Where Los Angeles Equals San Francisco's Density

Though the Los Angeles region is very dense, significant barriers to transit-oriented planning remain. Based on this analysis, the lack of a central urban core shouldn't be one of them.
March 19, 2015, 9am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Los Angeles urbanists often claim the nation's highest density, only to be reminded that their region still lacks an urban core. In a comparative density analysis of L.A. and San Francisco, Michael Rhodes throws that rebuttal into question.

Rhodes compared San Francisco's density statistics with what he dubbed "Central LA," a S.F.-sized superimposition on the City of Angels. "The surprising result? San Francisco and the 'city' of central LA (a subset of the larger municipality) are equal in population density over those 47 square miles, with about 837,000 people in both cities (all of SF and the core of LA). Not only that, but the LA core has about 85% as many jobs as San Francisco does, making it a substantial center of employment."

Predefined narratives about Los Angeles may impose themselves on policy decisions. "Another important reason is that LA doesn't treat Central LA as the true city it really is, where urban densities undoubtedly warrant putting pedestrians above space-hogging private automobiles."

From the article: "If there's one takeaway from this data, it's that LA has no reason not to go all-in in investing in its core, making it a more urban place, and seeing San Francisco not as an anomaly, but as a peer. As for us San Franciscans, maybe we can finally get over our fear of greater density. After all, do we want to be known as only as dense as LA?"

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Published on Monday, March 2, 2015 in Medium
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