The photo above shows how the historic Cabrillo Bridge was conceptualized to serve as the grand and ceremonial entrance to Balboa Park. The bridge was designed by Bertram Goodhue for Panama California Exposition of 1915. It has fulfilled its concept admirably. However, a bypass bridge will soon mar the bridge in such as way that defeats the intended effect of the design, i.e., the lone elegant arched viaduct entrance into the park.Continue Reading What San Diego will soon mar for a parking garage
Aloof institution. Catalyst for Change. Environmental poster child. Architectural theme park. Government-initiated economic development. Digital new world. Boondoggle.
The recently-opened Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island is all of the above, or perhaps none of them. How it develops and if it succeeds are questions to be answered in the future. Today, however, it exemplifies multiple trends in American architecture and urban/economic development.Continue Reading Cornell Tech moves into its Roosevelt Island Home
This is a DRAFT of a book about building in highway airspace, i.e., a freeway cap, also known as a highway cap, or deck, or lid. The book also applies to other freeway right of way projects like parks under freeway viaducts. Please help me finish by commenting suggestions and corrections on the individual chapters. Thank you! (you may see your name in the final product).Continue Reading Book: How to Build a Freeway Cap
(Originally published on the David Prowler Blog on May 16, 2018)
It’s in a bourgeois neighborhood that’s well off the tourist path. It’s small; I’m guessing about 200’ by 500’, ringed by a hodgepodge of stores and dotted with street furniture. Nothing fancy at all, really modest. [Read More]
Articles and studies from newspapers to academic journals warn the public against the havoc and devastation caused by rent control ordinances. However, it is not tenants and community based organizations that are funding these articles and studies, it is real estate investors, developers, and corporate apartment owner associations. For decades, tenants and community based organizations across California have worked tirelessly to enact rent control ordinances to decrease displacement and protect the rights and dignity of working families, the elderly, and long-term tenants. Tenant advocates continue to direct their limited resources to local initiatives and ballot measures, not to fund studies, articles, and lawsuits.Continue Reading Demystifying Rent Control
I wear a blue County jacket and dark pants, denim or Dickies, when I’m out doing zoning enforcement inspections. This isn’t a regulation uniform. I don’t have to wear it. I’m an urban planner, not a cop.Continue Reading An Urban Planner on the Ground in South Central Los Angeles
We think of “sustainability” as a new idea, a concept underlying our hoped-for environmental stewardship of the planet, but as Poor Richard first voiced a related concept at the beginning of our national existence, it really isn’t a new idea at all. I’m not going to use this opportunity to go tree-hugger on you (although it’s not a role foreign to me), but I do want to highlight how an unused asset of the City’s could be turned into a brilliant community treasure. Sadly, this is an asset the City was prepared to waste. Continue Reading Innovative Community Bike Center coming to San Diego in . . .
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.
New York City’s new math: 100 years, $4.5 billion, 3 subway stops.
New Year’s Day 2017 saw the ribbon cut on the first phase of the Second Avenue subway, the locally-mythic train touted to alleviate the overburdened east side subways since the late 1920s. A Great Depression, a world war and a City bankruptcy interfered with its execution. After nearly 10 years of actual construction and neighborhood misery, three airy, clean and art-filled stations opened for business.Continue Reading Take a Train: The Q – NYC’s new subway extension is airy and full of art
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?Continue Reading Why we had Urban Renewal