In the wake of the 2011 demise of California’s 400 redevelopment agencies, cities, developers, and institutions are all struggling to find new ways to fund the construction and maintenance of essential infrastructure and other public buildings and facilities. A San Francisco official recently complained to me that there are 40,000 dwelling units entitled in the city that aren’t being built. He noted a variety of reasons, but a chief one for large developments is the need for massive unfunded up-front investments in infrastructure. This includes projects like Treasure Island, Park Merced, Pier 70, and Hunters Point/Candlestick. Show me the Money: Financing Public Facilities in the Age of Scarcity
I recently had a client ask me to look at a local park disfigured by freeway construction bifurcating the neighborhood and cutting residents off from this very expensive and valuable amenity. Environmental problems. Social problems. Economic problems. Could anything be done? What are best practices today? Don’t listen to Mark Twain – freeway caps gaining traction
This article is adapted from an illustrated talk given by Jim Chappell at the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s June 4, 2015 “Context Vol. 2: What’s the Big Idea?” Forum on the Upper East Village, aka I.D.E.A. District and Makers Quarter.
The world is filled with good ideas. San Diego has a lot of great architects and urban thinkers. For several years, a group of these dedicated urbanists have been developing and enriching a plan for the Upper East Village. I.D.E.A. = Innovation Design Education Arts. As the next step in the process to implement the District, the Foundation held “What’s the Big Idea?” to explore next steps. Setting the I.D.E.A. District Apart
An increasingly large percentage of the population qualifies as having one or more disabilities. Many everyday features of our built environments are access barriers for people with certain disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has dramatically improved access since its effective date in 1992, especially in new buildings. California had access construction standards even before the enactment of the ADA. The combination of the ADA and pre-existing California access has resulted in a unique statutory framework that has resulted in an explosion of lawsuits. These lawsuits often target older buildings which were built before the code section forming the basis of the lawsuit. Kim Blackseth, California’s foremost expert on disabled access construction standards, explains how and when a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) can help. (forward by W. Adams) Do you need a CASp in California?
Governor Jerry Brown missed a great opportunity to stimulate an important part of California’s economy last month. Assembly Bill 1999, a state tax credit bill for preservation projects, was vetoed by his office on the grounds that the federal rehabilitation tax credit was enough. AB 1999 – A Missed Opportunity
Ever since the removal of the double-decker Embarcadero Freeway after the Loma Prieta earthquake and its replacement with a graceful boulevard, high quality development has been replacing empty piers and parking lots along San Francisco’s northern waterfront.
Think the Ferry Building, Pier 1, Piers 1½, 3 and 5 (Coqueta, La Mar Cebicheria, Hard Water), the Exploratorium, and the new Cruise Terminal to mention a few. Fisherman’s Wharf has a going Community Benefits District, a brilliant streetscape plan, and some quality new buildings housing such uses as the flagship Boudin bakery/restaurant and a new Madame Tussauds.
For years, it has all fallen apart when one hits Van Ness. But a brilliant new plan for the non-profit Fort Mason Center is about to change all that. Completing San Francisco’s Northern Waterfront
The street I live on is only two blocks long, lined with Victorian houses. It’s in about the geographic center of San Francisco, There are street trees and front yards (unusual for San Francisco) and in the spring it smells of Jasmine. The neighbors are a mix of old-timers and gentry, gay and not, with lots of kids. Across the street, three households have joined their backyards so the kids have more play space. The Street I Live On
As architects and urban designers, we all devote considerable thought and effort into designing public and semi-public spaces that will be a joy to use, by client and public alike. Going back to William Holly Whyte’s The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces in 1980, Managing our Public Spaces
San Francisco – After all the projects proposed over the years for San Francisco’s waterfront, one would think city authorities would be asking more questions about the latest proposal for dilapidated Piers 30-32.
Located at the base of the Bay Bridge, with spectacular Bay views, the crumbling 13-acre piers owned by the Port of San Francisco are now used for parking. Waterfront Warriors? What?