (to avoid the heat of the day) and drove west. My grandfather had an asthma attack and wrecked the car. He was killed instantly and my grandmother was seriously injured. This was in the late spring of 1937.
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  #40  
Old Posted Jul 19, 2019, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by austlar1 View Post
That fairly close range pan shot from NW to NE downtown PHX captured most of what was there at the time. Note that at about 26 seconds there is even a repeat of part of the pan shot to make it appear that there is more to the place. There were a few blocks to the south that contained one or two department stores (one was Goldwater's owned by Barry Goldwater's family) and some smaller stores. Most of those closed a few years after Psycho was filmed. Some relocated to a new shopping center built a mile or two out on North Central that also contained a hotel. That was a Del Webb project I believe. Even that is no longer operative, but the hotel might remain. Back downtown the Westward Ho Hotel with the radio mast on top was one of the two or three tallest buildings. My interest in downtown PHX arose from the fact that my grandfather spent his last night alive as a guest of the Westward Ho. He and my grandmother were driving from Texas to California and spent the night at the once famous hotel. They left early the next morning (to avoid the heat of the day) and drove west. My grandfather had an asthma attack and wrecked the car. He was killed instantly and my grandmother was seriously injured. This was in the late spring of 1937.
If you look at the pan, it's still somewhat of a continuous pan, it's just edited with dissolves and then a slight closeup; he does 2 dissolves/2 slight closeups.

Even if that is all that there was to downtown Phoenix at the time, I think it still looks more like a substantial CBD than what was there in 2005. You don't even see any vacant lots in the foreground/midground.

That's terrible about what happened to your grandfather, btw. Did your grandmother make a full physical recovery?
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