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Freddy C

The most impressive skyline...

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....in North America relative to Metropolitan population goes to...............CALGARY ALBERTA Canada. WOW. According to statistics Canada, in 2001 Calgary had a metro area of 951,000, less than the Grand Rapids Metro...but look at its downtown. Whats the difference?

Calgary.gif

calgary_skyline2.jpg

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Maybe it is just too cold to sprawl there. Build dense and connect all the buidings via skyways to keep warm. Beautiful skyline I must say.

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We really need to get the DeVos and Van Andel families to pay for the formation of a mountain range around the city. Even our current trio of 18-plus story buildings would look more impressive within a ring of snow-capped peaks.

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Canada has basically outlawed sprawl. New suburbs are built very densely, with houses spaced about three feet apart. The yards are very small. There are always sidewalks, and the nearest bus stop is typically no more than a 5 or 10 minute walk away.

The U.S. on the other hand, basically subsidizes a sprawling development pattern, while paying little or no attention to the center city.

Here is an interesting article on the subject that I ran across last night: http://www.planetizen.com/oped/item.php?id=135

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Maybe it is just too cold to sprawl there.  Build dense and connect all the buidings via skyways to keep warm.  Beautiful skyline I must say.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

So what is the benefit of sprawl in GR? Does it make us cooler given that we have a slightly warmer climate than Calgery? It seems to me that the differnce is or has been in Urban Planning.

Even without the mountains in the background......that is impressive for less than a million people in the area. When you look at that city....it DRAWS YOU TO IT. Cities that have the "Vacation appeal" will be the cities that attract the most people. If a city does not have that "vacation appeal" it will lose out in the competition to those that do.

When you look at those photos.....thats vacation appeal...as it inspires you to want to go there. GR needs a "vacation appeal" as a marketing tool.

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From my experience, most Canadian cities have very little sprawl. I was amazed at the size of both London, Ontario and Hamilton, Ontario and I had never even heard of them before I visited. We stumbled upon London looking for a place to eat (they don't have billboards in Canada so it can be tricky). We came over a hill and were amazed by the size and density of the city.

Canada has it together in that respect.

Joe

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Oh God.

You know, looking at those buildings, I would say that downtown has as much "beef" to it as Detroit's Of course, density within the city is the key. I think GR could pull something like that off. They just need to keep refocusing people back into the downtown like they are already.

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So what is the benefit of sprawl in GR? Does it make us cooler given that we have a slightly warmer climate than Calgery? It seems to me that the differnce is or has been in Urban Planning.

Even without the mountains in the background......that is impressive for less than a million people in the area. When you look at that city....it DRAWS YOU TO IT. Cities that have the "Vacation appeal" will be the cities that attract the most people. If a city does not have that "vacation appeal" it will lose out in the competition to those that do.

When you look at those photos.....thats vacation appeal...as it inspires you to want to go there. GR needs a "vacation appeal" as a marketing tool.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Here is a picture of London Ontario. Its Metro area has about the population of Kalamozoo's Metro....yet...its downtown is more impressive than GR's

Canada-Ontario-Southwestern-ON-Central-3.jpg

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Grand Rapids has three core cities, hence three downtowns - actually four if you include Grand Haven. It is also more sprawled than most Canadian citites. Lastly, Grand Rapids is still an inductrial powerhouse that is just now making the transition to services.

Check out the economic data - I am sure that Grand Rapdids economically blows away Calgary. The skyline is just a result of the different types of business conducted.

That being said, some of those Candian plains cities are just plain freakish in terms of skyline development.

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Canadians don't fear density and mass transit (not even buses!). Plus there's no "American Dream" there, either.

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So what is the benefit of sprawl in GR? Does it make us cooler given that we have a slightly warmer climate than Calgery? It seems to me that the differnce is or has been in Urban Planning.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That was partially a tongue in cheek comment on my part. I think Allan's post hit it right on about why the US sprawls as much as it does.

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That was partially a tongue in cheek comment on my part.  I think Allan's post hit it right on about why the US sprawls as much as it does.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes, I agree with the analysis laid out in Alan

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We really need to get the DeVos and Van Andel families to pay for the formation of a mountain range around the city. Even our current trio of 18-plus story buildings would look more impressive within a ring of snow-capped peaks.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Also...I remember reading that the Push to build our extensive highway system was pushed by the military (Patton?). That probably referes more to the interstate highway network and not the local highways that create sprawl. Also, talking about military and national security impact upon areas, I have heard argued that the US industrial might was pushed to decentralize. Cities like Detroit, for example, if hit by a Nuclear bomb in 1960 would have radically crippled our industrial capacity. Thus, Industrial companies were given incentives to disperse producion out across the nation.

Has anyone else heard this arguments/theories?

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I asked a Canadian teacher of mine, formerly from Calgary, about the city. He said that given the population, the area of the city is actually quite large - they just have a very central, localized downtown. As superNOVA noted, in the Grand Rapids metro area there are several significant cities; Calgary however, is a single city surrounded by miles of nothing. Whatever the case may be, there's no argument that it is gorgeous to look at (minus what appears to an enormous strip of parking that cuts through the entire downtown).

CAN-AB-Calgary-WaiteAirPhotos1.jpg

The best example of Canadian density is Toronto.

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I asked a Canadian teacher of my, formerly from Calgary, about the city.  He said that given the population, the area of the city is actually quite large - they just have a very central, localized downtown.  As superNOVA noted, in the Grand Rapids metro area there are several significant cities; Calgary however, is a single city surrounded by miles of nothing.  Whatever the case may be, there's no argument that it is gorgeous to look at (minus what appears to an enormous strip of parking that cuts through the entire downtown).

CAN-AB-Calgary-WaiteAirPhotos1.jpg

The best example of Canadian density is Toronto.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes true....but again....why the differnce in development strategy. Would it have hurt GR to grow in a similar fashion? They obviously made a conscious effort towards density....while we did not.

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