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BrandonTO416

Southeast Suburban Density

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BrandonTO416    77

There are not-so-subtle differences between southern cities and their suburban density. To me, suburban density means a great deal because so much of our cities are suburbia. There are cities with higher quality suburbia, then others which have much lower quality.

Higher quality as defined by me will mean maximum land use - i.e. less of a forest around the home, smaller yards, sidewalks, bus service somewhat accessible to give an urban-esque feel.

First here are some aerial images, all taken at the same scale thanks to Terraserver.

Top dogs are Miami and New Orleans. They are clearly above and beyond anything in the southeast, and nothing else compares. Remind you these images were taken many miles from the center city (in New Orleans case it was taken north of the airport at the edge of the metro area's development.

Miami:

nmiami.JPG

New Orleans:

wneworleans.JPG

These pics represent the near-top suburbs you find. These pics show a great deal for each of the cities. In Memphis' case, the picture was taken some 20 miles outside downtown - yet look at the density. Memphis suburbs have an average density of 7-8,000 people per square mile, as do the Texas cities.

Memphis:

sememphis.JPG

Dallas:

ndallas.JPG

Houston:

whouston.JPG

Last comes some of the worst cities, the boomtowns of the upper south. They tend to be the most sprawly. I took pictures, just like the rest of the pictures, well outside the city limits. These pics were taken in the more dense looking suburbia I found in the respective regions.

These three cities average BELOW 2,000 people per square mile in their suburbs, and its the most horrible of sprawl available in my opinion. Its more exurban/rural haphazard developments then "urban" sprawl.

Charlotte:

wcharlotte.JPG

Atlanta:

nwatlanta.JPG

Nashville:

senashville.JPG

All cities are NOT created equal. There is a clear difference between each place, and this list does rank the cities I like better for urbanity to less.

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Aessotariq    1

What an interesting subject you have brought up! I thought you might be interested in a neighborhood in Hialeah, which is one of the densest suburban neighborhoods down here in Miami:

These are almost all single-family, detached houses:

hialeahdense7ri.jpg

Same neighborhood, zoomed in:

hialeahdense25io.jpg

A mix of single-family housing, "Suburban" apartment complexes, commercial strips (many of which are 2-stories high):

hialeahdense30yd.jpg

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Spartan    682

Very interesting topic. Its very interesting to compare the densities, particularly with that city outside of Miami. I find the road structures interesting.

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BrandonTO416    77

Do remember these are just samples, but I picked samples that are representative of the suburbs generally speaking, not random samples. There are all kinds of road patterns, but generally Miami, Dallas, Memphis are more grid-like, while Atlanta and Nashville have the spaghetti effect with little density (unlike Boston which has density with no grid).

So many different types of cities for sure...

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Aessotariq    1

Those Charlotte and Atlanta pics astounded me. I don't really think I had a full grasp of the magnitude of that type of development on those areas, particularly on the Atlanta metro. So much wasted space.

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Topher1    0

And another thing to consider with those Hialeah pics is that the city is a majority of foreign-born or 2nd generation Hispanics, so the average household size tends to be quite a bit larger. So theres a lot of people in those pics! Hialeah's total density is >10,000 ppl/sq. mi., which is a pretty tasty number for a primary city, much less a suburb...

I think what adds to the density of Miami suburbs isn't the development type (highrise vs. single-family), its the lack of undeveloped space. Its extremely difficult to find even a single undeveloped plot, much less a large undeveloped space in Miami suburbia. Its the same effect that LA has, where most places aren't that dense, but the crap in between is missing so the overall density numbers are quite high...

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satalac    492

while i don't like suburban developments, if i had to live in one, it wouldn't be in one that was crammed together. the point of suburban living is to have your own yard and a place to stretch your legs. i'd rather live in the developments in nashville or atlanta than the ones in miami or dallas.

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Brickell    0

most of the houses in miami suburbs have back yards and plenty of space.

How much space do you need? 4000sq ft on a half acre lot? That's insane. You also have to consider how much the public domain comes into play in well done suburbs.

Atlanta is by far the worst that I've seen. Flying in and out of there is surreal. Not that we don't have sprawling suburbs here, we do. It just seems to keep going and going in Atlanta.

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bobliocatt    0

The density of Jax's suburbs seem to be slightly a little lower than those in Memphis, but far above that of Nashville's and Atlanta's. Land in Florida's urban areas cost to much to create new suburban developments with densities, that low. The biggest problem here is that the local area is littered with small marshes, swamps, creeks, and rivers, thus making a wicked road layout. Heck, even if this wasn't the case, we still be littered with gated communities and endless cul-de-sacs.

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BrandonTO416    77

while i don't like suburban developments, if i had to live in one, it wouldn't be in one that was crammed together. the point of suburban living is to have your own yard and a place to stretch your legs. i'd rather live in the developments in nashville or atlanta than the ones in miami or dallas.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

In Memphis you get a yard, a back yard with the gates. Gives youngsters more then enough room while keeping them safe, at the same time the compact nature lowers traffic jams and commute times.

Traffic in Memphis is a fraction of the problem it is in Nashville's suburbs.

Here's more food for thought - some pretty big looking homes in suburban Memphis are going for $120,000 in those compact neighborhoods. They are virtually 25 miles from everything in the Memphis metro thanks to the compact design of the city. In Nashville to find affordable homes, you now have to purchase homes 30 miles out of the city and its so rural you have to drive miles to get to stores, places of work, and its just out of place, and totally out of sync. Its not just out of the city, its up to 50-60 miles away from other major employment centers of the metro (Franklin to Hendersonville is a long trek. Or just 20-30 miles if you work in central Nashville (Murfreesboro or Gallatin-Hendersonville to downtown.)

Of course it really does come down to opinion. If you believe driving 30-50 miles to work, then 30-50 miles back, enjoy living in isolated conditions where suburbs are connected with two lane country roads in pocketed developments here and there, and you enjoy the "laidback" lifestyle of the time wasted for commutes and lack of opportunities in the location you live in - then great.

Laidback needs to be redefined to include how much time it takes to get what you want to do completed. Number one on the list should be work commute time - distances between major employment centers in each metro. Nashville ranks near the bottom of this list - Middle Tennesseans drive on average more then Metro Atlantans for work commutes according to the Texas Institute for Transportation studies. I believe every word of it as many people I know that drive insane amounts.

You'll find people who purchase homes in Hendersonville, lose their jobs, find new ones in Murfreesboro or Franklin and end up driving 50 miles one way to work everyday. Its *VERY* common in the Nashville region. And for a city this small, it is unreal.

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satalac    492

the back yards that i saw in those miami pictures were pretty non-existant. same with the memphis pictures. i seriously doubt you can get a big house in memphis for $120,000. a more realistic number is going to be around $200,000-$300,000 for a large home sitting on half an acre to an acre lot. i do agree that driving times are long for those commuters. this isn't cause by the fact that these houses have larger yards or are not sitting right on top of each other. this is because the houses are just further away from the main business districts. and most of the people in franklin work in franklin and brentwood (which combined has almost the same amount of office space as dt nashville). these people choose to have larger yards. i don't see this as detrimental to the city of nashville neccessarily. notice all of the business brought to the area because of cool springs. this hasn't hurt nashville by any means. you can debate the traffic issue, and i totally agree there is way too much, but i don't beleive most of it is cause by suburban living. tdot is to blame for a lot of it. personally, i like living in the city of nashville because i'm close to everything. i live in south nashville and am within a 30 min drive of downtown, franklin and murfreesboro. you are right heckles about it being different people's opinions though. some like more space, and some like being in the middle of the action. people in the south have always had a higher demand for more land to live on. i don't see it changing much anytime soon.

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BrandonTO416    77

Go to East Shelby Drive near the Hacks Cross Rd area in southeast Shelby Co off TN-385/Nonconnah Parkway. They are building new homes that are pretty darn big, starting prices are $120,000 for 3 bedroom homes with 2 1/2 bathrooms.

Just saw the advertisement the other day.

Furthermore there are single family homes in uptown for $126,000 for the same price - served by the downtown streetcar system just a mile from the downtown core.

There's a reason Memphis is growing into a premiere urban community in the southeast.

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satalac    492

Go to East Shelby Drive near the Hacks Cross Rd area in southeast Shelby Co off TN-385/Nonconnah Parkway. They are building new homes that are pretty darn big, starting prices are $120,000 for 3 bedroom homes with 2 1/2 bathrooms.

Just saw the advertisement the other day.

Furthermore there are single family homes in uptown for $126,000 for the same price - served by the downtown streetcar system just a mile from the downtown core.

There's a reason Memphis is growing into a premiere urban community in the southeast.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

wow, that sounds like an awesome deal. just think if they'd build these in south nashville close to the nolensville area. you are right about memphis being a premier urban community. i like some of these city within the city communities they are making. i believe this would be a good thing to have in the green hills and bellevue area.

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satalac    492

But the developments in southeast shelby aren't a city within a city, its just typical suburban Memphis. This was the entire point of my bringing it up! :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

oh just hush! :P:D

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BrandonTO416    77

Here's some uptown homes:

http://www.uptownmemphis.org/homes.htm

Here's a nice looking uptown home, right near downtown in the core:

http://www.uptownmemphis.org/homes/526_Fifth.pdf

$126,000 for 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 baths.

Web_526_North_Fifth_August_2004.jpg

I could buy one of those and be cozy. Although I admit being more into the condo scene, and there's plenty in Memphis to choose from nowadays. I hope they keep building them in the hundreds of units downtown every year. :)

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satalac    492

eh, i gotta have a garage (i loooooooooooove cars) and a yard that i can walk on and not be able to straddle. ;) that is a cozy house though. i'm sure they will sell very well.

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brewerw    0

I see yalls point but the demand in Nasvhille is not as large for squised in houses in surburban areas. The point of people moving to brentwood is to have more space. They dont want to be sardines. And out in franklin there is a huge development which is tightly packed. Half an acre is small here, we like our land.

BTW, alot of homes in Brentwood and Franklin sell for well over 300,000. It seems every year that people are moving further away and there are always new developments. Insted of a light rail peeps will need a bullit train to get to the city.

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satalac    492

I see yalls point but the demand in Nasvhille is not as large for squised in houses in surburban areas. The point of people moving to brentwood is to have more space. They dont want to be sardines. And out in franklin there is a huge development which is tightly packed. Half an acre is small here, we like our land.

BTW, alot of homes in Brentwood and Franklin sell for well over 300,000. It seems every year that people are moving further away and there are always new developments. Insted of a light rail peeps will need a bullit train to get to the city.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

exactly. we like to be able to say "my yard is bigger than yours" here. i can't really blame the people in brentwood and frankline either, the land out there is gorgeous!

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BrandonTO416    77

You know what, you guys are exactly right. And that's why Nashville will never be a city. Its filled with people who could care less about urban life. Its filled with people looking for a two lane country road with a mansion and white picket fences with horses roaming the front yard. And you guys wonder why Nashville is considered a country town....

But for now I think that the Nashville discussions have taken over this thread enough. This is about more then Nashville's density.

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rocket9561    0

You know what, you guys are exactly right. And that's why Nashville will never be a city. Its filled with people who could care less about urban life. Its filled with people looking for a two lane country road with a mansion and white picket fences with horses roaming the front yard. And you guys wonder why Nashville is considered a country town....

But for now I think that the Nashville discussions have taken over this thread enough. This is about more then Nashville's density.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I don't know...if you look at all the developments going up now and you compare that to 10 years ago you see major differences. You see retail combining with residential subdivisions, an almost complete end to cul-de-sac development - especially within Davidson county. You see garages facing a rear alley and more sidewalks and greenways connecting different developments. As long as people like Mayor Purcell are in office, you will Nashville looking at more urban style developments to stall the side effects of suburban sprawl.

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DallasTexan    0

Yes, but are things getting better as a whole?

I don't think so.

While I was in Nashville the other day and was driving down I-24 between the Briley Parkway and Harding exit, I noticed that there is a HUGE brand new subdivision going up beside the interstate where they've leveled all the trees and are building vinyl crap complete with exposed utlities and cul-de-sacs.

WTF - I thought this was within the urban boundry??? What's going on?

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