Tim Lee does Google maps for three neighborhoods he’s lived in and one he’s thinking of moving to and notes the incredible range of compactness (as visually demonstrated from many more streets showing up in comparable map grids).
It’s amazing how many people you can pack into a small area. It’s also interesting to note that that St. Louis neighborhood, the Central West End, is among the densest in the St. Louis metro area. There aren’t any parts of St. Louis that are like the heart of DC, to say nothing of Philadelphia.
Then again, if there were, it wouldn’t be St. Louis.
I very much enjoy visiting Manhattan or Chicago or some of DC’s more densely packed neighborhoods. There’s something to be said for having a huge variety of restaurants, bars, shops — even museums — within walking distance. For some, they find it so enjoyable that they want to live that way all the time, even though it means paying much more for rent and/or living in a much smaller place than they’d otherwise have. For others of us, not so much.
Personally, I’m glad that the variety exists and we don’t all have to live in densely packed neighborhoods or sprawling suburbs but rather get to choose.