I find it hard to eke out the time to write for UrbDeZine I am so busy with those pesky paying clients. As anyone who looks around or reads the trade press can tell you, the development economy is San Francisco is very good indeed. However, as we all know, capitalism is by its very nature boom and bust, and especially so in Francisco, ever since its founding in the 1849 Gold Rush. And as we also know, the San Francisco electorate is notoriously nervous about changes to the physical fabric of the city. It was this latter phenomena that gave us a serious jolt on November 5. Tale of two cities implodes on 8 Washington
The Occupy Movement is alive and well in the Bay Area. Since April 20 (Earth Day), Occupy Oakland, Occupy Cal, and Occupy SF have had a new neighbor – Occupy the Farm.
These students, professors, neighbors, and activists-turned farmers have set up a small and growing working farm. These 14 acres of University-owned agricultural land sit in the middle of the quiet suburban City of Albany. The UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources uses the land for research, but intends to redevelop the property in 2013. The current proposal includes a Whole Foods and market-rate senior housing. Taking Back the Right Tract
Few ideas turned ubiquitous and entrenched public policy have done more harm to our urban centers than municipal codes requiring minimum off-street parking spaces for all Solving the Parking Problem in our Cities: New remedies for our distressed urban centers
The Apple HQ campus – both the current campus and the proposed new campus (even more so) hark back to the car oriented gated community suburban sprawl and corporate industrial park development of the 60s and 70s, argues L.A. Times Architecture Critic Christopher Hawthorne in Critic’s Notebook: Apple’s new campus will be a retrograde cocoon. Apple Campus Not So Cutting Edge
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. More Density More & Better Jobs; But NIMBIES the Cause of the Exodus?
Many people applaud the foresight of regional governments for addressing climate change and quality of life through strategic planning. Others, including the East Bay Tea Party, are crying foul. Does this group represent another shade of “Not In My Back Yard” (NIMBYism), or an indication that regional planning is poorly understood by many of the people it affects? Strategic regional planning? Others see “Green Tyranny”
Rare habitat, whether man made or nature made, is protected by law in California. With the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), historic resources such as buildings and urban landmarks, are recognized just like natural resources. This is because old buildings are irreplaceable and laws like CEQA, local ordinances, and landmark reviews reinforce this value. Preservation Revisited: Is Balance Needed?
Yesterday, June 15, 2011, the California Legislature passed a budget that diverts essentially all redevelopment agency funding to school districts. The legislation, if signed by Gov. Brown as expected, disbands redevelopment agencies statewide but allows them to reconstitute conditioned on $1.7 billion in property tax contributions to school districts in fiscal year 2011-2012 and $400 million/yr. thereafter. Only the Courts can Save CA Redevelopment Now . . .
Streets have traditionally been used to move people and goods from place to place and as a conduit for utilities. In recent years, everyone from planners and urban designers to engineers, environmentalists and disability advocates has been thinking about how streets can improve the livability of the urban environment. What would streets be like if they truly accommodated people of all ages and abilities? reThinking America’s Streets
Large-scale waterfront renewal is one of the most dynamic areas of urban design today. New York City just unveiled their first city wide plan for the waterfront in two decades and it’s goal is to reconnect New Yorkers with their waterfront. New Orleans is still struggling with Katrina’s water management policies, bogged down in politics, economics, and regional planning. And, of course, Japan’s recent tsunami is a wake up call for every waterfront city. THE NEW WATERFRONT: SAN FRANCISCO’S AMERICAN CUP CATALYST