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Author Topic: Shrinking Cities, going for "less is more" quality over quantity.  (Read 3853 times)
TheArtist
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« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2009, 09:59:48 pm »

A million thanks, tshane! That's some very compelling data--I can't wait to pour over all the details!
I've already found my tract (21) and am very pleased that it has a density of more than 8,000/sq. mi!


And, Artist, I just did a little Wikisearch and Los Angeles's density is actually more than we previously thought. It's 8,205/sq mi. Tulsa's density is 2,152/sq mi., which means that Los Angeles, the epitome of sprawl, is 3.81 times more dense than Tulsa.

For more comparison, here are some U.S. cities and their densities:
NYC: 27,440/sq mi
Portland, Oregon: 4,288.38/sq mi
Seattle: 7,179.4/sq mi
Dallas: 3,697.44/sq mi
Houston: 3,828/sq mi
San Francisco: 17,323/sq mi
Atlanta: 4,018/sq mi
Chicago: 12,649/sq mi
Boston: 12,561/sq mi

I think it's rather telling that LA is more dense than Portland, which is hailed by urbanists. I think it is an example of our perceptions not matching reality.

Yes, I think there are a lot of square miles in LA that are over 15,000 people per square mile, one of their zipcodes has over 50,000 ppsm. If I am looking at the Tulsa map right. I think the one highest density square mile is around TU, adding 19 and 20 on the map together, is just over 13,000 people. I wouldnt think that would include students so that area could have a lot more people in it when school is in session.

But again, one of my points with this discussion is that density and population isnt everything. Its how stuff is set up and arranged. Mixed use, pedestrian friendly, and the ability to conveniently use mass transit make a big difference. LA indeed has a lot of great areas but not as many of them are accessible via mass transit which is one difference than Portland. Plus LA does have its suburbs and areas where lots of people do have to drive to work and to shop. It seems to me that the thing to do is to start planning and integrating mass transit into the development mix as early as possible. Plus its interesting that LA seems to be lots of moderate density, "those Cherry Streets", which is higher than here, but still not high density (Some areas of NYC are close to 100,000 people per sq mile, try imagining a few of the places in the world with 1,000,000 people per square mile). And once again they often fall short in that,,, yes LA is huge and there are lots of dense areas, but the areas with the highest jobs densities are fairly far from the areas with the highest population densities AND the mass transit options to and from those areas are often lousy, and sometimes rail from the highest population areas to the largest job areas dont even exist= traffic and large highways. So again we are back to "where things are placed+density+mixed use "including jobs not just retail"+mass transit" all should work together. You miss to much of one component or more and you can be in a mess.  We must also not forget that much of our image of LA sprawl has become out dated. Other cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and Phoenix, should more likely be the poster child for sprawl these days as over time LA has densified.

Maps showing where people live in LA and where the jobs are.
 http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/bottleneck/2008/07/where-should-tr.html 

The Los Angeles density paradox
http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?p=4370258

Here is another interesting thread on Skyscraper Page Forums

Most densly populated neighborhood in your city....
http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=168774


I like this quote from the first SSP link...............

""I think everybody misses the point.

As a quality of life argument, density is irrelevant. Some of the densest cities in the world are frakking miserable places. So are some of the least densely populated places.

What matters (more is that it is) walkable, and accessible. Can you live your life around your neighborhood and access what the city has to offer without hopping in your car and driving 20 minutes every time you need to buy a god damn gallon of milk?

I have been to villages and small cities (more in Europe than the U.S.) where this is the case. There are plazas lined with restaurants crowded with people on a Saturday afternoon, everything you could want for the kitchen is available at a market a short walk down the street, you don't need to go out of your way or drive to get to work, or attend a concert, or watch a sporting event, or go shopping.

You can obviously do this as well in some of the largest cities in the world. But there are some where you really can't, regardless of how many people inhabit your census tract.

A certain threshold of density may be required to create the necessary critical mass to provide "city things", which are inherently public and shared and therefore require a certain number of people in the vicinity as patrons. But more dense doesn't mean better, or even more urban, and density and sprawl are by no means mutually exclusive concepts.


But I digress... the answer to the question is "no", because whatever LA's faults (which it has, and I for one would never live there), it is not even close to the worst offender in this regard.""
« Last Edit: July 22, 2009, 10:47:10 pm by TheArtist » Logged

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