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John Morris


Please re read Jane Jacobs book, It's all about mixing things up, spreading diversity in housing and business types etc. But it is all about density. Park Slope is now so hot and convenient because so many of the formerly underused industrial areas are being filled in with housing and businesses-- areas like Dumbo. Also, there is a filling in of Brooklyn's formerly underfilled downtown. Also, this is not in anyway an evacuation of Manhattan, in that these people are looking outwards, because the demand to live in Manhattan is too high.

You see as brooklyn becomes more dense and is more of a center for both housing and business, more people will be living in places like Park Slope and working in Brooklyn. It fit's with my theory that, a lot of people hate commuting with a passion.

And yes-- Park slope has awsome subway connections.

John Morris


And as far as prices go there is a big gap, sill in prices. The couple meantioned, likely got a place that would be comparable to a say-Brownstone just off 5th ave in the 70's. That area is currently really affordable, only to Michael Bloomburg-- money.

Eric E

I think your comparisons of Pittsburgh and other parts of the country with Baltimore a far more apt. New York is so much bigger, denser and more in demand than Pittsburgh that the conditions are fundamentally different at all points in the business cycle. Not only that, but moving to Brooklyn is hardly choosing the car-constrained lifestyle of the burbs. There's plenty of car-only exurbs in New York for those that are reaching for that lifestyle. Moving to Brooklyn ain't it.

Yep, people want yards. There's nothing wrong with that in the slightest, even under the most sensible planning schemes. Being from DC, I've always appreciated a respite from the crushing density of Manhattan (or, for something far worse, Hong Kong). My finacee's and my new house on the North Side doesn't have a yard, and I already miss it. Fortunately, we have a great public green space a half a block away, and can still walk to the Strip and downtown, thanks to good urban design. Pittsburgh is extraordinarily well-endowed with regard to green spaces, and we should work to keep it that way.

I don't think you have to embrace the current model of exurban development to prioritize green space, both in private dwellings and public spaces. And recall that even Brooklyn's most underloved areas have always had far more people in them than Pittsburgh's abandoned areas, perhaps more than areas in Pittsburgh ever did. And there's plenty of good ways to keep out of the urban fabric dead zones implied by exurban design - build satellite towns just like they were neighborhoods. As Andres Duany says, build a fabric for complexity emerge: walking, multiple ways to get to the same place, mixed use, etc.

New York's density also changes a lot of parameters: transit is a must for most people - a car is vastly more expensive and often slower than transit. Walkable communities are the norm for miles and miles from the urban core. Even a lot of the Jersey suburbs have many traces of pre-freeway design. So people moving into Brooklyn is a lot more like people moving to and redeveloping Dormont than doing greenfield developments in Cranberry.

John Morris

Eric is mostly right here, although I strongly disagree with using the past in this region as the barometer of potential demand. It may well be that the kind of urban planning the area had lead to it's lack of appeal. I think the fact that Pittsburgh had a population around double what it is today once, gives some clue to the fact that it can happily house more people without becoming Hong Kong. ( by the way 40% of Hong kong's land is dedicated to parks and natural areas. That's parks, not parking garages.

1 As, you can see NY is now finally a pretty sucessfull city and is showing heavy demand for the whole multitude of urban choices it offers. Is Baltimore some great model, so sucessfull and so enticing that we should be looking at it for development tips? I think that if Baltimore were not so close to D.C. it might more resemble detroit.Wise doctors try to study the patient's that got better for treatment's that work.

2) Does Baltimore's geography resemble Pittsburgh in any significant way? NY, Hong Kong and San Francisco come up so often as my models because, they are examples of successful space constrained cities.

3) It's very important to remember that the multi million dollar brownstones in the slope were once priced at around $50,000- 80,000 in the late 1970's

The major driving factor, that creates all the value of living in Park Slope now is because the city has done all this "infill" development since. Downtown Brooklyn has several large office complexes ( Bruce Ratner's Metro Tech and is now getting some apartment buildings and almost all the areas between it and Manhattan are in the process of filling in with density. Brooklyn Hieghts continued to improve. Dumbo was finally become vital residential/mixed use, Fort Green has seen new construction and a boom in renovations. Smith Street is now one of best restaurant rows in the city. Gowanas, is evolving to mixed use/residential from industrial and Apartment buildings are up on Atlantic Ave.

Finally the city is filling in it's underused waterfront and industrial areas. and that has made, living in the areas not far from them more attractive.

4) the context of this story is lost if you don't know about Bruce Ratner's attempt to build a gargantuan mega project near there. Most of the peole in the slope and Fort Green are not opposed to building more apartments near the main center of BAM/ Flatbush Ave or even a Net's stadium. But the scale of the the proposed gizmo is pretty inapropriate and the design looks like total lunacy from a Jane Jacobs street level.

sean mcdaniel

uh...johnnie morris...in case you didn't notice..baltimore is restricted by its waterfront and the bay. you know, that's why they built a place there called the harborplace.

sean mcdaniel

and JMOR...compared to new york, SF and HK, pittsburgh is practically landlocked. you reall are an idiot, geographically speaking...hong kong is an island...so is NYC...san francisco is a peninsula...pittsburgh is...uh...well...a city with rivers running through it. and look at a map, please, to note that baltimore's limits are really restricted by the harbor and bay.

if you want to compare pittsburgh to another town...try cincinnati (even with only one river) or sadly, des moines, ia, where two rivers met at a point-like merging.

seriously, how many geography classes did you skip?

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