This title is a broad and a difficult question but it is one that creatives are forced to face every time they take on a new project. There is always excitement and fear when the canvas is blank and the fewer imposed constraints there are the more challenging it is. My colleague Donna Barry and I, both Design Directors in our respective Gensler offices, were invited to present and moderate a workshop that we entitled ‘Bring It’ at a recent regional firm conference. [Read more…] about Bring It! How to bring your best design to every project every time?
The presence of an urban research university has been conventionally regarded as the foundation for economic growth of any large city. It is “the heart of the story” for the fortune of successful high-tech regions. It is a “key actor” in revitalization of urban communities. It is “one of the most powerful engines” that drive innovation in the knowledge economy. And so on. With such a vital role, an institution of higher learning is not just cultivating scholarship and skills in the next generation of the workforce, but nurturing the city itself through intellectual, economic and cultural osmosis. [Read more…] about University expansions create opportunity for community benefits
Achieving Housing Choice and Mobility in the Voucher Program: Recommendations for the Administration is in the latest edition of the American Bar Association Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development Law (Vol. 27-1).
The article recognizes the Housing Choice Voucher Program as vital to helping homeless individuals and low-income families’ overcome barriers to housing stability, and a powerful tool to deconcentrate poverty and decrease racial segregation in our nation’s communities. While acknowledging the program’s potential to improve individual lives, families, and communities, the article discusses the program’s failure to meet its housing and community goals: [Read more…] about San Diego in National Spotlight: City’s Failure to Prohibit Section 8 Discrimination Hurts Homeless Veterans
Today, San Diego is failing to accommodate our growth demands. Due to NIMBY (people who oppose any new building with a “Not In My Backyard” attitude) pressure and fear, only downtown towers and greenfield sprawl sites are far enough away from them to secure any development permits. And these aren’t our best places to allow for enough attainable or affordable housing. Big, heavy downtown towers are very expensive. But so are sprawling subdivision roads, fire stations, community centers, parks, and new housing construction costs. Those subdivisions are far away from jobs, necessitate a car for every daily need. Suburbia encumbers agriculture lands and are at great wildfire risk. But, that’s mostly what we have available to us to build the housing we need to accommodate for the next 1.3 million people by 2050 (SANDAG). [Read more…] about It’s Time to Take the Keys Away from Granddad
San Diego does not have a homeless problem, it has a housing bed inventory problem in comparison to other large cities. The region’s homeless as a percentage of the total population is 12th in the nation, and the five-year trend is relatively flat when including both sheltered and unsheltered homeless. Yet, despite the public outcry, there are still about five thousand unsheltered homeless sleeping on our streets, sidewalks, canyons, riverbeds, parks and open spaces. [Read more…] about ‘America’s Finest City’ is Worst in Nation in Housing the Homeless
Building Industry Association (BIA) CEO Borre Winckel and Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 (C-3, a non-profit that advocates sustainable urban planning in San Diego) President Kathleen Ferrier recently debated the Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside (SOS) ballot initiative. The initiative was described by East County Magazine as follows:
If passed, the measure would require voter approval of amendments to the San Diego County General Plan that significantly increase density on parcels in the unincorporated county now designated for farming, open space, and wildlife uses.
The email exchange contained a passionate and informative conversation with directly conflicting ideas about how the measure might impact development, housing, and the environment in San Diego County.
With its current leasing notice, the McMillin Company has every intention of gutting the North Chapel at Liberty Station (San Diego) and replace it with a restaurant. As an artist in the (slowly-disappearing) NTC Foundation’s Arts District at Liberty Station, I am leading an effort among my fellow artists to stop this outrage from coming to fruition.
Articles and studies from newspapers to academic journals warn the public against the havoc and devastation caused by rent control ordinances. However, it is not tenants and community based organizations that are funding these articles and studies, it is real estate investors, developers, and corporate apartment owner associations. For decades, tenants and community based organizations across California have worked tirelessly to enact rent control ordinances to decrease displacement and protect the rights and dignity of working families, the elderly, and long-term tenants. Tenant advocates continue to direct their limited resources to local initiatives and ballot measures, not to fund studies, articles, and lawsuits. [Read more…] about Demystifying Rent Control
There is not enough affordable housing being built in the city of San Diego. Lenders and banks are not lending as much, apartment owners are not caring, and builders are not building as much, since it is not as remunerative to build for income-constrained households. This worsens the disconnect between the economics of the housing stock and the demographics of the families it is meant to serve, as shown by a recent Harvard University study on apartments. In San Diego, less than ten percent of the rental housing stock is affordable. With new federal tax policies, things could get worst. [Read more…] about How to make housing more affordable in San Diego
Almost half a century ago I was in a new high school and held in my hand a mimeographed sheet inviting all and sundry to apply to be exchange students with the American Field Service. I thought about it all night long, then applied with an essay about how I really wanted to go to Japan and learn Japanese, as I was so taken with Japanese culture. To my surprise, I was selected as the school’s exchange student, and sent to Denmark. [Read more…] about Cycling through the Danish Land of Enchantment