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This is an open question about the geography in your city. In the southern United States (Texas and Florida included) we have a wide variety of geography. There are mountains, hills, marsh, swamp, plains, etc. Feel free to mention vegetation as well as include pictures since this is about natural setting. Some thoughts for discussion might include.....

How does the terrain in your city shape the growth, type and direction of the development?

How will this affect the future of the city?

How do you think your city could use its geography to its advantage?

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It does affect my city of Fayetteville. It's known for it's hills and it's responsible for our odd roads, especially the older ones. It's had affected development. Developers look for flatter areas to develop because it easier and cheaper. That and the city has stricter building codes in the hilly areas. I don't have time to post any pics though. Maybe when I get back from vacation.

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one of the reasons metro Atlanta doesn't have very many street grids is because the hills make it hard to draw a grid

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one of the reasons metro Atlanta doesn't have very many street grids is because the hills make it hard to draw a grid

Huh? No offense but Birmingham is a lot more rugged than Atlanta but it has a street grid system. I don't think the hills of the Piedmont impeded the grid street system of Atlanta, but rather the unplanned growth that has been occuring since the 1970's. Most developers don't "do grids" because it constricts the space.

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In Knoxville most of the main avenues are East-West because of the steep foothills that gradually sweep from southwest to northeast. It also causes the interstates (I-40 and I-75) to be merged into one interstate for a considerable distance. There have been talks for years of creating a bypass due to extremely heavy traffic (quite a lot for a city of its size).

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&...mp;t=k&om=1

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In Knoxville most of the main avenues are East-West because of the steep foothills that gradually sweep from southwest to northeast. It also causes the interstates (I-40 and I-75) to be merged into one interstate for a considerable distance. There have been talks for years of creating a bypass due to extremely heavy traffic (quite a lot for a city of its size).

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&...mp;t=k&om=1

I forgot about Knoxville, which IMO is Birmingham's twin sister b/c of its geography. It also is very rugged and it still has a street grid as well.

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Shreveport is mostly flat, though it's in one of the hilliest parts of Louisiana (which isn't saying much!) The downtown is laid out in a grid pattern, and the hills begin on the outskirts of downtown. The rest of the city follows the terrain very well, with the I-49 freeway elevated from downtown all the way to near the southernmost city limits. There are a lot of lakes and quite a few swampy areas. The swampy areas have mostly been avoided up until recenlty. Now developers are starting to spend the money to build them up so they can put homes and apartments on top of them.

The Red River is our most important resource, though, as Shreveport started out as a port city (obviously, hence the name.) Shreveport has recently become a port city once again, and a lot of new, large-scale industry is beginning to locate at the Port facility south of the city. The port will help lead the city into the future, no doubt.

Riverboat gambling helped to revive the city's economy back in the mid-90s, so once again the Red River has proven a very valuable resource. Not to mention, the Red River is the drinking water source for Shreveport's sister city, Bossier City. Shreveport's drinking water source is Cross Lake, which was originally formed when the Red River spilled over into a flood plain.

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If you've ever been to Columbia, it has a solid grid downtown, and it completely ignores the terrian.

But in Atlanta's case, the terrain is probably one of the many reaons there is no grid system. Others being railroads, rivers, and zero planning.

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Most southern cities are landlocked, flat-to-hilly terrain with close proxmity to a dammed lake thus geography does not have a lot to do with development patterns to this regard. Cities along the coastline and mountain areas, that is a whole other ball game that often results in some lopsided growth. Myrtle Beach and Asheville are some good examples of that.

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Well it does in some regards. We don't have extensive grid systems in the hilly regions of the south like they do in the midwest. Its just not practical.... of course its also because of how the survey system was set up. In the eastern states, especially colonial states, they used an English style of land division, which tended to be more organic, following streams, rivers , treelines, etc. whereas in the Midwest they used a Jeffersonian (I think) system of measurement that was based on a 10 square mile grid, with subdivisions therein. That system is still very obvious if you look at midwestern cities.

Point being, the time at which the city's region was settled plays as much, if not more, a part of its growth patterns than terrain.

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When I lived in Jacksonville, sometimes I was in awe of how the St. Johns River divided the city into two distinctly different areas. At the narrowest point of the St. Johns is where the center of downtown is.

If there is ever a city designed by geography, it's Jacksonville:)

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^Very true.

Downtown Charleston's location on a peninsula has helped it to become the dense, urban place it is today.

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one of the reasons metro Atlanta doesn't have very many street grids is because the hills make it hard to draw a grid

Ditto, that was obvious to me as well during the time I spent there. That's part of the reason why Atlanta has such a big traffic problem.

The hills are attractive, though.

I grew up in Little Rock, whose hills presented a similar problem.

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Ditto, that was obvious to me as well during the time I spent there. That's part of the reason why Atlanta has such a big traffic problem.

The hills are attractive, though.

I grew up in Little Rock, whose hills presented a similar problem.

Upon further thought, Atlanta has no natural boundaries (mountains, large rivers, lakes, etc) so it has nothing to stop its sprawl. Most cities have some sort of barrier.

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Maybe it's just me but I've never considered Atlanta "hilly" in the sense that it's moutainous. Stone Mountain is a glaring exception though. Once you go a decent way north you start to hit those areas but Atlanta to me always seemed like it was a huge series of stair step plateaus that gradually got higher and higher from north to south. It's especially evident traveling I-85 from southwest of the city out towards the SC border. Duluth, for example, seems to be on a considerably higher plateau than say LaGrange or even downtown Atlanta. The immediate Atlanta area is definitely piedmont.

Birmingham, Chattanooga, and Knoxville are similar IMO. All 3 have linear ridges running southwest to northeast in and around the city with the most dramatic ones being around Chattanooga. I always found Nashville really interesting too with the core of the metro sitting in the Cumberland plateau surrounded by knobby hills on all sides. Nashville seems to have a bowl like setup with development all throughout it's bowl like landscape.

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Upon further thought, Atlanta has no natural boundaries (mountains, large rivers, lakes, etc) so it has nothing to stop its sprawl. Most cities have some sort of barrier.

Dallas-Ft Worth has essentially no hills and a grid is laid all the way across the whole metroplex. There are some rather large man-made lakes that break up parts of it, though, but they little impact on controlling sprawl but rather have a nice recreational function. You drive a 100 miles in any direction and little's really different, it's still flat with scattered lakes.

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Ditto, that was obvious to me as well during the time I spent there. That's part of the reason why Atlanta has such a big traffic problem.

The hills are attractive, though.

I grew up in Little Rock, whose hills presented a similar problem.

Don't buy it. Manhattan island north of Midtown was hilly, rocky and full of...get ready for this...swamps before the grid system was put in place. Hills can be flattened, swamps can be drained. The reason Atlanta doesn't have a good grid system outside of Downtown and Midtown is that most of the original main roads were once Indian trails that have been paved and widened over and over. It's history and not terrian that has shaped Atlanta.

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^sounds like upper Manhattan is the modern day Meadowlands then

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Don't buy it. Manhattan island north of Midtown was hilly, rocky and full of...get ready for this...swamps before the grid system was put in place. Hills can be flattened, swamps can be drained. The reason Atlanta doesn't have a good grid system outside of Downtown and Midtown is that most of the original main roads were once Indian trails that have been paved and widened over and over. It's history and not terrian that has shaped Atlanta.

You mean, there weren't Indian trails in Manhattan?

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I'm sure their were, but the city of NY decided to overlay the island with the grid. Atlanta could have done the same, but didn't.

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Your also talking about a time where low density sprawl did not exist in the creation of Manhattan in the mid to late 1800s. The subway system started just before the 20th century where the city knew that horse carriages (later cars) cannot move everyone around the city. Staten Island is a suburban borough that exploded after the creation of the Verrazano narrows bridge in the mid 1960s. That island was drawn by old dirt trails with ferry stations at Tottenville, St George and Bloomfield. Prior to the 60s, it was a rural large piece of real estate that was within New York City and home of towering landfills in bird eyes view off the West Shore Expressway (NY 440).

Atlanta, like the rest of teh southern cities had farm-to-market roads outside of the center city

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If you think that New York's geography didn't shape it, the you are living in a box my friend. Grid patterns can be laid out any place and over any terrain, so the existance of a grid is merely a representation of planning, not geography. Dallas and places out west fall into an area that was surveyed in 10 mile squares. The east, particularly the colonies and mountain states were based more frequently on land features.

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I forgot about Knoxville, which IMO is Birmingham's twin sister b/c of its geography. It also is very rugged and it still has a street grid as well.

Birmingham, Chattanooga, and Knoxville are similar IMO. All 3 have linear ridges running southwest to northeast in and around the city with the most dramatic ones being around Chattanooga. I always found Nashville really interesting too with the core of the metro sitting in the Cumberland plateau surrounded by knobby hills on all sides. Nashville seems to have a bowl like setup with development all throughout it's bowl like landscape.

Birmingham, Chattanooga, and Knoxville share a common highway in US 11 that travels west of the said terrain features. The only thing that sets Birmingham apart is the fact that it does not have a riverfront like Chattanooga and Knoxville.

Birmingham's street grid extends up Red Mountain for quite a way, but obviously does not ascend the ridge. A lot of Birmingham's street plan also was influenced by the railroads in the area.

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If you think that New York's geography didn't shape it, the you are living in a box my friend.

:huh:

Explain

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Richmond was laid out on the north side of the James with most of it east of a big creek (Shockoe Creek) and the easternmost section up a steep hill (originally Richmond Hill, now Church Hill where they built St. John's Church). The city grew up the steep hills of this valley continuing the grid. In the upper part of the valley, the streets turn to follow the rest of the valley and the streets could go straight up the hills. There were a few spots where the grid was interrupted as streets ran into dad ends or t-boned with others. Others kind of followed the contours of the hill, particularly on the eastern side of Shockoe (Capitol) Hill. North of Church Hill was another hill Union Hill. The streets there are irregular and followed the lay of the land there. Some deep ravines were filled in to continue a regular grid or make odd grids meet the regular one. In the west, the city kept the grids over the gently hilly land. Eventually when they stopped using a strict grid, the streets could run however they wanted it seems.

The southside wasn't as dramatically hilly. The way the southside of Richmond was laid out baffles me. The old city of Manchester was laid out at an angle from Richmond and its suburbs fanned out, some following the river. But the rest is a plain mess!

The falls of the James is the primary reason we are where we are. It marked the end of where ocean-going ships could go up the James and the falls helped power our industry. The James River & Kanawha Canal was constructed to bypass the falls and meant to reach the Kanawha River opening us to the Ohio and Mississippi. Well that didn't happen, but it worked well until the railroads came.

But I think Richmond also has the best location. We have distinct seasons. Sometimes storms split apart as they approach. Recently thanks to global warming, snow forecasting is very difficult here. We used to get more than we do now and when we do get it... it can be too little or too much... or all ice. But it doesn't stay long. It can get really hot and humid, and then some days it can be cool and crisp in the summer. Spring and fall are comfortable. The climate isn't too bad to people, so that can be a draw. The earth stays still for the most part and we don't have to worry about mile wide tornadoes vacuuming... but there's the threat from hurricanes. We are located within 2 hours of the ocean, mountains, and one can jump on down to NC or up to DC and MD. I'd say location can be a draw for people.

What else?

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