City Streets official thread

stick n move

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I think that the streets of cities around the world is a very interesting topic. I didnt see another thread here celebrating, discussing pros/cons, the future...etc of city streets. The streets are, after all, the backbone of the city.

Starting with Boston, it is by far the most unique big city street layout in America. For better or worse. There definitely is pride in being the only big city in the US with an “old world” street layout. Is this an advantage, disadvantage, or both/somewhere in the middle? Sometimes I hate it, most of the time I love it. Sometimes I do think what if though.


A few interesting topics Id like to explore:

Grid style streets. Savannah Ga is one of the best examples in the US. Its the only example of this style grid in the world. Is the grid king? Why has it fallen out of favor yet it worked so well?


Old world streets. Which cities have this style of street layout in the US? We know Boston, also Worcester. Which other cities in America have this? I know as far as “big” cities were the only one. This should be a point of pride imo. Would you consider Pittsburgh streets “old world”.

Philly I feel is a grid, but hybrid.

Boston were familiar with


Pittsburgh is weird


Why are these new masterplanned cities not using grids? Also they seem to be huge office parks, entirely dependent on the car. Is this more a product of the location that they are being created today, like Dubai? Dubai is a mess for pedestrians. It seems like planners in middle eastern cities have completely forgotten the basics.

Shenzhen is a new city in an old country that grew organically as well. Ive never been there but it looks like the fact that its not masterplanned has allowed it to grow organically, although fast. Miles better than Dubai although a similar “age”. Should they have planned it? Shanghai downtown does looks like an office park though.

Shenzhen grew organically, but is a new city. Should they have laid a grid? It does seem to be working well.


Dubai is a pedestrian DISASTER


What are your favorite city street layouts? Is Manhattan the king of the grids? Is London the king of the old world city streets?

This brings another topic... Is Paris the king of non grid planned cities that were allowed to grow organically? Dc also filled in very nice. Both cities were planned, but planned by laying out the streets, and some major buildings, but then letting the city fill in organically. I feel like the new planned cities could learn a lot from these. These are another niche where the streets were planned, but are not a grid, do have a pattern to them, but grew to become “real” cities. Cities like Brasilia did not.

Dc is a planned city


So is Paris


Brasilia is STUPID. Making your streets look like a bird is fun in theory... in practice its horrible. This means at the ends of the wings your far away, even though theres empty space right downtown... stupid.


Is there a best answer? I think they all have their place. Imo whats most important is good street level and human scale. For the most part I think anything can work. Also where the streets all connect to another street. Dead ends, cauldesacs, suburban layouts are bad.
 
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stick n move

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Heres the Savannah grid. The only one of its kind. 8 large blocks of housing, 4 blocks for important cultural buildings, then a park in the middle. Like other grids its simple and easy to replicate, so it was replicated much further than it was laid out initially.






It turned out a beautiful city.




 

Hubman

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New Haven was laid out in a similar manner- But they never replicated the original 8 blocks.


The grid just kept going, but it did give New Haven a interesting feel- you don't usually see grids like it in NE.

 

citylover94

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Paris isn't exactly a planned city it is really more a typical medieval city layout with a planned boulevard network superimposed on top. The creation of the boulevard network required the demolition of hundreds of buildings. There is an interesting account of that process in the book "Paris Reborn" By Stephane Kirkland.

Aside from Boston the only major US city with a section that truly looks like a medieval European street is NYC in Lower Manhattan.
 

stick n move

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Didnt know that about New Haven, pretty cool. That is true about lower manhattan, it still finds its way into the grid though unlike Boston where the grids just end. I do like that the seaport is shaping up to have a semi grid layout that makes it pretty easy to navigate, hopefully it continues. Sometimes its nice to get a break.

Boston really is a big town, in the sense that when your from here you know where the roads go, but its not setup to be navigated by following any pattern if your a visitor. If your a local though you know where the roads go. It definitely leads to more congestion because there arent many alternate routes and even less cross city roads, every road/train leads downtown for the most part in a real old world layout. Its charming, but very congestion prone, thats why I think our transit has to be scaled towards a much bigger city to make up for it.
 

Shepard

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Holyoke is another local-ish town with a strong grid, very un-New England.
 

stick n move

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Holyoke is another local-ish town with a strong grid, very un-New England.
Good one I completely forgot. Holyoke has so much potential. It reminds me of something youd see in England. They could really make this a unique special city. Hopefully one day it pans out. Its oozing potential with not only a rare street grid in New England, but a canal system and river, lined with old mill buildings begging to be redeveloped and a historic downtown. This is a dangerously good mix of rare good planning for a city here combined with New England charm and a canal system. Too bad its left to essentially rot out in western Ma if it were within the 95 belt near Boston is would be an absolute masterpiece by now in high demand. I cant even imagine if that was the Charles river how legendary it would be.











So cool!


















This reminds me what city has the 2 twin bridges right in the middle of downtown near springfield? It had 1, but they added another a few years ago. That city is really interesting too.
 
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Hubman

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Holyoke could pull something off like Lowell, but it'd be tricky. Lowell has a couple tech companies, T connection to Boston, and a national park. Meanwhile Holyoke has miles upon miles of brownsites, abandoned buildings and vacant lots.
Their reuse of the canal system was ingenious, though.
Holyoke will make it eventually, as long as they don't try any hail-mary urban renewal schemes that would destroy any of the city.
 

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