While I was a graduate student at UC Berkeley studying architecture, ideas were always buzzing around; at design charrettes, guest lectures and of course, at the dining table. International House, where I lived, was home to residents from eighty countries enrolled in various academic programs. Our insatiable thirst for learning extended to coffee hours and dinner, with enough food for thought to go around. Celebrating Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas
San Francisco Bay Area
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
The common wisdom is that all the new development, or at least all the interesting development in San Francisco, is South of Market. This of course makes news because it represents a sea change from the prior 100+ years when “south of the slot” was the industrial, working class (or worse) sector of the city. Where grows San Francisco?
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
On a short walk in my neighborhood this morning, I must have passed hundreds of poles: Light poles, utility poles, sign poles.
They do their jobs of holding up stuff but I noticed that they can do a lot more.
Here in just a few blocks, some upgrades:
[co-authored by Lilly Jacobson]
Streets are not just conduits for moving cars and people; they have a profound impact on the neighborhoods they traverse and connect. Streets often change how people perceive their environment: they can make people feel safe or deter them from walking in a certain area; they can encourage social interaction or create deserted sidewalks; they can spur economic activity or stall neighborhood growth. Street design is not merely about aesthetics and modes of mobility—streets have the potential to affect the health and life outcomes of everyone who uses them. Streets as Conduits of Social Justice
CPF’s annual conference was quite memorable this year. As always, great sessions were presented, but this year, it was held in one of California’s most breathtaking settings, Asilomar Conference Center designed by Julia Morgan in Monterey. Not only a gathering of beautiful buildings, the Center also overlooks a spectacular Pacific Ocean. California Preservation Conference 2014
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
You can tell a lot about a place by its layout. How the streets are arranged tells the history of a city. Stories of slow growth of cramped medieval forts to booming modern cities. Or from farmland or prairie to grid.
There are the medieval European cities with their high walls and twisty narrow streets. You can tell they just grew organically, the buildings huddled together, defended by the ramparts. They were designed by fear.
The study “Nonprofits at Risk: The Space and Occupancy Crisis Facing San Francisco’s Nonprofit Community,” by CompassPoint Nonprofit Services found that 58% of sites rented by nonprofits are at risk of displacement within the next 15 months. 65% of nonprofits that don’t provide direct services are thinking of leaving the City. From the study, this quote: “This lack of price sensitivity on the part of internet entrepreneurs has had a predictable result. Commercial rents in San Francisco have reached staggering heights.”