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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ever notice how some cities just "seem" bigger than they are?
Ed/Cal are nearly exactly the same size but I always think of Calgary as Alberta's "big city" but I really shouldn't.

What is it that makes a city feel big while others don't even if they are nearly the same size? Let's not make this a city vs city thing as it's not a good or bad thing but it's just more of a feeling than anything else.
 

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When you look at dt Calgary, you can see that there are 10 times more skyscrapers and 3 times taller than those in dt Edmonton, so it would make everybody think that Calgary is much bigger than the capital city.


Calgary looks bigger than Vanvouver as well for the same reason..
 

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I'd agree that having more and taller buildings would certainly be one factor in the perception of a city's "size"/population.

People unfamiliar with the statistics often assume Vancouver is bigger than Seattle after experiencing the two downtowns, even though the Seattle metro is nearly as big as Montreal's. However, the taller building argument doesn't work in this case since Seattle definitely has a taller downtown than Vancouver. One could argue that Vancouver's greater number of (smaller) downtown towers/condos would make it seem bigger (which I'm sure is a significant contributor). Another possible factor is the pedestrian activity at street level. Some friends of mine who moved here a year ago from France said they thought the streets of Seattle were relatively empty when they visited.

Leaving the Vancouver-Seattle comparisons aside, other factors that may make a city feel bigger could include the concentration of streetfront retail in the core, the number of "big name" or luxury stores, the number of tourists (could make the streets appear busier?), perhaps how bad the traffic is, the degree of ethnic diversity, the size of their transit system... and many more I'm sure.
 

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In addition to street life and buildings, if you drive, you know you are in a big city if you can't find anywhere to park, and the parking is expensive. Other factors are the number of cabs on the streets and the extent and use of public transit.
 

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You know you're in the big city when you drive out of downtown and the city keeps on being dense and vibrant, like Montreal or Toronto. Calgary may have a "big city" downtown, but as soon as you live that district, you loose the big city feel completely.
 

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^^ i agree. as much as tall buildings add to the big city feel, they're only part of the equation. Mississauga has lots of tall buildings, but it doesn't have the density or street life to give it that urban feel. even with all of those things, there's a certain buzz or energy or vibe that a city has to have to feel really urban.
 

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Thunder Bay feels like a city of 50,000 people at most. More realistically, probably closer to 25,000. The Intercity commercial area might feel like one in a city of 100,000 people. We have a large mall, but it is still smaller than malls in all other large cities in Northern Ontario, except Timmins.
 

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I made a thread about the same thing a few years back and I found some of the responses quite interesting. But then it got locked for no aparent reason, and I was so mad I almost turned purple. :mad2: http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=295002

Oh well, people suck. I guess I should just accept it and move on. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I find traffic congestion and freeways can make a city feel bigger.
seattle has always seemed bigger than Vancouver even if the city is quieter. When driving into Seattle you are always in 10 lane freeways with huge interchanges while Vancouver has only 4 laners. When you approach Seattle like that you feel like you are really coming into a big city.

I think it also how the citizens themselves. Calgarians always brag about their city, "heart of the new west" and it dreams big while Edmonton seems timid.
I find city's that dream big are the one's everyone else starts to equate with being large.
 

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I find traffic congestion and freeways can make a city feel bigger.
seattle has always seemed bigger than Vancouver even if the city is quieter. When driving into Seattle you are always in 10 lane freeways with huge interchanges while Vancouver has only 4 laners. When you approach Seattle like that you feel like you are really coming into a big city.
Agreed!



I think it also how the citizens themselves. Calgarians always brag about their city, "heart of the new west" and it dreams big while Edmonton seems timid.
The only thing the Edmontonian can brag about is they have a bigger mall than Calgary's.


Oops, we've better be careful not getting into city vs city stuff..
 

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Things that make it for me include:
-Density and height of downtown
-When the city starts to 'sleep' at night. For instance Ottawa and Calgary are dead by 10pm compared to say Montreal or Toronto
-How bad people at are driving/aggressive drivers
-How long the city extends when you drive out of it
-How busy the streets are with pedestrians
 

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I heard Thunder Bay is declining in population. Is that trueÉ
I'd say we're stagnant. The population is growing, but primarily because of the growth in the aboriginal population. (If it keeps up, in 5 years we will have the highest concentration of aboriginal people in a city over 100,000. We're currently 4th.)

You might think the city is bigger when you try to drive through it and it takes a while but if you were plopped downtown without seeing any other parts of the city, you would find it small.
 

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I would say Montreal feels much bigger then what it actually is, we are roughly 3-4 million people but when you are in downtown you easily feel like you’re in an 8-10million pop city.

Is our student life; we have 5 universities in Montreal: UdeM, McGill, Concordia, UQAM, USAQ... and of that, UdeM, Concordia, UQAM and McGill are almost all touching each other. The number of students pouring into the city life in incredible; and our great night life comes from our student pop. We have per capita more students then Boston. We also have quite a vast transportation system that was actually built in the 70s for a population that was projected to be around 7 + million people. All this, can easily make you feel like you are in the dead centre of a very very large metro area; but in fact you are not. We are quite a med size city.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
^ that's a good point. Students definatly liven a place up.
Funny that no Western Canadian city has a major university downtown.
 
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