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Thread: City trends in Canada vs US

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    Cyburbian
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    City trends in Canada vs US

    Cities in Canada and very much the east coat before 60's was very strong on mix use buildings like this http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6045/6...4ec21bae_b.jpg

    Where in US in 20's , 30's , 40's and 50's that was not case .

    Other thing very alien to the US is tower in park concept a 15 to 20 story apartment place in the suburbs in low density suburban sprawl single family homes that was very popular in the 60's and 70's and was not popular in the 80's and 90's and now making a come back with high-rise condos.

    Other thing very alien to the US is Canada downtown core is more mix use where has in the US this is not always the case .In the past 10 years and very much so 8 years there is more redevelopment in the downtown area like in Toronto , Calgary ,Vancouver so on. And big high-rise condos boom .

    The US downtown core mostly office ,businesses and entertainment and not some thing a lot people want to live.The thought of living in medium or high density in down-town or high-rise condos is very alien to the US.

    There is a lot of high-rise condos and infill going on in the suburbs and in place now .

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nec209 View post
    Cities in Canada and very much the east coat before 60's was very strong on mix use buildings like this http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6045/6...4ec21bae_b.jpg

    Where in US in 20's , 30's , 40's and 50's that was not case .
    The buildings in that picture probably date back to the early 1900s, or even the late 1800s. They're quite common in older cities in the United States, too. From Buffalo:







    Despite the lack of signage, the storefronts are all occupied. Signage in the neighborhood where I took these photos tends to be subdued.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    I just picked a area but Canada was very much base on mix use and people living above store to the 60's before malls replaced the classic store front.


    Where in the US in 20's and 30's that was not always the case with one story store-front and 40's and 50's strip and 60's plazas .Canada was more base of mix use to 60's and the US starting in the 20's was moving way from this.

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    I would imagine the population shifts that were experienced in the US in the last century were not replicated in Canada. This would go a long way in explaining why there are noticeable differences between the cities in the two countries. Many Americans left the Midwest and Northeast for the Sunbelt. Considering that largely happened after WWII, the new metro areas that arose took on a different form than their predecessors.

    I'd be careful on some of your generalizations though. The United States has many cities that follow similar trends to what are found in Canada. The issue is there's also many counter-examples due to the sheer number of cities in the US when compared to Canada. I'd imagine some of these discrepancies can be explained by cultural and climatic factors that are not present in Canada.

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Another factor, in addition to what Bilde wrote, is the training of planners in the post-WWII era. In the US, planners were mostly educated in the United States. In Canada, many were educated in the UK and, in the case of Quebec, France. Thus, the strange hybrid of American-style single-use zoning, vehicle-related development, and loop-and-lollypop subdivisions, contrasted by tower-in-a-park apartment buildings, which is very uncommon in suburban cities and towns south of the border. (Exceptions: Toronto-style high-rise apartments in the suburbs of Washington DC and Cleveland.) The tower-in-a-park is a very European form, resulting from a desperate need for housing to replace what was destroyed in WWII, with strong influences by the Garden City movement and Le Courbusier.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by nec209 View post
    Cities in Canada and very much the east coat before 60's was very strong on mix use buildings like this http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6045/6...4ec21bae_b.jpg

    Where in US in 20's , 30's , 40's and 50's that was not case .

    Other thing very alien to the US is tower in park concept a 15 to 20 story apartment place in the suburbs in low density suburban sprawl single family homes that was very popular in the 60's and 70's and was not popular in the 80's and 90's and now making a come back with high-rise condos.

    Other thing very alien to the US is Canada downtown core is more mix use where has in the US this is not always the case .In the past 10 years and very much so 8 years there is more redevelopment in the downtown area like in Toronto , Calgary ,Vancouver so on. And big high-rise condos boom .

    The US downtown core mostly office ,businesses and entertainment and not some thing a lot people want to live.The thought of living in medium or high density in down-town or high-rise condos is very alien to the US.
    There is a lot of high-rise condos and infill going on in the suburbs and in place now .
    It's all a factor of developable space and culture. Millions, literally, of people live in downtown cores that have entertainment and businesses.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Huck View post
    It's all a factor of developable space and culture. Millions, literally, of people live in downtown cores that have entertainment and businesses.
    What do you mean ? The down-town cores in North East part of US the culture is it is cool to live above store or and apartment where the culture of Los Angeles , Houston , Phoenix , Dallas ,Fort Worth , Las Vegas and Albuquerque the culture was it was un-cool to live above store or a apartment so it spread out more and less importances on mix use so the down town is mostly office ,businesses and entertainment .

    Well perhaps the US had more of culture to move away from the down- town than Canada in so it made city planncers less importances on mix use.

    Where Canada down-town was strong on mix use and people living above store and apartment thus why Canada down-town look so odd when you look at Los Angeles , Houston , Phoenix , Dallas ,Fort Worth , Las Vegas and Albuquerque.

    Now there is big high-rise condos boom now and making the down-town even more high density .

  8. #8
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, Dallas, Fort Worth, Las Vegas and Albuquerque all experienced a good deal of their growth after WWII when the patterns of downtown living were different than in the early part of the 20th and end of the 19th centuries. In those earlier times, living in the downtown core was linked in part to proximity to work centers. There was no efficient way to get to these work places from further out, so many lived closer in. And the development accommodated that by having a lot more residential stacked on commercial. If you look at eastern cities that saw more growth prior to WWII (and especially by the turn of the century), you will see more of the kind of residential above, retail below pattern you are referring to. In a place like Albuquerque, those types of development were not very extensive because the population was so small. Later, urban renewal (see below) had a big impact on removing much of what little of this pattern did exist.

    After WWII, in older eastern cities, you saw a lot more movement out from the core in part because people COULD. Car ownership rates were skyrocketing and transportation options had diversified (rail, buses, etc.) So, this predominant model – lower density developments at the edge of growing cities, became the norm. Thus the name “streetcar suburb.” These were areas where commercial strips were developed along transit stops with housing built in the blocks behind. This is very typical of the historical development of Albuquerque post WWII, for example. And always at the edge, where expansion of this type seemed to have no bounds.

    By the 1960s, many of the urban cores had been emptied of the higher earning populations who had chosen to live further out. This is both because they could afford it (car ownership, home ownership) and because there was a perception that public education and safety in the outlying areas were an improvement over the core (which in many ways became a self-fulfilling prophecy as the tax base in the cores shrank). This dynamic is often called “White Flight” because by and large, it was a white population fueling this movement, though in subsequent generations, many immigrant groups followed the same pattern as a path to “making it” (they settle in the urban core for the first generation, then move out to the suburbs in subsequent generations as their income increases). What was left in the urban centers in many places were a lot of vacant, underutilized buildings and a small tax base to maintain and provide infrastructure and services. The response was “urban renewal” in the 1960s and 70s whereby the federal government invested in large removals of buildings (including many historic buildings, some of which had provided the kind of older mixed-use urban core infrastructure), the building of public housing and a slew of other activities that in retrospect really put the nail in the coffin of many downtowns. It also meant a significant reduction in housing options in many downtown cores. It became the domain of poor people.

    The degree to which many of these cities retain (if they ever had) more of this development type, has a lot to do with how active they were in the urban renewal programs. I know Albuquerque lost a lot of its core urban built fabric in this era, only to be replaced by poorly constructed apartment complexes on superblocks (that also disrupted the street network in much of downtown)

    Since the 1970s, different cities have charted different courses and some have reenergized their cores. Patterns of development have, as a result, become much more diversified to the extent that there really is no “typical” American city anymore.
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    I think climate is being overlooked in this discussion. The cities in the US and Canada that are in the same climate zones are actually pretty similar. The cities just mentioned are in climate zones that Canada does not possess.

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    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Blide View post
    I think climate is being overlooked in this discussion. The cities in the US and Canada that are in the same climate zones are actually pretty similar. The cities just mentioned are in climate zones that Canada does not possess.
    Mexico use to own the south west and the Mexican architecture and Mexico city planners may play big part in the south west .Most of the Mexican architecture is bright colors and building built out of clay not brick .Also in some areas in Mexico had more road side feel and one story buildings than big on mix use that was not popular in Canada the road side feel and one story buildings.


    And the road side feel or some call it commercial strip and one story store-front buildings was very popular in the 20's , 30's , 40's and 50's and Los Angeles and Albuquerque has alot of this.

    Also the 2 , 3 or 4 story apartments where there is alot in the US never cought on in Canada for soe reason . Where Canada took on the tower in park concept than the 2 , 3 or 4 story apartments.

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    The Spanish influence on cities in the Southwest is not as significant as you might think since it was mainly a frontier area when they controlled it. Outside of missionaries and the native populations, few people willingly settled there. It really wasn't until the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800s that people really began to settle in the area.

    Also you mentioned architecture but that was significantly influenced by climate in the Southwest. Clay (and bricks) were used because there was a limited amount of lumber available. It also insulated people from the heat better than most other building materials. Keeping cool also explains why buildings are lower. Before air conditioning, keeping cool is what shaped architecture more than anything in the southern US.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I feel like we have been through this before. New Mexico was only part of Mexico for 25 years. It was also, as Blide notes, a time period in which this area was a sparsely populated outpost at the edge of what had been New Spain (1821-1846). There was not a lot of building or infrastructure development during this time. The railroad, which ushered in the first post-Spanish period growth spurt arrived in 1880. By 1900, Albuquerque had a population of a whopping 8000 people. Not exactly an urban center by any measure and you can imagine how small it must have been before that.

    As I have noted, most of the growth in this area occurred after WWII, so the typologies you see here have largely grown out of what was the trend since that time. Where these developers came from (and I suspect southern California, but I am not sure of that) probably also had an impact on what was built. Large scale developers tend to prefer replicating known building forms because they are a known quantity (you've done it before, you know what is involved and what it costs, etc.) There was also not a very diverse employment base here prior to 1940 (Sandia National Labs, Sandia Base and Kirtland Air Force Base all came in between 1939 and 1949) so most commercial activities are consumer based and not things like factories or even agriculture (which we do have, but not in large amounts).

    Route 66 and the income that it spurned was largely based on driving tourism so that is one reason you see lots of small motels and retail spaces along Central Avenue (which was Rte 66), some of which have been adapted over time to serve new purposes and populations or knocked down entirely.

    Lastly I will note that New Mexico, as it has been populated by Americans migrating from other parts of the country, has largely been fueled by people seeking the "wide open spaces of the west." To this extent, the preferred building approach has been very open, single story, larger lots, etc. I think this is partly because that is what buyers are seeking here. We have had numerous loft projects that have done generally rather poorly, for example, in part because I think few people come to New Mexico to have an intensely urban experience. They come here to get away from that and so if they can spend the same money to have a SF detached home rather than a two story loft above retail, they will choose the SF home.
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Route 66 and the income that it spurned was largely based on driving tourism so that is one reason you see lots of small motels and retail spaces along Central Avenue (which was Rte 66), some of which have been adapted over time to serve new purposes and populations or knocked down entirely.
    Can you elaborate more on Route 66 ? You know Central Avenue ( Route 66 ) has road side feel with lots of cub cuts with tight parking .Not sure but I think that area looks very 40's and 50's by the looks of it .Most of the road side feel or some people call it commercial strip was very popular in the 40's and 50's in the US.


    Many small motels ,inns , car dealers , used cars , car parts ,car wash ,storage ,auto body ,restaurants , fast food, and other retail so on along Central Avenue ( Route 66 ) .

    Also if I understand south eat Albuquerque and International District of Albuquerque is 40's and 50's where the north east is much newer and more suburb in looking and feel.



    What I was saying is Mexican architecture is bright colors and building built out of clay not brink.And saying alot of city planners in the south west looked at Mexico how they do thinks than the UK.

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    The big difference between US and Canadian municipal governance

    In the US many cities have homerule status, meaning they can do whatever they want as long as it doesn't conflict with state or federal law.

    In Canada city government is an extension of the province and must ask for provincial permission when it wants to expand its powers beyond land use planning (like adding a new form of taxation beyond property tax).

    The result is that US cities don't have to count on intensification to grow their revenue streams. They can just add a tax, like a sales tax, hotel tax, income tax, personal property tax, etc. Canadian cities don't have those options (at least not without a huge challenge to the province). They grow their revenue streams by adding value to the land under their control. That means subdividing plots, allowing for basement rental apartments in homes, encouraging high-rise residential, and basically getting more people to use the land.

    The following article details how Toronto has managed to grow using the Ontario model, while Detroit shrank under the Michigan model...

    http://globalurbanist.com/2010/01/26...etroit-shrinks

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    This may explain why there so many cities and town in Ontario are into these high rise apartments and high rise condos.All this got started in the 60's and 70's tower in park concept with massive suburban growth in the 60's and 70's . The 80's and 90's was trend back to building mostly homes but now in the past 8 years and more so 5 years it back to high rise apartments and high rise condos mostly high rise condos .

    Yes cities like Hamilton population 504,559 ,London population 352,395 , Kitchener population 204,668 , Ottawa population 812,129 , Thunder Bay population 109,140 , Mississauga population 668,549 , Brampton population 433,806 so on.

    It is almost hard to believe all these city planners thought it was just a cool thing to do !! With so many cities and towns in Canada into these tower in park concept this really well could be a province thing or some thing from the urban planing school or fed.

    At least cities like Miami and Fort Lauderdale economics 101 is coming into play now . The prime real estate by the water is high , there is high demad for housing and low supply , most of the land is built up by the water so options of homes or low rise apartments is not a option now, it is a hot spot for the rich to want to live and second house for the rich to go in the winter. So high rise apartments and high rise condos have boom by the water in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. But in land from the water 2 , 3 and 4 story apartments is still very much a trend in the suburb of these cities.


    Most apartments in the US are 2 , 3 or 4 story for low income .This never cought on in Canada for some reason.



    ---Mississauga population 668,549 high rise apartments and high rise condos in the suburbs in low density sprawl.

    http://www.designbuild-network.com/p...towers-air.jpg
    http://www.blogto.com/upload/2010/05...1-Distance.jpg
    http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3592/3...32e84c72_z.jpg
    Last edited by nec209; 22 May 2012 at 3:58 PM.

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    A lot of those high rise projects were a part of a bubble though. So now the market is over saturated and many are left sitting vacant.

    The situation in South Florida left most of those high rise developers bankrupt. The market value on those units are probably about a third of what they were when they were built. Now they're in a situation where the construction costs far exceeded whatever they can reasonably hope to recoup out of the project.

    High rise residential may be nice but it's ultimately considered a luxury in most locations. With the market the way it is, I wouldn't expect to see much new construction on them for a number of years. I would imagine this situation is largely true in Canada as well.

    EDIT: I should add there are a lot of places like Mississauga in the United States. Places like Atlanta, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Washington, DC all have areas outside the CBDs with high rise residential development. They're just in suburbs a lot of people are not familiar with, not unlike Mississauga.
    Last edited by Blide; 22 May 2012 at 4:47 PM.

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    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nec209 View post
    Can you elaborate more on Route 66 ? You know Central Avenue ( Route 66 ) has road side feel with lots of cub cuts with tight parking .Not sure but I think that area looks very 40's and 50's by the looks of it .Most of the road side feel or some people call it commercial strip was very popular in the 40's and 50's in the US.

    Many small motels ,inns , car dealers , used cars , car parts ,car wash ,storage ,auto body ,restaurants , fast food, and other retail so on along Central Avenue ( Route 66 ) .

    Also if I understand south eat Albuquerque and International District of Albuquerque is 40's and 50's where the north east is much newer and more suburb in looking and feel.



    What I was saying is Mexican architecture is bright colors and building built out of clay not brink.And saying alot of city planners in the south west looked at Mexico how they do thinks than the UK.[/QUOTE]

    The Rte 66 issue is complicated mainly by the fact that it began in 1926 in Albuquerque but enjoyed many decades of growth between then and when it was eventually decommissioned in 1985. So, you are right that those strips, garden court motels, etc. have a 40s and 50s feel. But some areas along Rte 66 have earlier forms and some are later. Some things were knocked down and replaced with newer buildings while in other areas, sections had just never filled out until the city grew larger. The style of each era of building is reflected in the architecture and in many areas, its all mixed together within a single block or two (and sometimes does not function well as a result). So, while there are sections that are indicative of a particular era, it is hard to generalize about a part of town. A good example is Nob Hill, a retail area east of downtown (on Central Avenue) that has experienced a lot of growth since the 1990s. This growth has included knocking down older buildings, adding on to existing ones, and changing the character with the allowance of 2 and 3 story buildings where historically they had only been single story. I think that’s a good example of how things change over time with some aspects of the fabric reflecting newer trends and others reflecting older ones – in this case all in the same ½ mile stretch of road.

    The dividing lines for the quadrants of the city are the railroad tracks (which run N-S) and Central Ave (E-W). This is very close to the city’s downtown core. So, much of both the southeast and northeast were built out into the 1960s (and began in the 1920s). Beyond that time, the northeast exploded to encompass much more land. Still, a good deal of southeast growth occurred after this time as well (but had to move around Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Labs and the airport which are large land uses already in place).

    Locally people often distinguish between the near northeast heights and the far northeast heights. The farther reaches are the newer growth.

    As to the Mexican link, I think its just important to understand that these styles of building – using adobe (clay “bricks” that are a different dimension from red clay bricks) flat roofs, etc. – were all prevalent in New Mexico before there even was a Mexico (when it was New Spain). The building technique actually hails all the way back to north Africa and came to Spain during the Moorish occupation and then to the New World with Spanish colonization. When settlers here noticed that the Native communities also had mud homes (different construction style, but similar forms) they realized that the soil, which is clay-rich, was well-suited for building. And besides, there is very little in terms of lumber here to build homes with. Around the turn of the 20th Century, builders and architects began developing what is called the Pueblo Revival style. It uses many of the same forms, but different materials (CMU instead of adobe, or just stucco over frame for example). This style has continued into present day with some more subtle developments along the way. But the inspiration is both indigenous and early Spanish settlement-era architecture, not anything Mexican.

    So, folks weren’t really looking to Mexico for these styles, just to early New Mexican (or New Spain, which would include Arizona, southern Colorado and parts of Texas) styles. As for city planning, I am not aware that the planners here have really looked to Mexico for reference or guidance. Its possible, I suppose, but I have never heard of that thread. And I received my degree here, so I would imagine it would have come up.
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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    So, folks weren’t really looking to Mexico for these styles, just to early New Mexican (or New Spain, which would include Arizona, southern Colorado and parts of Texas) styles. As for city planning, I am not aware that the planners here have really looked to Mexico for reference or guidance. Its possible, I suppose, but I have never heard of that thread. And I received my degree here, so I would imagine it would have come up.
    Planning in Mexico is a different animal entirely. About 20 years ago, I attended a planning conference in New Mexico, where one mobile workshop was a tour of Cuidad Juarez conducted by Mexican planners. At the end, they handed out brightly colored maps; the city's first zoning map, just recently adopted.

    If you go back far enough, you can see the influence of The Law of the Indies on cities and towns in Mexico and the Southwestern United States.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    If you go back far enough, you can see the influence of The Law of the Indies on cities and towns in Mexico and the Southwestern United States.
    Indeed. The Laws of the Indies are a fascinating early town planning document you can see reflected all over the Spanish New World. And one of the things the Spanish saw when they encountered the Pueblos here was that their town planning was very similar to the edicts of the Laws of the Indies (town set around a central plaza, etc.). This elevated the perception of the Native communities in the region and is also why the Spanish dubbed them "Pueblos." They were "civilized" like the Spanish, they thought, and lived in "towns" just like they did. Imagine...
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    Some one was explaining to me when the US tried to build high-rise apartments in New York city , Chicago and Jersey City it did not go well and become ghetto.So US abandoned this idea that and the facter too of leaving of cities in North East part of US to south for suburbs living ( Canada did not have this relocate happen in history )

    So idea high-rise apartments did not play out well in the US so they moved to 2 or 3 story apartments and some places 4 or 5 story apartments for the non lucky people to live in a house.

    Where Canada in the 50's and 60's tried to build 2,3,4,5 or 6 story apartments but did not go well like the US and so abandoned this idea .I have seen town population under 60,000 people and there are high-rise apartments where some one taking economics would laugh at you how can towns and small cities have high-rise apartments .

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