Originally Posted by TWAK
there are areas in the burbs that seem to be 24 hours, but are not considered "urban" on this forum. Like for example, that place up in natomas with the wal mart and all that. It's busy all day long, and housing is close by...but it is still considered not urban or vibrant because of zoning? And same goes for arden, seemed always packed, a variety of people. The area that I am in, greenhaven/south pocket, has a strip mall in the middle of all the housing and it is active till later at night. That can be considered urban, or no?
"Vibrant" is a subjective term, and not at all limited to a city's core. You can definitely find shopping centers in Granite Bay or Greenhaven that are bustling with activity for 14 hours a day. But what sets those areas apart from the urban form are the large parking lots required to support the patrons, and the 6-8 lane wide streets they use to get there. Sure you have a select few that are close enough to walk to the stores, but you need only look at the orientation of the stores to figure how the majority access these shopping centers. Most stores are inward oriented with their backs to the streets and sidewalks (if there are sidewalks), while the store front faces the parking lot. In fact the term "shopping center" perfectly describes the suburban land use model, and its segregation by usage.
Suburban areas like Greenhaven and Arden are also very well established. When you have areas that are almost entirely built out, developments begin to abut each other. But that's a product of many years of growth, and not of urban design. In fact, when these different uses begin to run into each other, it's often the base of bitter disputes between neighborhoods, developers and businesses.
Sacramento's grid was created to be compact, dense, and walkable - "human scale". Short blocks and tight streets were a form based idea that allowed for easy pedestrian travel and efficient public transit. A product of a compact streetscape is dense, vertical development that often holds retail, office and residential all on the same block. These are just some examples of the model that people refer to as "urban".