Urban Geography EU vs US

European cities developed around Medieval technology, when walkability was at a much greater premium and wealthiest lived in the urban core. New World urban settlement patterns were largely shaped by faster transportation: first trains, then streetcars, and then private cars. Thus the rise of railroad towns for affluent commuters, streetcar suburbs, and finally the auto-centric sprawl of 1950s America.

Even European cities that developed after these technologies typically opted for Old World density, as in Germany’s post-war rebuilding. To explain why, the video offers other factors, from high gas prices and low urban crime rates that kept central cities attractive to residents to generous farming subsidies that preserved nearby land for agricultural use. It’s an ten-minute crash-course in Euro-urbanism, basically. Worth a look as you drive back to your sprawl-riddled suburb.

Some Adjustments

Europe can’t afford cars. Hence all the bike lanes in the freezing cold.

After WWII everything needed to be rebuilt cheaply. This is how and why Sky scrappers happened. Now the reason is China.

None detached homes save walls. We also consistently build things in very large clumps. This doesn’t allow for advances in building or changes to transportation. Has the unfortunate affect of everything falling apart at the same time. Everything also looks the same shit and old.

Railway suburbs (Garden Cities) are things we built as places to put those bombed out of London.

In Europe most of the city is government housing. Still today 50% of London is. Another 25% of London is having some of its rent paid by the government.

Rich people are not returning. They are hiding money from the tax man.

The government doesn’t want rich people to live in cities it wants to send them to places to spread out their money. They do this with tax incentives.

If the offices were spread out there would be less traffic. But the cleaners would have to live close instead of keeping them in the city or just outside it.

The US spread out for several other reasons. Highways. The GI bill giving homes away. People spreading away from a possible nuclear attack.

The cold is another reason our homes are small. But our solid brick homes are not insular. America’s plastic, insulation and fake walls are and look cheap but they are insular.

Cities are for tourists. Meetings. Government. Not for living. These things are seasonal thus temp migrants.

London has many more walking around on the streets then NYC this might be because transportation is twice the price of US metros. It might be due to overcrowded homes. Or a bit of both.


Yes there is



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