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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 5:13 PM
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Chicago's "Manhattan"

ever since the digging of the north shore channel over a century ago (a canal dug connecting lake michigan to the north branch of the chicago river to help "flush" it out), a good deal of the northside of chicago and most of evanston were turned into a long and skinny man-made "island".

now, absolutely no one actually thinks of this chunk of land as an island (because it's not in reality), but because it is now technically surrounded by water, and because it lines up so closely to manhattan in size/shape, and because it represents a solid chunk of the some of the densest and most urban neighborhoods of chicago, it's only natural to compare the two geographies.





the real manhattan: ~13 miles long x ~2 miles wide = ~23 sq. miles | 2020 pop: 1,694,251 | average density: ~75,000 ppsm

chicago's "manhattan": ~13 miles long x ~2.5 miles wide = ~29 sq. miles | 2020 pop: ~666,000* | average density: ~23,000 ppsm


(*) i had to approximate the population a tiny bit because a couple of census tracts up in evanston at the very northern end don't fully align with the course of the channel, so +/- around 250 people on that figure.




in case anyone wasn't fully convinced yet, NYC is on a completely different level than every other US city.

nice try chicago, thanks for playing
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Last edited by Steely Dan; Sep 9, 2022 at 6:33 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 5:20 PM
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of course a big difference is that the Loop is not on Chicago's "Manhattan" which limits it's density potential.. but yea, NYC is on it's own level, surprise, surprise.
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 5:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Innsertnamehere View Post
of course a big difference is that the Loop is not on Chicago's "Manhattan" which limits it's density potential..
yeah, the miss of the loop is certainly a big ding against this comparison.

but in its favor, the milwaukee ave. corridor from the west loop up to avondale is just west from chicago's "manhattan" across the river and has been the hot new trendy "it" section of the city for a couple decades now, in a somewhat similar fashion to brooklyn's rise in new york.

(before any new yorkers get their panties in a bunch, i'm not saying that the milwaukee ave corridor in chicago is physically like brooklyn, just that it has served a similar kind of role within chicago for 20+ years now.)
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 6:03 PM
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Actually Central Phoenix is developed along a spine that is pretty close in proximity to Manhattan's dimensions , except maybe wider depending on where you want to cut it off:

Its Roughly 12.7 miles from the southern loop highway around downtown up to the Phoenix mountain preserves (and they even have an angle like the north end of Manhattan and end in higher elevation like the end of Manhattan) its roughly 4 miles (2 miles if you want to reduce it to the "Between the 7's' as many do wide the whole way and contains the oldest neighborhoods tallest buildings and still highest concentrations of employment density in the metro even during the period of our Downtown decline form 1970-2010.

Even the distance between our two main nodesof skyscrapers Midtown & downtown are roughly the same distance apart, depending on where you set down your marker roughly 3-4 miles apart for both. Of course Manhattan is about 20x the density lol!



roughly where all those colored blocks are and between the yellow highways with the mountain preserve on the north end and downtown/Warehouse district on the south tip.

The Neighborhoods are even called, Downtown, Midtown, Uptown, North Central and eventually Sunnyslope at the north end.

Outdated Hand Drawn map of "Midtown" Phoenix




and here you can see downtown to the south and Midtown to the right right around the same distance as Midtown and downtown Manhattan. All of this is not planned, makes me wonder if there is some natural tendency for these sort of distances based on peoples preferences and reasonable travel times? Mnahattan is the way it is due to geographic constraint, Phoenix is obviously not constrained at all other than some small mountains here and there.


Last edited by Obadno; Sep 9, 2022 at 6:17 PM.
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  #5  
Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 6:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Obadno View Post
Actually Central Phoenix is developed along a spine that is pretty close in proximity to Manhattan's dimensions , except maybe wider depending on where you want to cut it off:
I guess Detroit too, with Downtown and New Center.
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 6:45 PM
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I guess Detroit too, with Downtown and New Center.
downtown detroit up to new center is only about 3 miles, but if you continue up the woodward corridor to around royal oak, that's closer to the 13 mile mark of manhattan.

in fact, downtown royal oak is almost exactly the same distance north of downtown detroit as downtown evanston is north of downtown chicago (11.75 miles).

i've never noticed that symmetry before. (royal oak and evanston have been compared to each other many times here over the years).
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 6:53 PM
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Though Detroit is a little different. The apartment district really was Northwest of the core. If Detroit had ever built a real transit system, Woodward would have been the logical first route, but the Dexter/Linwood corridor out towards Southfield would have been a close second.

The Dexter bus line is the second busiest in the city, even today, after 90% of the apartment buildings were leveled. You see slight hints of the old vitality around Dexter Davison, Central HS and the like. Was the Jewish district, then the upper-middle class black district, plus a big gay population in the apartment buildings till the area got crappy.
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 6:55 PM
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One Detroit-Manhattan similarity that is an interesting coincidence is the very similar distance of Midtown Manhattan and Detroit's New Center from their respective downtowns. Both are roughly 3 miles from the downtowns. In both cases, I think the reason for the secondary downtowns being established where they were was because of railroad terminals being built at the urban edge.
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 6:56 PM
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Kind of interesting, its got to be in some relation to peoples travel radiuses? because these patterns certainly are not planned.

Kind of makes Manhattan even more ideal as its geographic dimensions line up almost perfectly with human travel patters?

Weird coincidences
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 7:03 PM
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Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
One Detroit-Manhattan similarity that is an interesting coincidence is the very similar distance of Midtown Manhattan and Detroit's New Center from their respective downtowns. Both are roughly 3 miles from the downtowns. In both cases, I think the reason for the secondary downtowns being established where they were was because of railroad terminals being built at the urban edge.
Midtown was never a secondary downtown. Manhattan's commercial district organically grew northwards, and stopped when the final transit terminals were built, and wealthy uptowners blocked further northern expansion. Eventually, post WW2, Midtown became the true city core. The city core moved northward from the city's founding till maybe the 1980's or so.

New Center was basically a new district by GM. But yeah, at the time, given Detroit was basically the Dubai of its age, there were dreams of connecting to the city core.
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 7:15 PM
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the "3 mile thing" doesn't really work for chicago because it never developed a true independent major secondary office node within city limits (i'm not counting that post-war crap along the kennedy out by ORD, that's a totally different animal).

from state/madison (the 0,0 of chicago's grid), 3 miles north puts you at fullerton ave. in lincoln park, 3 miles south puts you at 31st street in douglas, 3 miles west puts you at western ave. on the far end of the near west side out past the united center, and 3 miles east puts you in a boat out on the lake. none of them are significant office nodes.
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Last edited by Steely Dan; Sep 9, 2022 at 7:35 PM.
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 7:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
Midtown was never a secondary downtown. Manhattan's commercial district organically grew northwards, and stopped when the final transit terminals were built, and wealthy uptowners blocked further northern expansion. Eventually, post WW2, Midtown became the true city core. The city core moved northward from the city's founding till maybe the 1980's or so.

New Center was basically a new district by GM. But yeah, at the time, given Detroit was basically the Dubai of its age, there were dreams of connecting to the city core.
There's always been a residential break between downtown and Midtown in Manhattan. It still exists today.
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 7:37 PM
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Lol because of how many rivers we have that feed back into themselves and the lake, wouldn't most of Chicago count as islands?
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 7:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
from state/madison (the 0,0 of chicago's grid), 3 miles north puts you at fullerton ave. in lincoln park, 3 miles south puts you at 31st street in douglas, 3 miles west puts you at western ave. on the far end of the near west side out past the united center, and 3 miles east puts you in a boat out on the lake. none of them are significant office nodes.
Coincidentally, the Illinois Medical District and the planned megadevelopments Lincoln Yards and Bronzeville Lakefront are be located on the edge of the 3 mile radius. These three will effectively be office districts for their respective North, South, and West Side
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 7:47 PM
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Coincidentally, the Illinois Medical District and the planned megadevelopments Lincoln Yards and Bronzeville Lakefront are be located on the edge of the 3 mile radius. These three will effectively be office districts for their respective North, South, and West Side
yeah, the medical district is the closest thing that chicago has to a major secondary professional employment center separate from "downtown", but it entirely orbits around healthcare. you don't find bankers/lawyers/clerical workers/etc. heading there for work each morning.

we'll see how lincoln yards and the bronzeville mega-developments pan out over the coming decades.
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 7:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
the "3 mile thing" doesn't really work for chicago because it never developed a true independent major secondary office node within city limits (i'm not counting that post-war crap along the kennedy out by ORD, that's a totally different animal).

from state/madison (the 0,0 of chicago's grid), 3 miles north puts you at fullerton ave. in lincoln park, 3 miles south puts you at 31st street in douglas, 3 miles west puts you at western ave. on the far end of the near west side out past the united center, and 3 miles east puts you in a boat out on the lake. none of them are significant office nodes.
Technically 3 miles north of State/Madison puts you in a boat out on the lake too.
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 7:56 PM
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Technically 3 miles north of State/Madison puts you in a boat out on the lake too.
technically it puts you right near the waters edge on that new bit of lakefill at the end of fullerton, now solidly on tera firma.

years ago you woulda been in the lake.


source: https://chi.streetsblog.org/2015/12/...-at-fullerton/
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 8:32 PM
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There's always been a residential break between downtown and Midtown in Manhattan. It still exists today.
There's never been a residential break. NYC's commercial center moved up the center of the island over the years. Broadway is a commercial street until Columbus Center. The Theater District was around 14th Street 100 years ago. SoHo, and then Union Square, and later Madison Square, were each "Midtown" for periods.

Of course there are residential areas, but those are legacies from pre-commercialization, or more recent developments. Midtown was residential too. Rockefeller Center was a fully residential neighborhood. The far east and west sides of Midtown have always been mostly residential.

The changes were often crazy. The (current) Fashion/Garment District went from a quiet residential backwater until the ultra-dense vertical factories were all built in about a decade.
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Old Posted Sep 9, 2022, 8:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
There's never been a residential break. NYC's commercial center moved up the center of the island over the years. Broadway is a commercial street until Columbus Center. The Theater District was around 14th Street 100 years ago. SoHo, and then Union Square, and later Madison Square, were each "Midtown" for periods.
Only within about a block of Broadway. At most points from Chambers Street to about 30th, if you go more than one avenue in each direction from Broadway you'll be in a residential area. By contrast, between 30th and 60th solid residential areas are the minority.
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Old Posted Sep 10, 2022, 12:08 AM
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Sounds like there’s still plenty of space for us to stuff more people.
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