Originally Posted by BrianSac
My only comment is that midtown is not really "urban" regarding density compared to other cities, like SF, NYC, Chicago, Montreal. Now if you want to compare midtown to the suburbs of course its more dense. I'm just trying to raise the bar a little; compare downtown/midtown to "real" cities, not the suburbs.
What you're saying depends largely on exactly what parts of SF, NYC, Chicago or Montreal you're talking about. I've never been to NYC or Montreal so I don't really have a basis for comparison, but I know San Francisco and Chicago pretty well. The vast majority of those cities' area are NOT skyscrapers, or even 5-8 story buildings.
Think about neighborhoods like the Castro in San Francisco, or Melrose in Los Angeles. They're primarily 1-3 stories tall, but they're certainly urban. People are out walking and interacting with the city, shopping, etcetera. They don't need to be high-rise urban because there is enough capacity for urban living in historic building types. If you head west or south from downtown in San Francisco, you run into architecture that starts to look a lot more like things you see in midtown Sacramento. A bit closer together, and a bit taller on average, but the same concepts apply because they were mostly built around the same time.
Chicago tells the same story. Sure, there's plenty of tall in Chicago, largely because it was a city of a million people 110 years ago, and back then suburbs had to be a lot closer in. But there are still many neighborhoods of predominantly 2-3 story single-family detatched dwellings throughout the city of Chicago--not out in the Chicagoland suburbs, but in the city itself, in neighborhoods like Lincoln Park and south Chicago.
Here's San Francisco (pretty recognizable):
Here's Chicago (Lincoln Park):
econgrad: Actually, the point of the discussion was more along the lines of, Why would people buy high-rise condos when they could buy in midtown/downtown, with a choice of detatched new, attached condo new, mid-rise new, or historic, at a lower price?
And yeah, we probably should meet in person sometime and talk about this stuff face to face, which is generally more fun and less acrimonious than all this anonymous muttering via the Internet.
otnemarcaS: I agree with you on the parking issue re: suburbanites spending their dollars downtown is good, except for one thing: San Francisco ABSOLUTELY depends on commuters, driving or not. They're a boutique city, and if people stopped coming from the greater Bay Area (and Sacramento) for dining, culture and entertainment (not to mention commuters) who work there but can't afford to live there), the city would find itself in one hell of a financial pickle!
Anyhow, to kind of try and sidle this back in the direction of West Sacramento, one reason this subject has come up because it is the contention of developers (like LJ Urban) that West Sacramento's proximity to downtown provides an opportunity to create a "new Midtown" of equal proximity and similar levels of urban intensity. That was the original intent of the guys who first built West Sacramento a century ago (and they also put in a streetcar) and the new round have similar ideas. While it will take a good long while for West Sac to grow a Midtown-like culture, I can see it happening.