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    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    A Paris Suburb

    In Paris they have different and higher standards of urbanity. This is referred to as a suburb:


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    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Pretty, but not unprecidented on this continent.

    Chicago calls this a suburb:


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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ablarc
    In Paris they have different and higher standards of urbanity. This is referred to as a suburb:
    Is it an inner-ring suburb, though? Remember, the hypermarket was invented in France, and a Carrefour store (and the accompanying bad architecture and expanses of pavement) makes a US southern exurban Wal-Mart look like a quaint small village shop in comparison.

    As jordanb said, there's many urban suburbs in the US; around Chicago, New York and LA; Cleveland Heights and Lakewood, Ohio; Miami Beach, Florida, and University City, Missouri to name a few.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian drucee's avatar
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    However ugly the hypermarkets may be, they're usually confined to industrial areas, rather than replacing such urban cityscapes as Ablarc has presented. In those Southern exurbs, however, Wal-Mart and his buddies have all but ruled out any sort of urbanity.

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    After googling around, I found this interesting article from the BBC. (I'm quoting the entire article, because I don't think BBC articles are copyrighted works; please correct me if I'm wrong.)



    Thursday, 19 July, 2001, 11:27 GMT 12:27 UK
    French suburbs under siege

    France's suburbs are plagued by crime and violence
    By Andrew North in Paris

    "Suburbs - a hot summer?" asked the front page headline on a recent edition of the daily Le Parisien.

    This was not idle speculation as to how affluent suburban residents would cope with the sweltering heat of July and August.

    In France the suburbs, or banlieue, are the equivalent of America and Britain's inner cities - home to the poorest members of society, with high concentrations of immigrant groups - and plagued by crime and violence, much of it committed by young people.

    The number of these problem suburbs has doubled to 1,200 in the past 10 years and increasingly the authorities seem at a loss as to how to deal with them.

    It was the bleak and often violent 1996 film, La Haine, that brought conditions in the banlieue to wider attention.

    Set in a rundown Parisian suburb, the poor residents * white French and people of North and West African origin * have become alienated from society at large and see the state not as a source of help, but only as a threat.

    This sense of alienation is at the root of the problem in real life, according to Professor Alain Bauer, an expert on policing and urban violence at Sorbonne university.

    So much so that when violence flares between the authorities and banlieue residents, other divisions - including race - are forgotten.

    "Even when we have two gangs that fight each other, when the police come, they re-unify against the police," Professor Bauer says.

    Problem Trappes

    One of these problem suburbs is Trappes, a town of about 30,000 people to the west of Paris, of whom about two-thirds are of immigrant origin.

    A short distance away is the palace of Versailles and it is surrounded by affluent, mainly white areas.

    But the decline of the nearby industrial zone that brought immigrant workers to Trappes in the 1960s and 1970s has left an area of severe deprivation and one which now has the worst record of violence in the western Paris region.

    Almost every night, cars are set alight in the streets between the crumbling apartment blocks in which most people live.

    Police on patrol come under frequent attack.

    "They throw stones and bottles all the time," said Christian Meyer, chief of police in Trappes. He says his police station has also been fire-bombed on several occasions.

    Mr Meyer says youths of Moroccan and Algerian origin are largely responsible. He says they sometimes try to compare themselves to the Palestinians fighting the Israelis.

    In some suburbs, rates of youth crime have risen by 40% in the past two years.

    Child curfew

    The police are often powerless, admits Philippe Thevenard, deputy chief of police for the Yvelines district, which includes Trappes.

    "If they are under 13 years old, and many are, there's nothing we can do under French law," he says.

    Recently, the town of Orleans in central France decided to adopt its own solution and introduced an 11pm curfew for children of 13 and under. Several other cities have followed suit.

    Mr Thevenard says a curfew would help in Trappes, and several local residents told the BBC they agreed. Some had young children who had been involved in violence.

    However, they said addressing the causes of the town's deprivation should be a higher priority.

    Mohammed, a Moroccan-born father of two boys, said he wanted to see more investment in education and training to give young people a better chance of finding jobs.

    He said the authorities also needed to do more to tackle what he says is racial discrimination against Arabs, which prevents them from getting the jobs they need.
    Urban sprawl is not unknown in France. Champigny, outside of Paris, resembles a budding American suburb, with a Gallic flavor.



    Here's Saint-Parres-les-Vaudes.



    Châtillon.



    Le sprawl.






    France's suburbs are, on a whole, probably more urban than suburbs in North America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa; land is scarce, and many European countries regulate "out of town development" on a national scale. When a Paris suburb is done right, the effects are probably spectacular, as ablarc showed us. Still, they're not without their problems.

    The density of Paris suburbs have deeper cultural roots. In the 1800s, the Fench and English concept of what was considered an ideal living environment were much different. The French preferred four and five story apartment buildings; the English aspired to a leafy building lot far from the city, where you could maintain a garden and breathe fresh country air. The early 20th century - France gave the world Le Courbesier, the UK greenbelt and garden cities. The cultural roots of the US are closely tied to the UK, so there's little wonder the English ideal prevailed here, especially considering that the US has the land to pull it off.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    The problem I see is: How do you "address the underlying causes"? The Algerian, North African, and poor white native French are basically trapped. They lack postmodern skills (if there was even really enough demand for such skills to employ everyone, which I seriously doubt) but they cannot/are not allowed to/will not work at the levels of absolute deprivation established by the desparate, yet increasingly skilled ex-peasants of the dominant new economy, China, and its satellites.

    We have the same problem here, of course. Can every ex-steelworkers son in Hegewisch really expect to be a graphic artist or computer programmer (especially as such profeszsions can be accomplished far more chealpy overseas). I don't care how good your community college systems are.

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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Pretty, but not unprecidented on this continent.

    Chicago calls this a suburb:

    Is this Evanston, jordan?

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    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by BKM
    Is this Evanston, jordan?
    No, only the parklike cemetery (Calvary Cemetery) in the foreground is in Evanston, the buildings are actually the Rogers Park neighborhood of the City of Chicago. The major street is Sheridan Rd, the street between that and the lake is Eastlake Terrace and the street closest parallel to the cemetery is Juneway Terrace.

    OTOH, much of Evanston is about that dense.

    Mike

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    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
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    Comparing Europe and the US's development patterns is not always a good idea. The bulk of Europe was developed before the proliferation of vehicular traffic. Sure there may be places where a comparsion is warranted due to density concerns, but to simply assume that we can do something because it's done in Europe is a falsehood.
    Every time I look at a Yankees hat I see a swastika tilted just a little off kilter.
    Bill "Spaceman" Lee

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    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Breed
    ...to simply assume that we can do something because it's done in Europe is a falsehood.
    Really? Why is that?

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    Quote Originally posted by Breed
    The bulk of Europe was developed before the proliferation of vehicular traffic.
    That's not all true. In the Netherlands, the majority of the housing stock was developed after WWII, so the vehicular traffic was not the reason for this high density. Only the historical centres are not built for car-users (which indeed results into even higher density, and parking problems)

    Much of the higher density building has to do with policies that restrict or control urban sprawl.

    Secondly, I would like to ask Ablarc, the starter of this thread, from which time this area is. Looking at the picture, it seems at least 100 years old, if not 200. In those days there existed some small parts that you could call suburban, but of course they were built in a higher density.

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    Cyburbian
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    I bet that palace over there is "Le Wal-mart", and the grass fields you see is just green asphalt parking lots

    Now seriously: just using the word palace indicates you that it's not really new at all.. easily 200 years old. At least the palace; the rest looks at least 100 years old.
    On another topic; a problem France and Chile share is the excessive centralism, although in France it's less; I doubt anybody links France to Paris only, but it's quite close.

    You just can't compare "suburbs" from the early 20th century or older, with suburbs of the last 50 years; The first are now probably completely urban; and of course the density was higher, and they were closer to the city; I doubt anybody wanted to walk (or ride in a buggy) 10 miles to go anywhere.
    To me this thread is comparing apples with pears.

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    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Maarten, the photo was taken in 1999. Here is the same scene exactly twenty years earlier:





    Comparison of the two photos reveals among other things:

    1. The square, which had been subjected to use as parking has been made into a park.

    2. The street coming into it from lower right has been infilled with proper, new streetwall buildings, though flat-roofed and somewhat horizontal.

    3. The street’s other side has had a jumble of buildings replaced with a pretty decent set of courtyarded, traditional buildings (purplish gable roofs).

    4. Just beyond the big church, a large area has been covered with new streetwall buildings.

    5. To the church’s immediate left, a brand-new building links the church with a dormered Renaissance building. In doing so, it combines stylistic elements of both buildings, to produce a convincing and harmonious ensemble and a consistency of scale. (Scale does not mean size or height; it is a function of footprint and the frequency of event on the building’s surface: in other words, the amount of detail. This is where the flat-roofed, horizontal-themed building falls down a bit. It’s hard to design a modernist building to be in scale with its surroundings; Modernism has different fish to fry.)

    6. Careful examination will reveal further recent interventions; significant numbers of buildings in the newer photo are new; most of the stolid background buildings are 19th Century.

    Btw, the suburb is called St. Denis, and the church is the earliest instance of indisputably Gothic architecture; Abbot Suger is said to have cooked it up around 1137. In this abbey church are buried many of the kings of France.

    The Metro extends to this suburb a few kilometers outside the peripherique, and it has recently benefited from a light rail line (tramway).

    Naturally, it is an absorbed town.
    Last edited by ablarc; 01 Jan 2005 at 5:36 PM.

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    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SkeLeton
    To me this thread is comparing apples with pears.
    Skeleton, that's exactly right. I see you get the point.

    Do you prefer apples or pears?

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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920
    No, only the parklike cemetery (Calvary Cemetery) in the foreground is in Evanston, the buildings are actually the Rogers Park neighborhood of the City of Chicago. The major street is Sheridan Rd, the street between that and the lake is Eastlake Terrace and the street closest parallel to the cemetery is Juneway Terrace.

    OTOH, much of Evanston is about that dense.

    Mike

    Ah. SHould have recognized it. I actually lived in West Ridge/West Rogers Park for a winter semester one year. when I had the self-delusion that I would make a good electrical engineer. I lived near the corner of Western and Touhy. (2400 block of Fargo Avenue) Beautiful, owner-occupied three-flat.

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    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ablarc
    Really? Why is that?
    From what I can tell, the bulk of your complaints with development in the US revolve around the use of the automobile. In Europe, population densities and existing development patterns are very conducive to the efficient implementation of pulbic transit. Because of the provision of reliable public transit, their development follows certain patterns.

    I don't think you can assume that if you develop a certain way, the transit modes will fall into place. I think development occurs based upon transit modes that exist. History bears this out.

    Taking the European model and plopping it in Anywhere, USA, just isn't going to work.
    Every time I look at a Yankees hat I see a swastika tilted just a little off kilter.
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    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Sorry, mgk920 is right. The caption said "evanston" so I took its word, but looking at the map, it's mostly Rogers Park. Evanston is mostly just a continuation thereof though.

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    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Breed
    From what I can tell, the bulk of your complaints with development in the US revolve around the use of the automobile. In Europe, population densities and existing development patterns are very conducive to the efficient implementation of pulbic transit. Because of the provision of reliable public transit, their development follows certain patterns.

    I don't think you can assume that if you develop a certain way, the transit modes will fall into place. I think development occurs based upon transit modes that exist. History bears this out.

    Taking the European model and plopping it in Anywhere, USA, just isn't going to work.
    "If you think you can or if you think you can't, you're right."

    --Henry Ford


    .
    Last edited by ablarc; 02 Jan 2005 at 1:21 PM.

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    Cyburbian drucee's avatar
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    Originally posted by jordanb
    it's mostly Rogers Park. Evanston is mostly just a continuation thereof though.

    Yep... both have the same degree of density. Evanston, like the St-Denis in ablarc's photo, also has a recognizable center.

    But what's interesting is that suburban urbanity in Europe isn't just confined to upscale towns like Highland Park and "lifestyle centers." Saint-Denis, the Paris suburb mentioned here by ablarc, is actually quite working-class. It's at the center of France's most diverse département, Seine-Saint-Denis, or simply "93." Its actual claim to fame now is not this beautiful center, but the Stade de France, built for the 1998 World Cup.

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    Quote Originally posted by drucee
    Yep... both have the same degree of density. Evanston, like the St-Denis in ablarc's photo, also has a recognizable center.

    But what's interesting is that suburban urbanity in Europe isn't just confined to upscale towns like Highland Park and "lifestyle centers." Saint-Denis, the Paris suburb mentioned here by ablarc, is actually quite working-class. It's at the center of France's most diverse département, Seine-Saint-Denis, or simply "93." Its actual claim to fame now is not this beautiful center, but the Stade de France, built for the 1998 World Cup.

    An excellent book on suburban Paris:Roissy Express. Not a very promising view-it makes suburban Paris sound kinda bleak. Not that there are not islands of improvement, like ablarc has brought to our attention.

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    Quote Originally posted by ablarc
    "If you think you can or if you think you can't, you're right."

    --Henry Ford


    .

    But, part of Henry Ford's "vision" and "Can do" involved armed Pinkerton Guards shooting at his striking workforce (and contributions to the Nazi German-American Bund). Ford subsidiaries can do certainly helped the German war effort, as well. (Were those profits ever confiscated, by the way??)

    As exhibited in the recent Oregon election, top-down "can do" planning, at least in the United States, often creates a reaction that will make things worse. One of the factors in the vote, I've read, is the opposition of residents of "suburban" auto-oriented suburbia to the type of mixed-use, higher desnity infill that "planners" like to prteach for everyone. (Plus, the general difficulties associated with ballot box planning, of course)

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    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    Taking the European model and plopping it in Anywhere, USA, just isn't going to work.
    If that were true, places like Old City, Philadelphia, Quebec City, Old Town Alexandria, and Greenwich Village would have ceased to be viable places to live and do buisness. They would be considered impossible to live in anachronisms. But they haven't. In fact, they are costly, popular places to live. It is not impossible to recreate them. The laws just need to allow it.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

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    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boilerplater
    If that were true, places like Old City, Philadelphia, Quebec City, Old Town Alexandria, and Greenwich Village would have ceased to be viable places to live and do buisness. They would be considered impossible to live in anachronisms. But they haven't. In fact, they are costly, popular places to live. It is not impossible to recreate them. The laws just need to allow it.
    Way to go, boilerplater. Anyway, it isn't the "European" model; it's the model of those who walk. Environments built for walking are fundamentally the same whether they are in Europe, North America, Australia, South America, Asia or Africa. And they're fundamentally the same regardless of what century they were built in. The human leg hasn't changed much in length, which is why Poundbury, Seaside, Brooklyn Heights, Georgetown, Pacific Heights, Carmel and other walkable places are basically similar.

    Unwalkable places unsurprisingly date only from the time after wheeled transport became widespread. A place like Boston's present West End or the planned part of Brasilia is unwalkable regardless of the intentions because the buildings are too far apart and have excessive footprints. In Brasilia, an unplanned peripheral town has sprung up, where people walk and prefer to be.

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    Quote Originally posted by boilerplater
    It is not impossible to recreate them. The laws just need to allow it.
    and...popular preferences and perceptions.

    "How dare you build that dense, walkable neighborhood with apartment buildings near me. This will be an instant slum. Where will they park, and how will the city deal with the congestion? We need more single family houses and green space."

    Again, it is not "just" planners' rules that determine why we build cities the way we do. There is deep social buy-in to the sprawl ideal of automotive convenience and spread out land uses.

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    Cyburbian Breed's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by boilerplater
    If that were true, places like Old City, Philadelphia, Quebec City, Old Town Alexandria, and Greenwich Village would have ceased to be viable places to live and do buisness. They would be considered impossible to live in anachronisms. But they haven't. In fact, they are costly, popular places to live. It is not impossible to recreate them. The laws just need to allow it.
    I'm not saying that it's not possible or that it's not a good thing. I'm saying that you can't take the European model and put it just anywhere in the US and expect it to work. Generally, the only places it will work are places dense enough to support it.... usually older places laid out before the popularization of the automobile. That eliminates much of the US.
    Every time I look at a Yankees hat I see a swastika tilted just a little off kilter.
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