CPF’s annual conference was quite memorable this year. As always, great sessions were presented, but this year, it was held in one of California’s most breathtaking settings, Asilomar Conference Center designed by Julia Morgan in Monterey. Not only a gathering of beautiful buildings, the Center also overlooks a spectacular Pacific Ocean.Continue Reading California Preservation Conference 2014
San Francisco Bay Area
The street I live on is only two blocks long, lined with Victorian houses. It’s in about the geographic center of San Francisco, There are street trees and front yards (unusual for San Francisco) and in the spring it smells of Jasmine. The neighbors are a mix of old-timers and gentry, gay and not, with lots of kids. Across the street, three households have joined their backyards so the kids have more play space.Continue Reading The Street I Live On
What images come to mind when you think of Oakland, California? It seems that many people tend to only associate this Bay Area city with crime, police misconduct (like what happened with the Occupy Oakland demonstrations), a struggling economy, and out of control Raiders fans. Continue Reading The Image of Oakland
As part of the Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.: A Vision for the American West symposium, I had the opportunity to tour a few of the parks operated and maintained by the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD). Continue Reading Tour of East Bay Regional Parks
You can tell a lot about a place by its layout. How the streets are arranged tells the history of a city. Stories of slow growth of cramped medieval forts to booming modern cities. Or from farmland or prairie to grid.
There are the medieval European cities with their high walls and twisty narrow streets. You can tell they just grew organically, the buildings huddled together, defended by the ramparts. They were designed by fear.
The study “Nonprofits at Risk: The Space and Occupancy Crisis Facing San Francisco’s Nonprofit Community,” by CompassPoint Nonprofit Services found that 58% of sites rented by nonprofits are at risk of displacement within the next 15 months. 65% of nonprofits that don’t provide direct services are thinking of leaving the City. From the study, this quote: “This lack of price sensitivity on the part of internet entrepreneurs has had a predictable result. Commercial rents in San Francisco have reached staggering heights.”
Real walkable neighborhoods[i] are in such demand today that they are creating a real estate frenzy[ii] in older walkable cities like San Francisco, Boston and New York. The reason for the frenzy is simple economics of supply and demand. The demand for Walkable Urbanism[iii] is increasingly outstripping the supply and this situation seems to be getting worse.Continue Reading Desirable Walkable Neighborhoods: How we lost them, why we don’t create new ones, and what we need to do to start.
Many of us, at least architects and urbanists in the Bay Area, are familiar with Here Today: San Francisco’s Architectural Heritage, the venerable 1968 compendium of San Francisco buildings built before 1920.
The roster of fine books on historic architecture has recently been joined by a new volume, Here Tomorrow: preserving Architecture, Culture, and California’s Golden Dreams, by veteran San Francisco Business Times columnist J. K. Dineen. Continue Reading Here Tomorrow… telling our stories
As architects and urban designers, we all devote considerable thought and effort into designing public and semi-public spaces that will be a joy to use, by client and public alike. Going back to William Holly Whyte’s The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces in 1980, Continue Reading Managing our Public Spaces
I find it hard to eke out the time to write for UrbDeZine I am so busy with those pesky paying clients. As anyone who looks around or reads the trade press can tell you, the development economy is San Francisco is very good indeed. However, as we all know, capitalism is by its very nature boom and bust, and especially so in Francisco, ever since its founding in the 1849 Gold Rush. And as we also know, the San Francisco electorate is notoriously nervous about changes to the physical fabric of the city. It was this latter phenomena that gave us a serious jolt on November 5.Continue Reading Tale of two cities implodes on 8 Washington