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View Poll Results: What is the second most urban US city after NYC?
Boston 3 5.00%
Chicago 28 46.67%
DC 0 0%
LA 6 10.00%
Philly 7 11.67%
San Francisco 16 26.67%
some other city 0 0%
Voters: 60. You may not vote on this poll

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  #41  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:00 PM
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Originally Posted by kool maudit View Post
I think Los Angeles is pretty legible from the standpoint of Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Mexico City etc.
It's still hard to compare it when you walk any direction for more than 1 hour in Los Angeles and you see 5 or 6 people on your whole walk.

Never been to any of those cities, but I bet you spend 5 minutes in the center and you'll get a glimpse of why they're so large, and you'll still see it. In LA, you gotta spend significant time (or go on a city exploring binge).
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  #42  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:01 PM
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Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
On a weekday during business hours.
Chicago's daytime population also booms, I believe the last figure was close to 1 million.
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  #43  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:01 PM
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Originally Posted by park123 View Post
If you take someone from Tokyo or Seoul or Paris or Athens to Montrose or something in Houston, and tell them you are in an American "city" of 6 million people, (or even of 1.6 million people), they will just stare back at you not understanding what you just said.

Houston is only a city in the American context. LA is not as extreme as Houston, but it also isn't urban to the great majority of people in the world.
Maybe, but is Houston that different from Frankfurt or Melbourne or Calgary?
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  #44  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:03 PM
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Originally Posted by austlar1 View Post
Yeah, but if you get out of your car often enough in LA, you will quickly realize that you are not in Wichita or Grand Rapids. The local population is incredibly cosmopolitan. You can locate and experience every kind of cuisine in LA, enjoy some of the finest and most diverse cultural offerings to be had in North America, and obtain just about any type of goods or services that your heart may desire. The place never feels sleepy to me, but I will admit that it almost always fails to deliver that on-the-pavement big city pedestrian experience that many of us crave.
You're absolutely right, LA offers almost all of the conveniences you would find in a major global city. More so than Chicago. But it's missing the "city" part of being a global city.

Kolkata in India does not offer every kind of cuisine on earth, the finest shopping, and immigrants from all over the world. But Kolkata is still a very large city. Having international cuisine, world-class shopping, and large numbers of immigrants are not part of the definition of being a large city. Otherwise Kolkata would not be a large city, when it very clearly is.
     
     
  #45  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:11 PM
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Originally Posted by austlar1 View Post
Here's the deal as I see it. Most US cities aren't "cities" in the traditional sense. Even some of the older cities with 19th Century cores no longer function as traditional "cities", especially the economically and socially challenged cities. Most of the economic activity is spread out in a way that is similar to what you find in newer Sunbelt cities. I think those of us who participate on this site prefer traditional urban environments, but it is important to recognize that LA, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, etc. do function as cities in a very real way in spite of the fact that their form is something rather alien to much of the world.
Exactly.

The definition of “city” or “ urban” in this website has to be more flexible to accommodate the reality of today.


None of the Sunbelt cities have the row homes, transit heavy infrastructure, and other aesthetic subjective crap that more “classical” cities like NYC, Philly, Chicago, and Boston have. The Sunbelt cities may be completely “suburban” in character like Atlanta or Charlotte.

However, all of these Sunbelt cities still function as cities. There is a downtown, people largely drive, but have the choice to walk around and take transit in the core of the cities and other nodes. The Automobile, like it or not, is even a significant aspect of most of the urban cities. Even much of NYC made way for the car.


So you guys can remain purists and argue about subjective crap all you want, but to say that the Sunbelt cities are objectively not “urban” in any way is stupid. Your opinion is your opinion. None of these cities function like suburban tracts all throughout.


As for the second most urban city, I also agree that it depends on the qualifications we’re talking about

2nd in population: LA
2nd in density: SF
2nd in scale: Chicago
2nd in urban similarity to NYC: Philly
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  #46  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:13 PM
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Originally Posted by park123 View Post
The correct answer is really Toronto, if you expand the question to USA+Canada. It's just enough more lively and intact/contiguous than Chicago, and larger than SF/Philly/Boston, to make it a clear number 2.
I wouldn't say it's more contiguous than Chicago. Chicago has more of a complex urban street grid that continues well outside the older parts of the city, where Toronto spreads out and becomes suburban quicker. The average residential to commercial ratio seems more well balanced in Chicago, whereas Toronto's wide streets become strictly residential the further you go. It becomes like a hybrid of LA with Russia. Though sometimes Chicago may have issues with urban decay, there are walkup storefronts everywhere you turn. I would say it may be #2 in US and Canada, though LA may have more due to it's sheer size. The urban area of Chicago also has 4 million more people, more people making trips into the city.
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  #47  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:14 PM
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This is what I'm referring to with Toronto: It's like suburbs on steroids.

https://goo.gl/maps/yioNNByAZJDnG4ZP7
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  #48  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:18 PM
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If you think co op city in the Bronx is urban, than certainly Toronto is more urban than la or Chicago

If you think low rise apartments spread over dozens of square miles is more urban, than the answer will be LA or Chicago
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  #49  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by park123 View Post
If you take someone from Tokyo or Seoul or Paris or Athens to Montrose or something in Houston, and tell them you are in an American "city" of 6 million people, (or even of 1.6 million people), they will just stare back at you not understanding what you just said.

Houston is only a city in the American context. LA is not as extreme as Houston, but it also isn't urban to the great majority of people in the world.
I've met people from those cities here in Houston and have been to a few of those cities and referenced Houston...and in no way did they see Houston as anything but a large city. They may acknowledge it is sprawled out and has shit mass transit that comes back to Houston's urbanity or lack there of.
     
     
  #50  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:21 PM
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Melbourne and sydney are less urban than la with the population densities of Vegas, yet nobody seems to be arguing that they are not ‘cities’
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  #51  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:22 PM
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Originally Posted by dc_denizen View Post
If you think co op city in the Bronx is urban, than certainly Toronto is more urban than la or Chicago

If you think low rise apartments spread over dozens of square miles is more urban, than the answer will be LA or Chicago
It's not so much the apartments as it is the built form and access to commercial streets. One can build an entire apartment complex of low rise structures and have no businesses, so people have no reason to walk outside, unless they're going to their vehicles. It may look impressive in numbers however.

Even in the most decayed parts of the hood, people are outside, and walking on the street in Chicago. Wind-swept grassy knolls really don't promote pedestrians.
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  #52  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Segun View Post
This is what I'm referring to with Toronto: It's like suburbs on steroids.

https://goo.gl/maps/yioNNByAZJDnG4ZP7
You're right, Toronto is residentially more suburban off of the main corridors, and I kind of forgot about that. I guess I was thinking larger because there seem to be more lively and extensive pedestrian commercial streets than Chicago? And sorry I have bad taste and like Dundas Sqauare. So the downtown felt livelier to me. The thing with Chicago is that Michigan Avenue is absolutely world class, but you go over one street and it's parking podiums, not much retail, and no pedestrians. The Loop is architecturally stunning but it's also not especially activated in a retail or pedestrian sense.
     
     
  #53  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:33 PM
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Originally Posted by dc_denizen View Post
Melbourne and sydney are less urban than la with the population densities of Vegas, yet nobody seems to be arguing that they are not ‘cities’
lol. LA is also more urban than NY because the LA metro population density is higher than the NY metro population density. It's just me and my lying eyes.
     
     
  #54  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:38 PM
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Chicago. Then Philadelphia. SF's urban core is minimal. I wouldn't compare it to Chicago or Philadelphia. Even Boston and DC feel more urban.
     
     
  #55  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:47 PM
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Downtown Toronto is a better mixed-use, live/work downtown. Toronto's neighborhoods are better integrated into the street network from downtown outwards, but it doesn't extend as far as Chicago.

The Main Downtowns of cities are impressive, but busy city neighborhoods that feature a good mix of walkable uses and connect to other city neighborhoods with people walking around, makes an urban city IMO. It's that feeling that if you walk a mile in any direction, you'll still run across people in a busy, bustling are. The type of urbanity that can be found in say, the annex in Toronto, is more ubiquitous in Chicago. That's due to the built environment being older. In historic Chicago, every neighborhood had a small "downtown" of its own. Many of them are still active, or sitting in wait to be refurbished nowadays.
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  #56  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:52 PM
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Originally Posted by park123 View Post
I think this is fair, and I would definitely agree LA far outstrips Chicago in "depth of human activity", which is a good way of putting it.
What does this even mean? How is this relevant to urbanism and street life?
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  #57  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Segun View Post
This is what I'm referring to with Toronto: It's like suburbs on steroids.

https://goo.gl/maps/yioNNByAZJDnG4ZP7
A bit further West along Lawrence avenue brings you to this decidedly urban looking neighbourhood (Weston, in York) with pre-war storefront retail mixed with high-rise residential buildings. The closest thing in look and feel within the U.S. to something like this so far from the city centre would be one of NYC's outer borough hoods in some far flung section of Queens or the Bronx.

https://goo.gl/maps/pzFicKDajTUkzmGN7 (pan around for the full view)

Suburban Toronto can suddenly become quite urban looking in certain areas.
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  #58  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:55 PM
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What does this even mean? How is this relevant to urbanism and street life?
Maybe "spread" of human activity is better no?

At its base level, LA reminds you that there are millions of people present by TRAFFIC.

There's no city where you'll see streams of traffic at 3AM outside the core like LA. You may live in a low-sprung suburb, but that never-ending monster snarl of traffic reminds you that you are in a huge area.
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Chicago - The City of Sisterly Hate. The city where the "Who is this b**ch?!" mentality keeps politics from progressing.

Check out my music video "Segun", filmed on the Streets of Rio - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTWN0RxMKgQ
     
     
  #59  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Segun View Post
Downtown Toronto is a better mixed-use, live/work downtown. Toronto's neighborhoods are better integrated into the street network from downtown outwards, but it doesn't extend as far as Chicago.

The Main Downtowns of cities are impressive, but busy city neighborhoods that feature a good mix of walkable uses and connect to other city neighborhoods with people walking around, makes an urban city IMO. It's that feeling that if you walk a mile in any direction, you'll still run across people in a busy, bustling are. The type of urbanity that can be found in say, the annex in Toronto, is more ubiquitous in Chicago. That's due to the built environment being older. In historic Chicago, every neighborhood had a small "downtown" of its own. Many of them are still active, or sitting in wait to be refurbished nowadays.
I was just a visitor in both cities, but I tried walking a lot and got the sense that the lowrise (neighborhood) retail strips were longer, more numerous, and livelier in Toronto than the ones in Chicago. The downtown area in Toronto was nowhere near as grand as Chicago, but Chicago’s downtown seemed gappier in the lively vs not lively areas/streets.
     
     
  #60  
Old Posted Oct 13, 2019, 7:59 PM
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Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
That's not true...
He might be referring to daytime population which in 2012 was calculated/studied at 4 million. Presently, its probally like 300-400k more on any given weekday so 4.3/4.4 million within 22 sq-miles.

But purely population (residents), yeah thats its false.

Quote:
Originally Posted by austlar1 View Post
Chicago is number two simply because of its highrise core and ample rail transit. After Chicago, I think LA gets the nod. Obviously it is not a traditional urban environment, but it has a depth of human activity that can only be found in a global metropolis. No other US city comes close, not even Chicago. I would rank LA number two except for the fact that Chicago's core is so impressive.
IMO, #2 would be Los Angeles or if we want to look at it from a metro area standpoint of built urban nature, LA. Really I think because its just consistant density throughout the basin with pockets that can be quite dense, and several multi-nodal CBD's skyline.

Chicago is quite intense in a way, and Philly but LA has its advantages due to its size and the metro area. Kinda like Houston (although Houston is smaller nature), Los Angeles has that multiple cities in one vibe going. Its not just all centralized, but spread out and allows for some unique urbanism found in few American cities.

Even if we look at the NYC metro, there are areas where its extremely dense, and than it drops off dramatically. LA though retains this urban built environment that gives the illusion that it extends into the horizon if you see some aerial pics.

Chicago has this effect to an extent, but I think LA's multi-nodal nature gives it a perceptual edge.
     
     
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