I dont know if US has proper cities, but there are a lot of problems in US cities that i see.
Well, let me bring you up to date.
- A large number (let’s call it a large minority, if not half) of US cities do not have livable urban centers. People drive in for work, drive out to go home. Very little is open after 5 or 6PM, because nobody is there to sell to. And if you do live downtown, crime rates are very high.
- Another large minority do have livable urban centers, but not in the European sense. It is still extremely difficult to go to market, get to entertainment, etc., without a car. Our mass transit systems, WHEN THEY EXIST (many cities really only have buses, or a rudimentary trolley system and buses) are designed to bring people in and our of the urban centers, not move around within them.
- A few cities do have livable centers in the European sense: Boston, New York, Washington DC, New Orleans, San Francisco are examples. However, living in those urban centers is extremely expensive and out of reach for the average person; some of them also have difficult crime problems, nonetheless.
I’ve been in most Euro cities for extended stays. Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London, Paris, Stockholm, Goethenborg, Berlin, Munich, Helsinki, Madrid, Rome, Milan, Bucharest. We really don’t have anything like those. From that list, the most “American” of those cities would be Bucharest; extremely spread out, no real defined urban center, etc. Hard to imagine living there without a car. Milan is extremely spread out too, although it does have a defined city center and centrum around the Duomo. (We don’t have
That does seem like a faulty design, yes. It probably doesnt help that your automobile industry destroyed the public transport in the 50s.
You’re exaggerating the situation with the auto industry. We HAD no serious public transport in most cities, ever. Rudimentary at best. When we hit the 50’s and 60’s, the auto enabled people to move away from the city centers, which they preferred; so what public transport systems existed fell into disuse and eventually were deprecated. The auto industry helped this along by making it easy to buy a car, of course, and in a few cases (Los Angeles) actively lobbied against mass transit, but the primary driver of the 1950’s boom in suburban living was personal preference; people perceived suburban living as superior and preferable to urban living. Crime and to some extent, racism, played into these preferences.
Statistically children are one of the least likely groups to get mugged (men are the most likely group).
Objectively true, but when we mothers perceive our children to be at any sort of risk (even if the risk is statistically nil) our interest in stats goes out the window. Today, there’s a sense that child predators are everywhere; here is a graphic showing the registered sex offenders just in the Houston zip code where my mother in law lives:
Registered sex offenders in zip code 77077 - crimes listed, registry-based, living in this zip code
Registered sex offenders in 77077
So……statistically you’re correct. But it only takes one incident to ruin a child’s life. So, it’s very unusual nowadays to see children outside playing unsupervised anywhere but a private street.
US has a wider range of temperatures than Europe. However not being able to walk at 30C seems to indicate that you have a sick population. Walking in Houston or Dallas is only unthinkable because over 60% of your popualtion is obese.
You have an exaggerated view of the stats. We do indeed have higher rates of obesity, but they tend to be centered in certain demographic groups. I am neither obese nor out of shape (In fact, I just got back from the gym and a brisk walk in the park) but today it will be about 34-35C with humidity close around 90%. (Most US cities also have substantially higher humidity rates than European cities). There is no human on earth that finds that comfortable; and that’s putting aside the fact that the closest grocery to me is 2 miles away.
Actually due to the age of your cities you have a much better options for rebuilding cities than europeans do. The city centers tend to be medieval-era planning that are hell to navigate for modern population.
Well, of course if you’ve already designed your city for autos, that means that your buildings on each side of the road are farther apart than if they the mode of transportation was walking or horse and buggy. So that much is true.
However, we’ve often misused that space (from a walkability standpoint) by placing superhighways down the middle of the urban centers. And regardless, nobody is excited about the prospect of ripping down tens of millions of dollars of office building to retool.
You know, im all for that. Build a better planned city in a place where you have space to build.
I think this is the improvement going forward. In a manner of speaking, Houston has (depending on how you count) no fewer than six “downtowns”. Everyone knows where the REAL “downtown” is, but the others, which are clusters of large office buildings and hotels, are all five to fifteen miles away from the real “downtown”. And by doing so, we give people the ability to live in suburbia, but still be a ten minute drive from work.
Personally, I’ve been an cybercommuter for most of my career (even before it was “a thing”) and I am constantly surprised that more companies don’t engage in it. For the last two years, Amazon has been taking bids from cities because they want to build a second large corporate campus somewhere in the US, a thought that continually has me scratching my head, and wondering how it is that a company that is built entirely on technological innovation hasn’t figured out that they no longer need a 1960’s style “campus” to house employees.