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Old Posted Feb 13, 2022, 4:09 AM
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tech12 tech12 is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Oakland
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
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.

Last edited by tech12; Feb 13, 2022 at 4:27 AM.
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