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  #1  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 6:18 PM
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The Brooklyn Factor

When I think of the most common type of walkable urbanity in US and Canada, I like to compare it to Brooklyn, meaning (architecture and design aside) you could place these neighborhoods adjacent to your average neighborhood in Brooklyn with no immediate discernable difference.

The Brooklyn factor is most found in large swaths of the city....

- outside downtown
- most predominantly filled with 3-4 story buildings
- with good amount of pedestrian traffic
- with a network of intersecting commercial streets

The Brooklyn factor is that feeling you get of being in the middle of the urban jungle, with a seamless stream of pedestrian activity from street to street, meaning you can wander in any direction and find it. Traffic usually follows, adding to the vibrancy of the street.

IMO, I think there are outliers, parts of Vancouver have commercial streets with 1 story buildings, with a mixture of high-rises and multi-family apartments, and the occasional single family home such as Robson street in the West End.

Examples of intersections that give you this feeling.


San Francisco - Mission & 16th
Toronto - Bloor & Spadina
Chicago - Diversey & Clark
Washington DC - 14th & U Street
Boston - Broadway & Dorchester
Montreal - St.Laurent & Mont Royal
Philadelphia - Broad & South
Vancouver - Main & Broadway


What are some other areas in the US and Canada that fit this category?
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  #2  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 6:23 PM
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You mentioned a few of the main ones I'm acquainted with ( SF, Montreal, DC, Philly).

Closest thing in Florida would be South Beach. Central LA ( Koreatown) is another. Outside the US, central Puebla and Mexico City.
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Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 6:39 PM
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^ South Beach is a good one. I guess you could say Koreatown too. LA finds a way to be vibrant, even around multiple obstructions to pedestrian life, and generally wide streets. Usually LA streets are very linear. One could also consider West Hollywood and Santa Monica. There are also some areas off the beaten path that sort of slick by this definition.

Victory & Van Nuys in the Valley (Pardon the alliteration): https://goo.gl/maps/btYHWqrzxH9DQW8q7
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Africa rising is the pivotal movement of our human species.The ones with the least shall inspire. The meek shall inherit the Earth.

Check out my music video "Segun", filmed on the Streets of Rio - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTWN0RxMKgQ
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Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 7:07 PM
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In Toronto, I'm not sure if Spadina counts as a downtown street. If it doesn't, then most of the major east-west commercial streets that intersect with it create very vibrant intersections:

- Spadina & King
- Spadina & Queen
- Spadina & Dundas
- Spadina & College

Then there are the major streets that intersect Queen, so:

- Queen & Bathurst
- Queen & Ossington
- Queen & Broadview

There are a few more in the general area of town south of Dupont and east of High Park.

But here are a few dark horse mentions, since they're in faraway neighbourhoods that don't get a lot of love:

- Yonge and Broadway. This is just north of the Yonge and Eglinton intersection, and a lot more human in scale. "Broadway" is a very insignificant cross-street, but I always thought that this intersection was like the informal heart of the Yonge/Eglinton area.

- Yonge and Spring Garden. OK, I don't know if this one counts, because it's not very walkable - and if you walk two blocks east or west, it's very suburban (streets that don't have sidewalks on both sides). But the North York centre strip is full of street-facing hole-in-the-wall Asian restaurants that generate a lot of nighttime vibrancy.

It's not really Brooklyn-ish, but I would put the North York Centre strip of Yonge St. toe to toe against any neighbourhood in LA except for downtown LA itself. This area is also completely underrated by most urbanite Torontonians themselves, except maybe those who are foodies.
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  #5  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 7:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Segun View Post
^ South Beach is a good one. I guess you could say Koreatown too. LA finds a way to be vibrant, even around multiple obstructions to pedestrian life, and generally wide streets. Usually LA streets are very linear. One could also consider West Hollywood and Santa Monica. There are also some areas off the beaten path that sort of slick by this definition.

Victory & Van Nuys in the Valley (Pardon the alliteration): https://goo.gl/maps/btYHWqrzxH9DQW8q7
LA, more than the other cities you listed, has more of a segregation of uses. Commercial activity is usually clustered on commercial corridors, often with very little or no residential mixed in. These corridors are flanked by residential neighborhoods. If this type of development pattern is disqualifying for the point of this thread, then I don't think LA really has a neighborhood akin to what you're looking for.

That said, the commercial corridors can be very vibrant and full of pedestrian life. From immigrant hub communities like Westlake and Pico-Union to affluent areas like Melrose and Santa Monica in WeHo or the Fairfax District. The downtown area of Santa Monica probably comes closest, given how pedestrian friendly and mixed use it is.
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  #6  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 7:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hipster duck View Post
- Yonge and Broadway. This is just north of the Yonge and Eglinton intersection, and a lot more human in scale. "Broadway" is a very insignificant cross-street, but I always thought that this intersection was like the informal heart of the Yonge/Eglinton area.


^ I've been to most of those Toronto intersections. Good choices!

That stretch of Yonge North from Eglington is one of my favorites stretches of streets in NA.

Side story: I "made my mark" at that Post Office condo 10 years ago or so.
This one: https://goo.gl/maps/bHZgZCQrrwJwyHEE9

Back when it was a Post Office, I was taking a break for a second. I leaned up against a big concrete bowl shaped planter, knocking it over and breaking it. I kind of whistled and walked away as it happened. I came back a few years later and they still hadn't replaced it. LOL.

Maybe it was a mild case of butterfly effect that got that condo built? Who knows?

Toronto owes me a condo!
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Check out my music video "Segun", filmed on the Streets of Rio - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTWN0RxMKgQ
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  #7  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 7:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edale View Post
LA, more than the other cities you listed, has more of a segregation of uses. Commercial activity is usually clustered on commercial corridors, often with very little or no residential mixed in. These corridors are flanked by residential neighborhoods. If this type of development pattern is disqualifying for the point of this thread, then I don't think LA really has a neighborhood akin to what you're looking for.

That said, the commercial corridors can be very vibrant and full of pedestrian life. From immigrant hub communities like Westlake and Pico-Union to affluent areas like Melrose and Santa Monica in WeHo or the Fairfax District. The downtown area of Santa Monica probably comes closest, given how pedestrian friendly and mixed use it is.
LA looks like it will have it in a few years the way it's building. I remember when there was nothing connecting the stretch of Vine from Sunset to Hollywood, then seeing it filled out with big developments.
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Africa rising is the pivotal movement of our human species.The ones with the least shall inspire. The meek shall inherit the Earth.

Check out my music video "Segun", filmed on the Streets of Rio - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTWN0RxMKgQ
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  #8  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 7:32 PM
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What about Westwood in LA?
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Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 7:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Segun View Post
LA looks like it will have it in a few years the way it's building. I remember when there was nothing connecting the stretch of Vine from Sunset to Hollywood, then seeing it filled out with big developments.
Yeah, Hollywood was my first thought when I read your initial post, but I thought the linear focus of Hollywood and Sunset Blvds didn't quite fit. You're right that the whole area is infilling, but the incoming development tends to be massive and well beyond the 3-4 story scale you're describing. But for large amounts of pedestrians, commercial activity located outside of a downtown environment, Hollywood is probably LA's answer, especially given the multiple subway stops in Hollywood.
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  #10  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 7:38 PM
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Uhh Yeah , north York is not really Brooklynish.
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Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 7:48 PM
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Some others in Chicago (of varying quality):

Damen and Milwaukee
53rd and Lake Park
Ashland and 18th
Ashland and Chicago
Broadway and Granville
Lawrence and Western

Elsewhere:

Cambridge: Central Square
Somerville: Davis Square
Berkeley: Telegraph Ave
Milwaukee: Brady St
Madison: State St
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Last edited by SIGSEGV; Jul 29, 2020 at 8:01 PM.
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  #12  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 7:50 PM
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DC has some Brooklyn factors to it. Can we count places outside of core DC? I've found (prepandemic), that George town was great. Lots of traffic, activity, and beautiful architecture. Same thing, like 3-4 story structures, folks out and about. Alexandria too!

Although on a side note, Brooklyn factor also applies to the borough of Queens. Queens NY will suprise folks. It has some neighborhoods that are packed with traffic (WHICH NEVER FLOWS, because parking lots don't flow), and lots of diverse people. Queens is denser and livelier than folks give it credit for, like I said, it will suprise folks.

Philadelphia in my experience, pre pandemic, has a few sections as well.

Newark NJ's Broad Street and Ironbound's Market Street are busy as heck. Ironbound section especially.
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Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 7:51 PM
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I don't think Cincinnati has any neighborhood that can match the pedestrian activity of Brooklyn, but Over the Rhine and surrounds at least has a somewhat similar built form. When more of the neighborhood has been rehabbed and vacant/abandoned buildings are filled with residents and commercial storefronts again, it will become more vibrant.

It's probably the best answer for any Ohio city, I'd imagine.


https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1100...7i16384!8i8192

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1105...7i16384!8i8192

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.1098...7i16384!8i8192
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Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 8:00 PM
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What about high st in Columbus ?
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Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 8:07 PM
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OTR in Cincinnati is a good choice, especially as the more people move around, expanding the walking area, and bringing more people into it.

Milwaukee also has small scale version of it, in the East Side, near Brady & Farwell.

There's also Pittsburgh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris08876 View Post
DC has some Brooklyn factors to it. Can we count places outside of core DC? I've found (prepandemic), that George town was great. Lots of traffic, activity, and beautiful architecture. Same thing, like 3-4 story structures, folks out and about. Alexandria too!

Although on a side note, Brooklyn factor also applies to the borough of Queens. Queens NY will suprise folks. It has some neighborhoods that are packed with traffic (WHICH NEVER FLOWS, because parking lots don't flow), and lots of diverse people. Queens is denser and livelier than folks give it credit for, like I said, it will suprise folks.

Philadelphia in my experience, pre pandemic, has a few sections as well.

Newark NJ's Broad Street and Ironbound's Market Street are busy as heck. Ironbound section especially.
I left NYC out on purpose, because you'll find that everywhere, alongside mid rises and high rises.

Also, there's Hoboken and Union City, NJ.
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Africa rising is the pivotal movement of our human species.The ones with the least shall inspire. The meek shall inherit the Earth.

Check out my music video "Segun", filmed on the Streets of Rio - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTWN0RxMKgQ
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  #16  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 8:14 PM
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What about high st in Columbus ?
High Street has a good design, but I think it would be hard to find one big street that intersects it with the same level of traffic on it, let alone multiple streets and streets running parallel to it. It's been a while since I visited Columbus.
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Africa rising is the pivotal movement of our human species.The ones with the least shall inspire. The meek shall inherit the Earth.

Check out my music video "Segun", filmed on the Streets of Rio - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTWN0RxMKgQ
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  #17  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 8:31 PM
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  #18  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 8:51 PM
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That's a lot of new development in Ann Arbor from the last time I visited. Pretty impressive.
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Africa rising is the pivotal movement of our human species.The ones with the least shall inspire. The meek shall inherit the Earth.

Check out my music video "Segun", filmed on the Streets of Rio - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTWN0RxMKgQ
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  #19  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 9:39 PM
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Bathurst Street in Toronto has a bit of a Brooklyn thing going on, from the gritty highly urban stretch in the Southern end which mixes commercial and residential uses, and as it moves North becoming more residential but with lots of nice old pre-war apartment buildings, and eventually becoming the main commercial corridor of the city's Orthodox Jewish community lined with kosher shops and large commie block apartments.

https://goo.gl/maps/nAZJrUENezkjtTAx7
https://goo.gl/maps/q5jfCq3XoXGALg8Z6
https://goo.gl/maps/m2wyWHoT9jsqELqd8
https://goo.gl/maps/vbNUuaxsUiDvqRmS7
https://goo.gl/maps/d5YDSqWLy4DuHSz38
https://goo.gl/maps/W3gRUzuHcRNZp5ch9
https://goo.gl/maps/ZTgpd8FR6StcwRuZA
https://goo.gl/maps/4NYea6WG2cvZ9nDeA
https://goo.gl/maps/2z2YXhb9BakM1AfM8
https://goo.gl/maps/2GTPgfRDVhTMjBK48
https://goo.gl/maps/qcvbtfP3JSufRGtM8
https://goo.gl/maps/mqnHcVPB6zMY4b5aA
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  #20  
Old Posted Jul 29, 2020, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_denizen View Post
What about high st in Columbus ?
High Street is impressive, but it's just one street surrounded by almost entirely residential on either side. The residential is mostly detached housing, so all and all, I don't think it really fits the criteria of this thread.

High Street:
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9764...7i16384!8i8192

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9791...7i16384!8i8192


Immediately west of High (Victorian Village):
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9785...7i16384!8i8192

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9779...7i16384!8i8192


Immediately east of High (Italian Village):
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9781...7i16384!8i8192
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