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
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
We think of “sustainability” as a new idea, a concept underlying our hoped-for environmental stewardship of the planet, but as Poor Richard first voiced a related concept at the beginning of our national existence, it really isn’t a new idea at all. I’m not going to use this opportunity to go tree-hugger on you (although it’s not a role foreign to me), but I do want to highlight how an unused asset of the City’s could be turned into a brilliant community treasure. Sadly, this is an asset the City was prepared to waste. [Read more…] about Innovative Community Bike Center coming to San Diego in . . .
Parking was not among the conditions Jane Jacobs said are required to create exuberant diversity in a city’s streets and districts. She did say: “There must be a sufficiently dense concentration of people…” And: “The district must serve more than one primary function; preferably more than two. These must insure the presence of people who go outdoors on different schedules and are in the place for different purposes, but who are able to use many facilities in common.” [Read more…] about Why Parking Still Matters in America’s Downtowns
Over the years, I have encountered many of the challenges surrounding the rising urbanization of some major US cities. This experience has provided me with the understanding that a few common factors are essential in the evolution of these increasingly dense city centers. In my view, the best strategy for success in these areas is based upon 1) identifying the place, 2) establishing an independent financial base, 3) using these funds to promote the place through an entrepreneurial channel – a district management corporation in the form of a public benefit non-profit organization (501(c)(3)). [Read more…] about Placemaking: the next phase of true district management
After months of discussion and several revisions, the Downtown Mobility Plan goes to the San Diego City Council on June 21st. The plan aims to transform the street grid to an integrated urban network for all including motorists, transit riders, cyclists and pedestrians. Downtown’s workforce and residential populations are projected to more than double within twenty years and numerous buildings are currently under construction. [Read more…] about Downtown San Diego Mobility Plan – to Council June 21st
At first glance, the recent East Village Convadium proposal has many appealing qualities: it is an attractive, modern complex with many interesting features. However, the Charger’s owners hope to capitalize on the recent trend in California and use the ballot initiative process to “expedite” California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review, and for good reason. The flash and hype of the ballot initiative covers many significant, unanswered questions about potential cost overruns and environmental impacts that may cost San Diego taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. [Read more…] about A Football Stadium in East Village? Not so Fast
Downtown San Diego’s Horton Plaza Park expansion opened last week . . . more or less. Construction is not quite complete. San Diego’s downtown (at least post-WWII downtown) has thus far lacked a vibrant town square like San Francisco’s Union Square or similar successful plazas in other major cities. This major expansion of the small historic plaza is intended to fill the bill. The design team for Horton Plaza Park included Walker Macy | Landscape Architecture, the same firm that designed Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland. Features include cafe-style tables and chairs, amphitheater-style steps / bleachers, and pillars / obelisks that double as lighting for events. There’s a Starbucks, Sloan’s Ice Cream, Arts Tix Kiosk, and a yet to be named vendor all built into the park. [Read more…] about Is San Diego’s Horton Plaza Park Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square 2.0?
A sweeping ballot initiative is being circulated in San Diego. It’s called The Citizens’ Plan for the Responsible Management of Major Tourism and Entertainment Resources, or simply the “Citizens Plan” ballot initiative. The initiative is a joint effort by public interest attorney Cory Briggs and real estate developer John Moores. There have been a number of opinions issued in the media lately about whether the initiative is legal and if it is, whether it requires 2/3 voter passage or merely a majority. However, these opinions did little to explain the legal issues.?? This article will seek to provide greater insight into the first issue – or at least one aspect of it. A later article will examine the voter percentage required for passage.