Originally Posted by 10023
... or playing nice with their neighbors. This is more a problem of contemporary developers than Chicago architects, but buildings today never seem to be built with the idea that there might someday be something different next door in mind. We don't get the nice, consistent streetwalls that used to be built.
Also, Chicago NEEDS to mandate underground parking garages. It's becoming a really unfortunate city to walk around, when the second floor of every building is the start of a blank or pathetically decorated concrete wall that rises another 8 stories from the street. In New York, even with new buildings, if you look up to the second floor you see someone's living room. Whatever the cost or impact on the amount of development, that needs to happen immediately.
Consistent streetwalls don't allow developers to maximize their returns, because buildings in such an environment have units with street views - the valuable ones - and ones in the back that face an alley, which are less valuable. Mid-block buildings can never have corner units, either.
In Paris and some parts of New York, it's less of a problem because people buy into neighborhoods
, not into buildings. The amenities and views in a particular building don't factor in because the people who move there expect to spend most of their time out in the city. Apartments are differentiated by location, finishes and the efficiency of the layout.
On the other hand, the Chicago model is based on Canadian cities like Vancouver and Toronto - heavily oriented around the developer's right to maximize profits and disguised with straw men about "short fat buildings blocking out the sun". It would be interesting to take an area of Chicago with good transit access and abolish all parking requirements within the zone while encouraging streetwall development, as an experiment. Motor Row is a good candidate - nobody really lives there now, so there's nobody to complain about street parking issues and so forth, and it has easy access to two L lines and good bike infrastructure.