Mike the Mad Biologist riffs on Bostonography's population density maps and ponders how much of Beacon Hill, the Back Bay and the North End approach Manhattan levels of density without anything approaching Manhattan-style building heights:
Boston has two things going for it that most other cities don't have: narrow streets and sidewalks. Not a lot of space is wasted in residential areas. Sidewalks at most are about nine to ten feet wide, and skinnier in other places (e.g., Beacon Hill). The streets typically are very narrow–about ten Mad Biologist paces (my pace length is about average)–if you factor in parked cars, add about four paces. Not only does this making walking around easier, but the real estate is used to house people, not air or cars. That allows much higher densities (although it makes drivers crazy at times) without skyscrapers.
Ed question: Would that also apply in Somerville, still one of the most densely packed cities in America?