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  #1  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 3:52 AM
IrishIllini IrishIllini is offline
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Great Lakes Cities

In terms of built environment, architecture, geography, etc. Every major city on the Great Lakes is built on a grid. All have or had strong cores. They're all fairly flat. Is there any other region with such a defining development pattern?

Great Lakes Cities
Chicago
Cleveland
Detroit
Milwaukee
Toronto
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  #2  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 3:55 AM
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^ you should probably add buffalo, Hamilton, and rochester.

Chicago is noticeably brickier than the other US great lakes cities because fire.

Also, chicago and detroit are pretty dead flat, but the others all have much more varied topography with deep ravines, lakeshore bluffs, valleys, rolling hills etc.

Now, no one is gonna mistake them for San Francisco or Hong Kong, but only chicago and detroit exhibit that true pancake flat topography.
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Last edited by Steely Dan; Jan 27, 2018 at 4:05 AM.
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Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 4:01 AM
IrishIllini IrishIllini is offline
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
Chicago is noticeably brickier than the other US great lakes cities because fire.
Detroit has a lot of brick buildings. I'm sure even more were lost. Toronto has a good amount of brick housing, I think. Milwaukee and Cleveland are light on the brick construction. I'm surprised Milwaukee is given its proximity to Chicago.
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Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 2:30 PM
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Originally Posted by IrishIllini View Post
Detroit has a lot of brick buildings. I'm sure even more were lost. Toronto has a good amount of brick housing, I think. Milwaukee and Cleveland are light on the brick construction. I'm surprised Milwaukee is given its proximity to Chicago.
american great lakes cities were shaped by their proximity to the great clear cutting of the northwoods...millons of board feet of dirt cheap, high quality lumber. it’s chicago that’s the outlier for reasons already discussed, especially since the great stockpiles and lumber markets were IN chicago.

toronto was shaped by other forces, including that chunky, bricky 19th century later british colonial or late british colonial derived vernacular you see across the planet in the former empire.
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Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 3:58 PM
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toronto was shaped by other forces, including that chunky, bricky 19th century later british colonial or late british colonial derived vernacular you see across the planet in the former empire.
The US has it too but it goes by the more palatable description of 'colonial' rather than Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, etc.
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Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 4:04 PM
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Originally Posted by isaidso View Post
The US has it too but it goes by the more palatable description of 'colonial' rather than Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, etc.
yeah...i’m thinking of a specific 19th century overly formal look that i can’t really describe in commercial “commonwealth” architecture that stands out. i’d guess that this look would actually be more prominent in montreal commercial buildings than toronto.
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Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 5:17 PM
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The US has it too but it goes by the more palatable description of 'colonial' rather than Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, etc.
'Colonial' architecture is none of those things.

The closest equivalent to Georgian architecture in the US is the 'Federal' style (mixed later with what in Britain is called Regency-style architecture), which was prevalent just before and after independence from Britain.

The Victorian and Edwardian periods came long after America was a colony. America has lots of Victorian architecture, and it is referred to as such. By the Edwardian period American and British architecture had completely diverged, and American architects at the time were doing anything from Beaux-Arts to Prarie School to Arts & Crafts to Spanish Colonial Revival buildings. And of course, the first skyscrapers, which developed their own vernaculars.

Actual Colonial-style architecture was unique to the American colonies and based on the materials that were available (or not available), which meant wood rather than brick or stone, and in many cases very few and small windows (because glass had to be imported from England).

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  #8  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 3:51 PM
LouisVanDerWright LouisVanDerWright is offline
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Originally Posted by IrishIllini View Post
Detroit has a lot of brick buildings. I'm sure even more were lost. Toronto has a good amount of brick housing, I think. Milwaukee and Cleveland are light on the brick construction. I'm surprised Milwaukee is given its proximity to Chicago.
Milwaukee is heavily frame due to its proximity to the hardwood stands being rapidly leveled in order to build Chicago. It's also heavily German and there is a long tradition of skilled German carpenters. There is actually a ton of original wood siding and craftsmanship still exposed in Milwaukee. For whatever reason almost every frame building in Chicago has been resided, but most still have their original siding in some parts of Milwaukee.
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Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 4:08 PM
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Originally Posted by LouisVanDerWright View Post
Milwaukee is heavily frame due to its proximity to the hardwood stands being rapidly leveled in order to build Chicago. It's also heavily German and there is a long tradition of skilled German carpenters. There is actually a ton of original wood siding and craftsmanship still exposed in Milwaukee. For whatever reason almost every frame building in Chicago has been resided, but most still have their original siding in some parts of Milwaukee.
st. louis saw intense german immigration and is very heavily/primarily (both in look and quantity) brick. i think they just ended up working with the materials available. milwaukee had easy access to old growth timber, st. louis is surrounded by thick layers of high quality (for pottery/brick) clay deposits (on the missouri side...illinois is that black soil of course).
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  #10  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 5:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post

Also, chicago and detroit are pretty dead flat, but the others all have much more varied topography with deep ravines, lakeshore bluffs, valleys, rolling hills etc.
The city proper is flat, the Detroit region isn't as flat as Chicagoland though, Oakland County has lots of hills, lakes, etc.
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  #11  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 2:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
^ you should probably add buffalo, Hamilton, and rochester.

Chicago is noticeably brickier than the other US great lakes cities because fire.

Also, chicago and detroit are pretty dead flat, but the others all have much more varied topography with deep ravines, lakeshore bluffs, valleys, rolling hills etc.

Now, no one is gonna mistake them for San Francisco or Hong Kong, but only chicago and detroit exhibit that true pancake flat topography.
Yeah Toronto's topography is pretty nice actually but definitely underappreciated. Most Canadians think of it as a flat concrete jungle but there is a lot more than that going on.

Most know of the Toronto islands but the bluffs and ravines are little known, generally


Scarborough Bluffs
by Philip Dunn, on Flickr


Misty Morning ~ Glen Stewart Ravine
by ~EvidencE~, on Flickr



Don Valley Brickworks
by mooncall2012, on Flickr


2017.07.18. Toronto
by Péter Cseke, on Flickr


Scarborough Bluffs Of Toronto
by Greg's Southern Ontario (catching Up Slowly), on Flickr
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  #12  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 5:33 PM
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It's interesting how to the uninitiated or non-horticultural among us, the presence of sumac trees in he summer can give a pseudo-tropical feel to northern climes where you wouldn't expect it.

I have them in my backyard including around my swimming pool and they're pretty neat as background vegetation. (They're also gorgeous fire engine red in the autumn.)

Now if only they didn't try to take over the entire yard...
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Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 6:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
It's interesting how to the uninitiated or non-horticultural among us, the presence of sumac trees in he summer can give a pseudo-tropical feel to northern climes where you wouldn't expect it.

I have them in my backyard including around my swimming pool and they're pretty neat as background vegetation. (They're also gorgeous fire engine red in the autumn.)

Now if only they didn't try to take over the entire yard...
"Your" backyard? I think we both know it's now THEIR backyard.
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  #14  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 6:35 PM
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"Your" backyard? I think we both know it's now THEIR backyard.
Do you mean by this the sumacs (vinaigriers), my kids and their friends, or someone else?

(I sure know who's backyard it is when it's time to do the maintenance...)
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  #15  
Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 6:44 PM
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Some "Edwardian" housing in Toronto (Palmerston Blvd.)

https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.66034...7i13312!8i6656

What would Americans call this?
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  #16  
Old Posted Jan 28, 2018, 3:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Acajack View Post
It's interesting how to the uninitiated or non-horticultural among us, the presence of sumac trees in he summer can give a pseudo-tropical feel to northern climes where you wouldn't expect it.
I've always liked the look of sumac trees too. Sometimes they're purposely grown as garden plants but you'll also see them scattered around all kinds of places, in the margins of neighborhoods, by roadsides, parking lots, and in parks and forest edges.

Sumac fruit in powdered form as a spice is used in Middle Eastern cuisines -- one of the Mediterranean/southern European species of sumac is used as one of the ingredients in za'atar spice mix. Native peoples in North America also consumed the berries of some edible sumac species -- those of the staghorn sumac found in Ontario and Quebec, and the northeast US can be ground, strained and used to make syrup for a pink lemonade. Though on the other hand, there's also a species of sumac, the poison sumac in North America that's toxic and causes rashes (more so than even poison ivy) found in wet swampy soil.

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(They're also gorgeous fire engine red in the autumn.)

The word 'sumac' traces its etymology from Old French sumac (13th century), from Mediaeval Latin sumach, from Arabic summāq (سماق), from Syriac summāq (ܣܡܘܩ)- meaning "red".


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumac#Etymology
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Old Posted Jan 28, 2018, 1:48 PM
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I've always liked the look of sumac trees too. Sometimes they're purposely grown as garden plants but you'll also see them scattered around all kinds of places, in the margins of neighborhoods, by roadsides, parking lots, and in parks and forest edges.

Sumac fruit in powdered form as a spice is used in Middle Eastern cuisines -- one of the Mediterranean/southern European species of sumac is used as one of the ingredients in za'atar spice mix. Native peoples in North America also consumed the berries of some edible sumac species -- those of the staghorn sumac found in Ontario and Quebec, and the northeast US can be ground, strained and used to make syrup for a pink lemonade. Though on the other hand, there's also a species of sumac, the poison sumac in North America that's toxic and causes rashes (more so than even poison ivy) found in wet swampy soil.




The word 'sumac' traces its etymology from Old French sumac (13th century), from Mediaeval Latin sumach, from Arabic summāq (سماق), from Syriac summāq (ܣܡܘܩ)- meaning "red".


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sumac#Etymology
In modern French the sumac is known as "vinaigrier" which actually means vinegar tree.
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Old Posted Jan 30, 2018, 3:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
^ you should probably add buffalo, Hamilton, and rochester.

Chicago is noticeably brickier than the other US great lakes cities because fire.

Also, chicago and detroit are pretty dead flat, but the others all have much more varied topography with deep ravines, lakeshore bluffs, valleys, rolling hills etc.

Now, no one is gonna mistake them for San Francisco or Hong Kong, but only chicago and detroit exhibit that true pancake flat topography.

absolutely.

cleveland is a great example of that.

waterfront bluffs, hills --- and most striking it is both circled and cut to pieces via ravines and deep valleys.

for petes sake that is where i learned to ski.

yes, we have snow ski resorts in the cuyahoga valley.





also, while it is certainly similar to other great lakes cities, the last thing one would say about cleveland is that it follows any rigid grid pattern.

in fact just the opposite and its street quirks remain a big part of its charm.

for example, check out this 1833 map of the core.

its obvious that a grid pattern is fighting to get in along with a town square and even a l'enfant or detroit augustus woodward inspired radial down where the city was founded.

and as you can see nothing is winning out very well.

this is mostly due to the crooked river and the valley topography.

anyway there it is.







maybe they will bring back that radial place concept to the forlorn scranton peninsula someday?

or at least redevelop it.

who knows, but there was some talk of lighting it up.

that would be a pretty cool sight.




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Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 4:13 AM
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I'd say every major Sun Belt city besides New Orleans, Miami and LA (because of its massive size) are clones with varied topography. Phoenix is similar to the Inland Empire but aside from that, it's usually more and more of the same.
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Old Posted Jan 27, 2018, 4:31 AM
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I'd say every major Sun Belt city besides New Orleans, Miami and LA (because of its massive size) are clones with varied topography. Phoenix is similar to the Inland Empire but aside from that, it's usually more and more of the same.
Is SF considered Sun Belt? It doesn't really resemble any other Sun Belt city, IMO.

Re: topic. Never really thought about it before, but I think I'd agree that Great Lakes cities seem to be most uniform. To a lesser extent, Mid-Atlantic cities are also pretty similar.
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