The Chron discovers the lack of waterfront planning

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Is this the waterfront we want?

So the Chronicle's John King (who's generally not a bad architecture critic and really seems to understand city planning) finally discovered something that some of us have been talking about for months: There's no comprehensive planning on the waterfront. Instead, it's all developer-driven projects that make little sense as part of a well-thought-out future for the area.

Once again, we are hampered by the Chron's paywall, so unless you subscribe you can't read the whole story. But here's the gist of it:

Instead of mapping out how the next frontiers of growth should be filled in, Mayor Ed Lee's administration is letting developers frame the debate. They select a site, cook up a proposal and then see what will fly.

He notes that there are good touches in the new Warriors proposal, although:

[N]obody envisioned an 18,000-seat arena on a pier until the Warriors called City Hall. The team loved the glamour of the camera-friendly location. The Lee administration saw a chance to fill a void left open when the America's Cup organizers shifted gears. .... the whole effort is aimed at soothing objections to what the team owners want. It isn't connected to a pre-existing vision of what this part of the city could be.

There have been successful community-based planning efforts in other parts of town. But the waterfront -- which is unique and immensely valuable -- is nothing but a collection of projects that developers want. And Lee is going along:

Today, instead, we have a mayor's office that wants to make things happen. Progress is measured in terms of construction jobs, housing units and new buildings that might lure the likes of Google up north. Planners on the city and state payrolls are put in the reaction mode, massaging the details the best they can.If this continues, some of what gets built could be terrific.Some of it could also be an alien presence in the city around it. And that's not a legacy that any mayor should want.

It's all too reminiscent of Dot-Com Boom I, when Willie Brown was in charge and city planning was driven entirely by campaign money. Highrise office buidlings in the residential Mission? No problem -- just wave the dollars in front of the mayor. Not saying Lee is that corrupt -- but he's so excited about building stuff that he can't bother to take a step back and ask: Is this the city we really want?

 

Comments

you wouldn't be able to resist crowing about it here.

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2013 @ 11:04 am

Kinda like you wouldn't be able to resist a snarky comment about here?! The trolls on this page haven't the slightest speck of self-awareness.

Posted by Dawg on May. 14, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

is a "troll"?

How enlightened, flexible and tolerant of you.

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2013 @ 4:08 pm

When will you begin to write the pieces others, opinion-leaders - react to? Right now you're basically the reverse echo of what ever the Chron writes - as much as your mock them. It's gotta hurt.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on May. 13, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

Ha, high rises in the mission? Jesus christ, is it possible that 5-6 stories is considered a high rise in this city? The mission should contain low to middle income housing in the form of new 20 story apartment buildings, its done in Brooklyn, why not here? But yes, let's all complain about the rising costs of housing and the pushing out of our creative class due to rent costs, but then do nothing about it. Just madness to me

Posted by Sam on May. 13, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

Even though soon only rich people will be able to enjoy it.

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2013 @ 4:03 pm

We are a quaint village by the sea with "progressive" values. 5 stories is a highrise!

Posted by Maldita fondada on May. 14, 2013 @ 6:34 am

wants to come and live in SF, when you find that you cannot afford to because the NIMBY locals refuse to build high - something that is very well known to be the only way to keep housing affordable.

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

Fuck brooklin

Posted by pete moss on May. 14, 2013 @ 7:31 am

Has the Gaurdian investigated and detailed, in an article, the contractors to politicians money flow?
Including the returns the contrators get on thier politician investments at the exspence of citizens of SF?

what are the chances that such an investigation shows the top 1%ers using their government to screw the 99%ers?

follow the money

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2013 @ 10:09 am

contributions EXCEP to curry influence.

That's why unions do it, right?

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2013 @ 10:43 am

We are afraid of planning here, after World War 2 we tried to create a blue print on the how, where and places for growth. We tried to plan for transit both public transit and private cars, see freeways. We had a pretty good ferry service before the car, but taking forever to plan a rebirth. We planned for San Francisco which at one was the job center. Guess what Silicon Valley changed that, it has taken so many years to accept that fact and some of you still don't even get it.

We have to have farms within 20 miles of San Francisco but yet we lose farms faster then ever. Far off housing, public transit and freeways can't be build fast enough and even it we could. We don't have the money. A bike won't solve the problem.

Posted by Garrett on May. 14, 2013 @ 2:59 pm

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