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Quixote Feb 12, 2022 11:40 PM


Originally Posted by memph (Post 9527219)
eh, I'd give Tokyo the edge over Seoul.

Much of Tokyo is like this:!8i8192

That's being generous. Most of Tokyo's neighborhoods look like alleyways, and they are lined with multiple buildings that feature driveways or car ports... which was the whole point of me bringing it up.

Tokyo. Mostly terrible design. All post-war. BUT. Highest transit ridership and probably the most rail-induced pedestrian activity dispersed across a wide geographic area.

So given what has been laid out, is there really no hope for LA's Koreatown?

I don't think we'll ever see wall-to-wall development (or even mixed-use), but I do envision mid-rises with ground-floor commercial spaces along 3rd, 6th, 8th, and Olympic. Then build a subway along Pico or down Western, narrow streets and paint crosswalks at all intersections (the latter could happen literally overnight), and you'll have created the bones for a functionally urban neighborhood. Future developments would eventually adapt (e.g. little to no parking) to this new environment.

tech12 Feb 13, 2022 4:09 AM


Originally Posted by Steely Dan (Post 9534738)
Size matters.

SF, DC, and Boston are all cute little boutique cities with around 50 sq. miles of land area, and not a ton of outer neighborhood streetcar suburbia "fluff", at least not on a relative basis.

Philly is a regular old big city with about 135 sq. miles of land area.

I'm not sure how big, diverse cities like SF, or DC, or Boston are supposed to be "cute little boutique" cities, or how Philly is "regular" in comparison (or big in comparison...more on that below).

Speaking for SF, do you honestly consider Oakland to be irrelevant? It's right next door, and it even used to be connected to SF by a streetcar system, along with Berkeley. You combine those and a few more suburbs with SF and you have a city that is very similar to Philly in population/area/density:

San Francisco - 873,965 people / 46.9 square miles
Oakland - 440,646 people / 55.93 sq. miles
Berkeley - 124,321 / 10.43
Emeryville - 12,905 / 1.28
Daly City - 104,901 / 7.64
South SF - 67,789 / 9.20

Total population: 1,624,527 people / 131.38 square miles
Population density: 12,365.10 people per square mile

If you swap say, South San Francisco with San Leandro, or Alameda, the results end up more or less the same: about 1.6 million people, in about 130-140 square miles, with a density of about 12,000 people per square mile.

It's actually pretty interesting how close that is to Philly's stats:

total population: 1,603,797 / 134.28 square miles
population density: 11,943.68 people per square mile

Outside of SF and some bordering parts of Daly City and some random blocks in central Oakland and South SF, that area has barely any wall-to-wall residential construction, but lots are still small, and buildings are still packed in pretty tight.

And speaking of "boutique" cities, that area in question has a lot of middle/working class people, large industrial zones, and one of the largest ports on the west coast, among other things (plus more working class people, more ports, multiple oil refineries and industrial zones, beyond that). Even SF proper has a working cargo port and rail yard, plus some industrial areas (there's a cement plant and a rendering plant, for example), as well as working class neighborhoods, including a few of the poorest parts of the Bay Area (the Tenderloin, Chinatown, various housing projects). 60% of SF residents rent, 60%+ of rental units have rent control, people have roommates, there are 30,000 people in public housing, and thousands more in SROs. I'm just going to guess that between 300,000 and 400,000 residents of SF city-proper live in rent controlled apartments, SROs, and public housing. It's not all fancy!

Maybe you can call an individual neighborhood or a small exclusive tourist town "boutique", but I don't see how it works with a place like SF.

Steely Dan Feb 13, 2022 4:33 PM

^ I was using the phrase "cute little boutique cities" in reference to the fact that Boston, DC, and SF all have very small city proper limits relative to their metro areas. Thus, when urban stats of their city propers are used in comparison to other cities, like Philly, whose municipal limits include FAR more "outer neighborhood" kinda areas that tend to be less urban than core areas, we aren't really looking at an apples-to-apples comparison.

Crawford Feb 13, 2022 4:57 PM

I don't think Philly is "best designed" for transit. Philly is a rowhouse city, not an apartment city. You probably need an apartment city for extreme transit share, at least in the developed world. Philly doesn't have any extreme density peaks. Also, while Center City is big and important, it has nothing like the extreme job numbers in downtown DC and Chicago. The Philly region has pretty dispersed employment for a big, old, Eastern city.

Also, race/class is a huge factor in U.S. transit ridership. To be blunt, Philly had/has a lot of poor black people living in hoods, and I think many working class whites mass-abandoned transit in part to get away from interacting with those folks. And later generations, whether white, black, immigrant, whatever, still want to separate themselves from the poors. As with neighborhood flight, school flight, etc., once transit had a certain share of black riders back in the 1970's or whenever, there was a tipping point and whites abandoned transit. Somewhere like Boston or SF didn't have the same factors, really.

Quixote Feb 13, 2022 8:12 PM

Philly’s lack of triple-deckers, walk-ups, duplexes/triplexes is made up for by the tight grid. There are lots of residential streets where the housing meets the sidewalk (no setbacks), sidewalks are narrow with no parkways, and the street is a single traffic lane. Where the hell do you park your car if there’s no driveway or garage (front or back)? These rowhouses have such small footprints, each about the length (or even slightly narrower) of a standard sedan.

That being said, yes, you bring up valid points about size and racial demographics Steely and Crawford. Although I’d point out that even DC, Boston, and SF have suburban-esque neighborhoods at the periphery, albeit not quite like Far Northeast Philly or Staten Island. Regarding demographics, Philly is very close to having a white plurality (40.7% white, 42.1% black), while DC is evenly split (46% each).

I guess I was expecting Philly’s numbers to be more of a middle ground between Boston/SF/DC, and Chicago. Philly’s really an enigma to me in many ways, and this only adds to that sentiment.

iheartthed Feb 13, 2022 9:01 PM

Philly is waaaaaaaaaaay more car friendly than Boston or New York.

Crawford Feb 13, 2022 11:43 PM

And NE Philly is a huge share of Philly city proper. Like maybe 40% of the city geography is "NE Philly". Much of NE Philly is really sparse, and not what you imagine Philly to be. It doesn't really have a Staten Islandy vibe, in terms of built form. Feels more like it should be in adjacent Bucks County, PA.

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