Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sunnyvale CA Population Density - I

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This is part I, See also part II:

In all the discussion about Sunnyvale's many new offices and growing apartment density no one has compared where we are with other cities near and far.  To have an informed discussion, it might be helpful to look at comparably densely populated cities.  I have included projections of Sunnyvale's growth per statements of Sunnyvale's Mayor Jim Griffith and the recent approvals of additional office space.  (C.f., discussion after the graph.)  See table below:
City Land Area in Sq. Miles Population Pop. Density per sq mi
Shanghai (Puxi) [3] 111      11,380,800     102,530
NYC - Manhattan 23        1,619,090       70,518
Paris (City) [2] 41        2,243,833       55,131
Hong Kong Island [4] 31        1,289,500       42,450
New York City 303        8,336,697       27,550
San Francisco 47           825,111       17,620
Tokyo  845      13,185,502       15,604
Mexico City 573        8,851,080       15,446
London  607        8,308,369       13,690
Boston (City) 48           636,479       12,900
Sunnyvale + 100% 22           280,162       12,400
Moscow [1] 970      11,503,501       11,865
Chicago  227        2,714,856       11,864
Washington, D.C. 68           646,449       10,528
Paris (Urban) [2] 1,098      10,413,386         9,484
Sunnyvale + 50% 22           210,122         9,300
Los Angeles 469        3,857,799         8,225
NYC - Staten Island 58           468,730         8,045
Seattle  84           634,535         8,045
Santa Clara 18           116,468         6,300
Sunnyvale (2010) 22           140,081         6,200
Mountain View 12             74,066         6,172
San Jose 177           984,299         5,576
San Diego 325        1,307,402         4,003
Dallas 341        1,241,162         3,518

[1] Moscow recently doubled it's area while only adding 233K people so it's former density is roughly 22K/sq.mi.
[2] For historical reasons, Paris proper is confined to a small area so I added the metropolitan area as more representative.  (Populations and land areas are from Wikipedia.)
[3] Shanghai has a huge area - roughly twice the land area of the counties of San Mateo, Santa Cruz and San Francisco combined.  To compare it to a US city area I look at "Puxi" which is the historic old center.
[4] Hong Kong includes Kowloon and is comparable in area to Santa Cruz County.  Most people thinking of Hong Kong are thinking of Hong Kong Island which is much denser than the entire administrative region.

The current Sunnyvale density of 6,200 per square mile (only counting land area) is comparable to immediately adjacent communities. 

Current Mayor Jim Griffith stated in the League of Women Voter's Candidate forum in October, 2013 that he felt given the amount of office space in Sunnyvale we should have about 200,000 people vs. the current 140,000 (2010 census).  I show that as Sunnyvale + 50% (210,000) in ORANGE.  That would put Sunnyvale's density above LA's and very close to the density of Paris's urban area.

A tremendous amount of office space was approved recently which will be built along Mathilda between the CalTrain tracks and Highways 101-237.  If apts and condos go up to accomodate population growth commensurate with office space, we may be looking at Sunnyvale having a population twice what it currently has,or around 280,000 - shown in RED above.  That would put us well above the density of Chicago, Washington, DC, and just a little below that of Boston and London.

A couple of interesting items:

1.  San Francisco is one of the most densely populated cities in the world.  Denser than Tokyo, Mexico City, London, etc., etc. (not including the water area of any city).

2.  Sunnyvale has almost exactly the land area of Manhattan.  So Sunnyvale could hold 1.6 Million people.  Would that make rents go down - i.e., is Manhattan known for low rents and readily available housing?  And where is our "Central Park"?

Michael Goldman

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