In the wake of the 2011 demise of California’s 400 redevelopment agencies, cities, developers, and institutions are all struggling to find new ways to fund the construction and maintenance of essential infrastructure and other public buildings and facilities. A San Francisco official recently complained to me that there are 40,000 dwelling units entitled in the city that aren’t being built. He noted a variety of reasons, but a chief one for large developments is the need for massive unfunded up-front investments in infrastructure. This includes projects like Treasure Island, Park Merced, Pier 70, and Hunters Point/Candlestick. [Read more…] about Show me the Money: Financing Public Facilities in the Age of Scarcity
Soccer? Football? Fútbol? While there may not be universal consensus on what to call the sport, I think most can agree that it has become a very popular sport in America. I previously wrote an article called Soccer and Park Planning from my perspective both as a soccer fan and a planner. It seems appropriate now to do a sequel given the continued “soccerization” of land use across cities in the U.S. Essentially, I am referring to the dedication of an increasing amount of land/space for soccer, and the development of additional facilities for both players and fans, including soccer fields and futsal courts at parks as well as soccer-specific stadiums for professional teams. [Read more…] about Soccerization of Land Use
The idea for grand pedestrian routes through downtown San Diego is not new. In 1908, John Nolen famously had vision of a Promenade from Balboa Park to San Diego Bay along what is now Cedar Street. Just imagine how that would be today if it had been implemented 100 years ago, with the beautiful County Administration Building at the bottom of the gentle hill from Park to Bay. Sometimes I think ‘so many opportunities lost’ should be San Diego’s motto.
But, in the fertile minds of planners, this idea hasn’t died. Now, they are being called Green Streets, and six are planned for downtown. [Read more…] about A New Grand Pedestrian Promenade Through Downtown San Diego?
You can look at commercial district revitalization in two ways: The first way, which is the common way, and unfortunately not the best way, is to hatch a scheme to get rid of everything that is under-performing and replace it with something else. Bulldoze it, and start over with a blank slate. This approach to economic revitalization is the cornerstone of many well-intentioned plans — the wholesale replacement of entire existing commercial ecosystems. It is also an approach that values typical male attributes: valuing big, valuing new, valuing the deal. This is truly a shame since these districts often have wonderful businesses, owned by locals, which serve as non-traditional anchors pulling from wide trade areas. [Read more…] about What’s so feminine about good revitalization of a commercial district?
The San Diego Region will struggle in every neighborhood to accommodate the population growth forecasted by SANDAG – as many as a million new residents by 2050. San Diego already has a widely-recognized housing shortage that results in major annual price increases and undermines the city’s climate action plan as commuters go farther afield in search of affordability. The problem will only get worse unless we take bold steps to sensibly accommodate this inevitable growth. [Read more…] about Support the Morena Corridor Specific Plan
These are interesting times in the housing world. The unprecedented housing crisis statewide in California, and locally in San Diego, is forging unprecedented coalitions among affordable housing advocates, community-based organizations, labor unions and environmentalists. These coalitions are galvanizing in response to the demand from their members to put all options on the table to tackle this crisis that is taking a significant toll on all of us. [Read more…] about Labor, Environment, and Social Justice Groups create coalition to facilitate and advocate for affordable housing in San Diego.
Dear Pasadena Planning Commissioners,
We’ve come a long way from Pasadena’s 2004 second dwelling unit ordinance that effectively codified irrational NIMBYism in the Zoning Code. The proposed amendment to the accessory dwelling unit (ADU) ordinance before you at the May 24, 2017 hearing represents a significant improvement; it came about as a result of the relaxed standards for ADUs by way of AB 2299 and SB 1069, as well as the passionate testimony of residents and housing advocates in public hearings and community meetings. However, a few points of contention remain – some of the “poison pills” and class-based inequalities carried over from the original ordinance – while other points merit highlighting for this latest public hearing. I ask you to take these comments under consideration as you evaluate the amended ADU ordinance for recommendation to the Pasadena City Council.
From: The American Institute of Architects San Diego Chapter (AIASD)
The Environment + Design Council (E+DC)
RE: Qualcomm Site Developer Selection Process [Read more…] about AIA-SD and E+DC open letter regarding the Soccer City proposal for the Qualcomm Stadium site
I recently had a client ask me to look at a local park disfigured by freeway construction bifurcating the neighborhood and cutting residents off from this very expensive and valuable amenity. Environmental problems. Social problems. Economic problems. Could anything be done? What are best practices today? [Read more…] about Don’t listen to Mark Twain – freeway caps gaining traction
I recently returned from Asia, where I noticed, as always, numerous people wearing face masks on the street. In Mainland China, I have always assumed this was because of the rampant air pollution in major cities. But I also observed masks in other cities such as Hong Kong and Taipei, where industrial and automotive pollution appears, at least to the unscientific observer, to be much less. And we Californians are also used to seeing some of our Asian neighbors wearing masks in American cities. I have wondered, is this a holdover from life in Beijing or Shenzhen or other cities in Mainland China, where the color of air can be as dull as a grey goose? (And I’m not thinking of vodka.) Or is it something else? [Read more…] about Why we had Urban Renewal