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willacoochee

Urban Cities

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Imo, an urban city is one that has large walkable sections of town, that extend outside of the downtown core. They can be as large as NYC and Chicago or as small as Savannah and Charleston.

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For me an urban city is one that offers great variety for its residents. This could be a variety of resturants, shops, parks, schools, jobs, etc.

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I would say that a city which contains everything you need is truly urban. For example, you can live in the city and not have to travel elsewhere for work, play, food, sports etc.

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I consider a high density area with everything needed within the boundaries of that area is an "urban city". I think Houston's Galleria and Dallas' Uptown areas are good examples of an urban city. It is interesting to note that outside those areas many parts of those cities are just suburban sprawl.

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For a city to be considered an "urban" city to me first it would have to have urban qualities such as a transit system, walkability, a dense built environment, a high population density, and plenty of public spaces. Also there has to be a a mix of uses throughout the city, meaning that bedroom communities with dense populations won't count. Jobs, retail, and homes all have to be in close proximity.

There also has to be strcuture and planning, whether the city is layed out in a grid, or in a circle. Real urban cities often times have public monuments or structures, which add to the urban feel, but I won't say that they are necessary.

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Urban properties have paved access roads and streets, they are close to neighboring properties and have support services less than 10 miles away. In addtion, Urban areas have a population density of at least 1,000 persons per square mile and a total population of at least 50,000. Sometimes areas outside of the "urban area" are included in the urban definition --this includes places of 2,500 or more persons outside urbanized areas.

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Would you then agree that even smaller towns have some "urban" areas?

I wouldn't go so far as to say a city of 30,000 is a very urban place.. but perhaps the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods could be considered urban.

It is important to distinguish between cities (even small ones) that have maintained an urban character, while the "sprawl" of the suburbs has carried over into smaller cities with the likes of strip malls, big box retailers, and low density subdivisions.

(My city for example strives to maintain density in its core downtown and surrounding areas but discourages high density on the outskirts of the city. While this can promote more low-density spraw, it maintains the character of a city with a strong downtown business area and a less dense landscape as you drive further out.)

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Urban properties have paved access roads and streets, they are close to neighboring properties and have support services less than 10 miles away.  In addtion, Urban areas have a population density of at least 1,000 persons per square mile and a total population of at least 50,000. Sometimes areas outside of the "urban area" are included in the urban definition --this includes places of 2,500 or more persons outside urbanized areas.

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That sounds very official. :) Is that the US gov't's official definition of an urban environment? It's an interesting choice of criteria. I'd say density is more important than total population. It's possible for a town of less than 50,000 to feel extremely urban, but 1,000 people per square mile certainly is not a density that I would consider "urban."

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That sounds very official.  :) Is that the US gov't's official definition of an urban environment? It's an interesting choice of criteria. I'd say density is more important than total population. It's possible for a town of less than 50,000 to feel extremely urban, but 1,000 people per square mile certainly is not a density that I would consider "urban."

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I actually got the definition by combing a few definitions I found on Google.

I used to work a college in Saint Paul and it was always a dilema as to whether we should describe the setting as urban or suburban. It was definitely in the city of Saint Paul and only five miles from either downtown Minneapolis or downtown Saint Paul --but to people from Chicago it felt suburban -- like Evanston, or Oak Park. We didn't want people to think we were in some asphalt jungle, but at the same time we reaaly were an urban campus --so the definition means something different to everyone.

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I actually got the definition by combing a few definitions I found on Google.

I used to work a  college in Saint Paul and it was always a dilema as to whether we should describe the setting as urban or suburban.  It was definitely in the city of Saint Paul and only five miles from either downtown Minneapolis or downtown Saint Paul --but to people from Chicago it felt suburban  -- like Evanston, or Oak Park.  We didn't want people to think we were in some asphalt jungle, but at the same time we reaaly were an urban campus --so the definition means something different to everyone.

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That wouldn't happen to be Macalester? I applied there and lo and behold, part of my decision not to go there was because it wasn't quite as "urban" as I had hoped. :D

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That wouldn't happen to be Macalester? I applied there and lo and behold, part of my decision not to go there was because it wasn't quite as "urban" as I had hoped.  :D

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No, Univ. of St. Thomas...just down the street a mile. Actually, St. Thomas was less urban than Macalaster because it is in a more residential section.

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UST is actually in a very nice neighborhood. I go to a rival University out in the boondocks... and while I hate everything that is UST, I must say the school is very nice.

Well, I don't really hate UST.. but you know how rivals work.

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UST is actually in a very nice neighborhood.  I go to a rival University out in the boondocks... and while I hate everything that is UST, I must say the school is very nice.

Well, I don't really hate UST.. but you know how rivals work.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Rival as in Saint John's? Bethel?

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Mankato, MN.

Population - About 35-40k

Area - About 50-60k

Just wondering if this city is considered urban.

It has a definitive downtown area, all though there isn't a lot of life(or height) to it.

Acts as the center piece of its part of southern Minnesota.

Home to Minnesota State University.

Growing fast, but sprawling at the same time.(which is ok, at this stage of a city.)

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Urban properties have paved access roads and streets, they are close to neighboring properties and have support services less than 10 miles away.  In addtion, Urban areas have a population density of at least 1,000 persons per square mile and a total population of at least 50,000. Sometimes areas outside of the "urban area" are included in the urban definition --this includes places of 2,500 or more persons outside urbanized areas.

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I would say an area that is urban does not need to be over 50,000 people, in Michigan, for example, we have several cities that I would defiantely consider urban with less than 50,000 people

Some Examples:

Jackson - 37,055

Muskegon - 40,105

Benton Harbor - 11,875 (I think it used to have closer to 60,000, but I'm not sure, I cant find historical census data at a city level.)

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I dont think it is necessarily a size thing as it is being a center of a region. If there is a city where the growth has a definate core. Though Phoenix is a big city I consider it a rather suburban city, though with it's fast pace growth the city is now actively competing with its own suburban sprawl. I consider it as a balance in that if growth is sprawl or true urban development. If a region is investing in it's core or just has uncontrolled sprawling development around it.

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Cities I consider urban, population and building density play a huge part. This is assuming the land area was the same at the population peak. These are the people per sq mile at the population peak.

Boston----------16,559

Providence-----14,482

Hartford--------10,254

New York City-26,694

Newark---------18,324

Buffalo----------14,289

Philadelphia----15,334

Pittsburgh------11,609

Cleveland------12,053

Cincinnati--------6,461

Detroit----------13,325

Washington-----13,065

Baltimore-------11,754

Chicago---------15,951

Minneapolis------9,503

St Louis---------13,840

Miami-----------10,159

Seattle-----------6,717

Milwaukee-------7,722

San Francisco-17,261

Last 2-

Los Angeles----7,878 (after years of thinking LA was nothing but an overgrown suburb, I've decided to include it. It's getting up there in pop density,but I still have this feeling that despite that it still retains the suburban car mentality. In a sense you really can't walk anywhere because you're stuck in many sq miles of nothing but residentials.)

New Orleans-3,475 (Of all the density ratings New Orleans is the most deceptive, if you see this and think you'll be entering a city built like a nice quiet suburb, think again. The population per sq mile at the peak in the area where everyone lives is more like 11,000-13,000)

This concludes the larger well known cities. As for the smaller-too many to list,this took me long enough just for these.

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Cities I consider urban, population and building density play a huge part. This is assuming the land area was the same at the population peak. These are the people per sq mile at the population peak.

Boston----------16,559

Providence-----14,482

Hartford--------10,254

New York City-26,694

Newark---------18,324

Buffalo----------14,289

Philadelphia----15,334

Pittsburgh------11,609

Cleveland------12,053

Cincinnati--------6,461

Detroit----------13,325

Washington-----13,065

Baltimore-------11,754

Chicago---------15,951

Minneapolis------9,503

St Louis---------13,840

Miami-----------10,159

Seattle-----------6,717

Milwaukee-------7,722

San Francisco-17,261

Last 2-

Los Angeles----7,878 (after years of thinking LA was nothing but an overgrown suburb, I've decided to include it. It's getting up there in pop density,but I still have this feeling that despite that it still retains the suburban car mentality. In a sense you really can't walk anywhere because you're stuck in many sq miles of nothing but residentials.)

New Orleans-3,475 (Of all the density ratings New Orleans is the most deceptive, if you see this and think you'll be entering a city built like a nice quiet suburb, think again. The population per sq mile at the peak in the area where everyone lives is more like 11,000-13,000)

This concludes the larger well known cities. As for the smaller-too many to list,this took me long enough just for these.

According to the Detroit Freepress, Detroit peaked at 2.1 million in 1948. That would make Detroits peak density at about 14,700 ppsm at one short period in history. Also, when you get past averages and talk actual density in communities that aren't mostly fields, the density would be higher. Southwest Detroit was quoted at having about 10,500 ppsm. at least that was back about ten years ago.

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To be truly 'urban' you have to have several things. You can take the government's definition, but that includes a great deal of suburbia too, which is not exactly what we qualify as 'urban.'

Urban is density, in most respects, becuase you need density to create the other things that we associate with urban places. It needs to have mixed land uses (ideally in a vertical fasion). Ground level shops, and upper level offices or apartments/condos, as well as purely residential areas. The key thing is a mixture of all land uses rather than the very segregated uses that we see in suburban areas.

You need a transit system of some sort, but then most cities of any size have at least a bus system. Multiple modes of transportation is key to any city.

I would be interested to see some current figures of density around the country.

You may be interested to know that Charleston, SC has a population density of 10,000 people per square mile on the peninsula (the old city). This is higher than many larger cities around the nation.

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Here are some density pictures.

Charleston

Charleston.jpg

From lightest to darkest

Yellow

32-639

903-2,309

Green

2,750-4,265

4,850-7,211

8,496-12,261

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh.jpg

Yellow

94-3,114

3551-6,193

Green

6,367-9,819

10,098-14,640

15,670-25,233

New Orleans

NewOrleans.jpg

Yellow

34-4,014

4,160-7967

Green

8,086-12,122

12,483-19,408

24,032-40,317

Miami

Miami.jpg

Yellow

23-4,882

5,482-8,425

Green

9,212-13,287

13,941-20,953

24,234-35,442

Detroit

Detroit.jpg

Yellow

0-3291

3356-5970

Green

6,012-8,403

8,472-10,912

11,004-17,071

Cleveland

Cleveland.jpg

Yellow

0-2,812

3,055-6,246

Green

6,488-10,018

10,089-13,761

14,344-20,264

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