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  #1  
Old Posted Nov 13, 2019, 11:33 PM
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Winding urban streets/grids

I thought about this after looking at pics of London yesterday. I have yet to make it out there but was amazed at its irregular grid structure. Streets and lanes seem very organically structured, which is fun and interesting. It's like being in a glob or a nature trail.

This type of city layout is different from the more rigid grid system that a lot of American cities use, which also has its grand look and logical advantages.


Anyways, does your city or a city you have been to have these types of winding streets and irregular grids? Suburban developments can be included too, since many of them are built with that in mind. I can think of Boston having this type of layout.


Also, post a lot of pictures! I can't at the moment since I'm typing this on my phone.
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Old Posted Nov 13, 2019, 11:43 PM
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Just think London cabbies have to memorize most or all of London's streets.
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2019, 2:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JManc View Post
Just think London cabbies have to memorize most or all of London's streets.
Had to memorize....

With GoogleMaps anybody can navigate any city on their first day there -- Except the whole driving on the wrong side of the road thing they got going on over there -- piece of cake.
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2019, 3:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Sun Belt View Post
Had to memorize....

With GoogleMaps anybody can navigate any city on their first day there -- Except the whole driving on the wrong side of the road thing they got going on over there -- piece of cake.
No. As far as I know, London cabbies still have to take the Knowledge test.
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2019, 5:42 AM
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Here are some pics of those London streets:


London street by tidusin, on Flickr



London Street by Marlene lls, on Flickr




London Streets by Justin Fulkerson, on Flickr
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2019, 7:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun Belt View Post
Had to memorize....

With GoogleMaps anybody can navigate any city on their first day there -- Except the whole driving on the wrong side of the road thing they got going on over there -- piece of cake.
There’s nothing worse than a cabbie that doesn’t know where they’re going. Just last night I had to dress a guy down because he tried to drop me on the wrong street (behind my building, which is where Google Maps puts the pin) because he clearly didn’t know the street, which in a black cab means no tip.

Anyway, London’s streets are partly the product of the city being built around medieval (or older) roads between towns/villages, partly the fact that the London metropolis absorbed hundreds of such towns/villages as it grew, and partly because big chunks of it were developed by private landowners from old agricultural estates.

For example, Mayfair and Belgravia were developed (and are still owned by) the Grosvenors, Marylebone is the Harold de Walden estate, etc.

Each of these was developed in a cohesive way, but one doesn’t sync of with the next. So the squares of Belgravia are all white stucco terraces...
https://goo.gl/maps/Jo5yd7RNKLjKcPFCA

On the other side of Sloane Street, the Cadogan estate is red brick apartments modelled vaguely after the Dutch architecture of the time...
https://goo.gl/maps/7YiCC1yZnsLG5pmL8

The Pimlico Grid was designed by the 19th century architect Thomas Cubitt...
https://goo.gl/maps/gDgH9FbZ9hQqjC8D8

Marylebone is Georgian...
https://goo.gl/maps/pJCuzsFUhwnLLdVe7

The concentric circular roads of Notting Hill were originally a racecourse...
https://goo.gl/maps/gpLkeo8aEV5p9f9i6


And then wherever you have squares and gardens surrounded by houses, these were usually private development schemes. It’s just that the 18th and early 19th century ones were vastly better than anything Toll Brothers or KB Homes do today.
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2019, 9:18 AM
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Photographer Jason Hawkes takes some amazing aerial pictures of London which demonstrate the organic street network of the city. It could have been so much different. After the Great Fire of London there were various competing plans to rebuild the city on a grid around major axis routes, but the landowners simply wanted to rebuild, the concession being that the gaps between buildings increased to avoid fires simply jumping across the street. As such the road network hasn’t changed much since the pre-Roman times.

All credit for the following pictures: https://twitter.com/jasonhawkesphot





















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Old Posted Nov 14, 2019, 1:13 PM
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You can debate whether or not this is technically "urban," but the neighborhood of Kenilworth here was developed in the 1920's, so by American standards it's oldish.

Why is it relevant to this discussion? Because when the developer bought the property he let a horse loose on the land and followed it, marking the routes it took around the property. He then used those routes to lay out the streets, on the principle that a horse would know the most efficient ways to traverse the lay of the land. You can't really get any more organic than that when it comes to planning your streets.

Fun fact: The centerpiece of this neighborhood is the Kenilworth Inn, once a glamorous hotel that was confiscated by the US government during World War II for use as a hospital. Afterward, it was converted into a mental institution and then later, expensive apartments. While in use as a mental hospital, it was one of the institutions where the lobotomy procedure was fine-tuned and ultimately perfected.
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2019, 1:49 PM
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Miami's Miami Lakes suburb was built as a spiral.
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Mi...!4d-80.3086619
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2019, 2:17 PM
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Pretty much every city and town in the UK has an irregular street pattern. The only ones I can think of with a grid design are Glasgow and Milton Keynes.




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Old Posted Nov 14, 2019, 3:01 PM
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being from a highly orthogonally gridded city like chicago, i find these chaotic tangles of medieval street plans to be one of the most exciting aspects of visiting cites like london. it's so much easier to get "lost" in them, with streets eternally twisting this way and that, without any clear indication of the cardinal directions to orient your position to.

in chicago, the streets only go in 2 directions: east-west or north-south (with a token handful of diagonals thrown in to offer a modicum of relief). so it's always very easy to get your bearings, perhaps a little too easy. i mean, a super-grid like chicago's does make it easy to navigate and efficiently move through the city, but it gets monotonous when taken to such a massive scale.
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2019, 3:13 PM
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While Manhattan is infamously known for it's rigid grid; there are neighborhoods below 14th street that have that London-esque medieval twisty like pattern; most notably in the financial district; along side pockets in the West Village; Little Italy; Nolita; Chinatown; Tribeca. Fewer still in the LES and EV (stuyvesant street, Astor Place).

So at least Manhattan has a bit of that Euro layout in the older parts that pre-date the 1811 grid plan.
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2019, 4:50 PM
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Came here to say the same thing about Greenwich Village, where West 4th Street oddly crosses West 10th, 11th and 12th Streets.
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2019, 4:52 PM
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The Romans did it right.

Grids are superior. Spilled spaghetti streets drive me insane.
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2019, 10:10 PM
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Manhattan’s grid starts to take shape at the WTC. The relative narrowness of the streets keeps it interesting. Boston is way more of a mess, which I love.
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Old Posted Nov 14, 2019, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by IrishIllini View Post
Manhattan’s grid starts to take shape at the WTC. The relative narrowness of the streets keeps it interesting. Boston is way more of a mess, which I love.
Disagree. There’s plenty of craziness all the way up to 14th on the West Side, and Houston on the East side.
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Old Posted Nov 15, 2019, 12:45 AM
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The Romans did it right.

Grids are superior. Spilled spaghetti streets drive me insane.
But on the other hand, all of those “organic” roads, not the side streets but the main, ancient ones, actually go somewhere. They connect one significant point of interest to another. And that has its own benefits, particularly for wandering. Anyone can figure out how to get from 3rd and 15th to 7th and 43rd, but what exactly is in either of those locations?

In those aerial photos above, I can instantly identify exactly what I’m looking at. Victoria, St Paul’s, Seven Dials, Trafalgar Square. It would be a pain in the ass for a tourist trying to drive around London (but then why the fuck would you do that?), but it creates places rather than just intersections.

New York has “places” mostly where the grid is broken - Washington Square Park, Union Square, Madison Square Park, Columbus Circle, even Rockefeller Center (which has pedestrian “streets” that cut through a megablock).
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Old Posted Nov 15, 2019, 1:46 AM
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I love crazy roads. It makes the pedestrian experience so much more exciting. Now if I am driving....
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Old Posted Nov 15, 2019, 3:19 AM
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As a few mentioned, NYC is mainly on a grid. However, it does get more irregular in Lower Manhattan


Lower Manhattan by Reinhold Behringer, on Flickr



Lower Manhattan by Dennis Hackett, on Flickr



Little Italy by Dennis Hackett, on Flickr




Lower Manhattan by Rod Nevison, on Flickr




Lower Manhattan, 10.16.6 by gigi_nyc, on Flickr
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Old Posted Nov 15, 2019, 9:57 AM
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We actually just discussed this in my urban planning class a week ago. I study in Valencia, in spain, and we actually analyzed american cities haha. But San Antonion, Charlotte (outside downtown), Dallas to some degree in the downtown periphery. And then some smaller cities like Santa Fe and Charleston. Anyway, those are all still rather organized, but less so than Chicago.
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