Today, San Diego is failing to accommodate our growth demands. Due to NIMBY (people who oppose any new building with a “Not In My Backyard” attitude) pressure and fear, only downtown towers and greenfield sprawl sites are far enough away from them to secure any development permits. And these aren’t our best places to allow for enough attainable or affordable housing. Big, heavy downtown towers are very expensive. But so are sprawling subdivision roads, fire stations, community centers, parks, and new housing construction costs. Those subdivisions are far away from jobs, necessitate a car for every daily need. Suburbia encumbers agriculture lands and are at great wildfire risk. But, that’s mostly what we have available to us to build the housing we need to accommodate for the next 1.3 million people by 2050 (SANDAG).Continue Reading It’s Time to Take the Keys Away from Granddad
Due to today’s housing crisis, it seems west coast cities are taking on Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY) opposition that has stymied new projects and developments via polarizing and protracted public processes. These ‘no-growth’ individuals group together out of an innate fear of change to stop planned development intended to benefit their larger community. In my hometown of San Diego, these polarizing projects range from bicycle lanes, stadiums, house rentals, and to building more homes to address our housing crisis. Their innate ‘fear of change’ response to anything new creates an ethical challenge for every major city trying to build housing or transit.Continue Reading How to Program Social Equity into Planning Sustainable Communities
It’s natural to be unsettled by change, but residents of San Francisco take resistance to change to absurd levels. In 1958, Gavin Elster—the shipping magnate played by Tom Helmore in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo—expressed San Francisco’s deeply engrained ambivalence to change well: “The things that spell San Francisco to me are disappearing fast.” A recent letter to the editor in the San Francisco Chronicle shared the typical modern lament: “Has San Francisco’s economic growth truly made it a more interesting place to live? Or just a place with more shiny but soulless places to spend money?”Continue Reading San Francisco: The Status Quo City
Spoiler Alert. Despite being one of the worst tales of NIMBYism I have been involved in, it all turned out as it should. The project proponent, the official project opponent, and the Planning Commission all ended up doing the right thing. 420 desperately needed housing units are being built according to the City General Plan, the Neighborhood Plan, and the existing zoning, at one of the most underutilized transit accessible locations west of Chicago.Continue Reading SPOILER ALERT: 420 Housing Units Under Construction
Trust in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is defined as the “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective.” Sadly, on numerous occasions, the City of Santa Monica and some their residents have proven that they cannot be trusted. Continue Reading You Cannot Trust Santa Monica
These days, a lot of projects are crashing through the gates of community plans and dashing existing neighborhood character under the banners of smart growth or transit oriented development. Continue Reading 10 Rules for Smarter Smart Growth
In an essay recently published in the New York Times, Economist correspondent and author Ryan Avent argues that Denser Cities mean more and better paying jobs. The opinion piece is entitled One Path to Better Jobs: More Density in Cities, and is adapted from his Kindle “Single,” The Gated City. Continue Reading More Density More & Better Jobs; But NIMBIES the Cause of the Exodus?