We hear a lot about “smart growth” in the press, in blogs, and at planning commissions these days. There are folks who support smart growth projects, and folks who don’t. But of course, no one ever couches their opposition to a smart growth project in terms of favoring “dumb growth,” although that’s what they may really be saying, if they thought about it. What Makes Smart Growth “Smart”
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
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
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
Real walkable neighborhoods[i] are in such demand today that they are creating a real estate frenzy[ii] in older walkable cities like San Francisco, Boston and New York. The reason for the frenzy is simple economics of supply and demand. The demand for Walkable Urbanism[iii] is increasingly outstripping the supply and this situation seems to be getting worse. Desirable Walkable Neighborhoods: How we lost them, why we don’t create new ones, and what we need to do to start.
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
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?