In Southern California we suffer greatly from suburbia myopia. This affliction prevents us from understanding what makes urban environments succeed. We all too often attempt to recreate what we value in our suburban neighborhoods without the understanding of what it takes establish and sustain these ideas, designs and initiatives in a dynamic urban setting. We have idealized visions of tranquil urban neighborhoods where we live, work and pursue artistic/academic endeavors that will transform the cultural wasteland post-industrialized American cities.Continue Reading Downtown San Diego Mobility Plan – Vision for the Future or A Well Intentioned Waste of Money?
Civic San Diego
“Downtown is for people” wrote legendary urban planner Jane Jacobs in 1958, in response to building-centric redevelopment that was a byproduct of politics and economics seeking to rebuild cities across America. During her lifetime, she advocated for citizens to decide what end results they wanted, pioneering concepts like “social capital,” and advocating for planners to steer the rebuilding machinery to serve the community.
Yet, even today, downtown San Diego is being built as a collection of projects, with an approval process that consistently favors developers. Continue Reading California lawmakers seek local oversight of downtown planning
With vibrant neighborhoods, gentle terrain, the Big Bay and year round sunshine, Downtown San Diego figures to be on every list of America’s great cycling communities. We have everything… except the bicyclists. Why? It’s not very safe. The street grid favors cars. That’s about to change.Continue Reading Downtown San Diego by Bike – changes coming
Nobody likes uncertainty. Certainly not the developers of a billion dollar mixed-use project that encounters community opposition due to traffic impacts. Nor the public transportation agency that runs into fairy shrimp on the future route of a trolley line. Nor the city planners for multifamily housing around a transit station that face a revolt from their single-family neighbors.Continue Reading In Defense of Uncertainty
An invitation was emailed last week for a ground breaking ceremony to be held on Wednesday Oct. 8, at 10:00 AM for a new Pendry Hotel to replace the parking lot of 5th & J. The invitation was ground breaking in more than one way. This parking lot was the site of one of the most egregious abuses of eminent domain under the California Community Redevelopment Act, and became one of the poster-children of the property rights – anti-eminent domain movement. Many believe it also played a role in Governor Brown’s repeal of the redevelopment law. Continue Reading Parking lot no more at Fifth & J in the Gaslamp Quarter?
A revised Pinnacle project for 11th & Broadway is in design review at Civic San Diego. The main difference seems to be that the developer now proposes to relocate (by 50′) the historically designated Hamilton Apartments rather than demolish them as had been previously approved by the Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC) in 2012. An act of enlightenment and altruism, or an act pragmatism (i.e. to avoid litigation or utilize tax credits)? The Civic San Diego staff report doesn’t say. In any case, preserving historical resources and adaptively reusing existing structures can only be a good thing for downtown’s diversities of architecture, people, and uses. The staff report to the Civic San Diego Real Estate Committee summarizes the project: Continue Reading Revised 11th & Broadway Pinnacle Project in Design Review – San Diego
The smallish gap (75′ wide) between the Andaz Hotel and the Jewelers’ Exchange Building, now being used as a parking lot, may be developed with a Fairfield Inn hotel tower. More precisely, the site is midblock on the east side of 6th Avenue between E & F Streets. The proposal is now in the early design phase.Continue Reading Fairfield Inn to provide “real infill” in Downtown San Diego
The Gaslamp Quarter Association (GQA) board of directors has decided to rid itself of its Land Use Planning Committee (LUP). Reportedly, the decision was motivated by a desire to focus GQA resources on marketing and other business promotion functions. The effective date of this decision remains unclear.
San Diego’s downtown street grid and its small blocks make continuous walking difficult, especially for people trying to go in a straight line. Jogging is even more difficult. The blocks are 200 by 300 feet. Among major cities, only Portland has smaller blocks at 200 by 200 feet. Continue Reading Why Downtown San Diego Pedestrians Stop for Cars More Than Any Other City and What to do About it.
Between rugby games on Saturday April 27, 3013, The Old Mission Bay Athletic Club (OMBAC) held a remembrance for Graham Downes. Continue Reading Graham Downes Remembrance by OMBAC