The City of San Diego at 1.3 million and counting according to 2014 data, and notably the 8th largest city in the country, is unique at best and honestly still a small town. Planners, politicians and policy makers to name just a few, are in constant pursuit of definition for this city and our region. Ironically, this pursuit has been going on for the past 100 years with the first Panama-California Exposition in 1915.Continue Reading What is San Diego’s identity?
Urban landscape architects, civil engineers and city planners face a number of sustainability challenges with no single or simple solution. Among the issues common to many metropolitan areas:
- Preparing for climate changes and/or intense precipitation events that cause excess storm water runoff;
- Replacing outdated architectural designs that introduce contaminates into the water system; and,
- Partially or completely losing natural flora and fauna.
In recent years, the concept of green infrastructure (GI) has grown in popularity and importance for sustainable outdoor design, architecture and construction. Continue Reading Add More City Parks For A Sustainable Future
When asked about what I do for a living by new friends and neighbors, I usually start with “urban designer,” then drift towards “city planner,” and usually end with, “sort of like architecture…” Or, during one those late Sunday evening angst moments while contemplating just what in the heck am I doing on this earth, I like to tell myself that I’m a maker of great places. Then Sunday’s infinite theoretical possibilities and dreams butt up against Monday’s unforgiving reality*, and I’m back to selling traditional neighborhood developments, form-based codes, consecutive-day charrettes, and mixed-use, walkable, urbanism to anyone willing to listen, which I enjoy immensely.Continue Reading I’m a PlaceMaker. . .
Earlier this summer, I published an article on these pages remarking on the growing scholarship on informality in the U.S. housing market.  My article was intended as an opening salvo to planning academics who, as I see it, fail to understand American informal housing from the implementation side of planning—the enforcement and regulatory standpoint. Continue Reading Response to Comments: The Informal Housing Debate Remains Open
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
Summer is the season for symposia, conferences, workshops, and the like.
The mind and body rebel a bit at being kept indoors, especially on fine days, and especially at those events ostensibly about the environment, but held largely apart from, or in spite of it. Attendees fight to stay awake, praying for that next coffee break near overlooked, empty bathrooms, huddled in highly air-conditioned rooms, optimally suited for viewing digital projections, eating lunches out of boxes which might or might not be recycled, depending upon how lucky one might be.
But, occasionally, these brief periods of sensory deprivation are worth it.
Even more rarely, they might very well be essential.
MIT Sea Grant’s Climate Change Symposium: Sustaining Coastal Cities, held June 16-18, 2014 in Cambridge, MA, was just one of these occasions.Continue Reading ‘Adapt, We May’ – The Chelsea Way: Regional Resilience and America’s Coastal Cities
Is working with planning consultants one of your key responsibilities at the office? Do you want to know how to work more effectively with consultants? Continue Reading Book Review: Working with Planning Consultants
Today, planning scholars are examining informality in the United States housing market with the gusto once reserved for the Central Place Theory and other mainstays of planners’ education.  This surge of research is encouraging. Until recently, the subject of informal dwelling units in the U.S. housing market remained glaringly understudied. The developing scholarship builds on pioneering – though scant – research on “shadow markets”  and “accessory apartments”  in American single-family housing.Continue Reading Converting Garages into a Dissertation: A Conversation with Jacob Wegmann
Last night was the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s (SDAF) first “Context” event, which featured a discussion between Darlene Shiley, Dr. Irwin Jacobs, and Robert Wellington Quigley about the process that brought the new Central Library to fruition, and its implication for future civic projects in San Diego.Continue Reading SDAF First ‘Context’ Event, with Jacobs, Shiley, and Quigley, Enjoyable and Enlightening
During the summer of 2013, my husband and I took a very uncharacteristic vacation to a spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. I say “uncharacteristic” because a spa in the desert at the height of summer would not normally be at the top of our list of vacation destinations.Continue Reading A Wall, No Matter How Pretty, Is Still…a Wall