Friday, October 22, 2010

Downtown Plan

The ballot includes an up-or-down vote on the city's retort to the community's reaction to its disregard for the Downtown Plan process. Months of work, and the result displeased the Mayor and most of the Council. The argument in favor cites the proximity to transit and the need for higher density in the region. The argument against cites the often-thwarted will of the people. The illustration to the right is the city-sponsored Oxford Housing and Brower Center project, designed by Solomon ETC, an architecture firm in San Francisco that I admire. I like it, but its development was expensive. Note that it's considerably lower than what's proposed for downtown's future redevelopment. That proposal is lower than the Mayor wanted initially, but not by much. The community's take on Downtown sought a more modest density. It wasn't like Measure P, which went too far in the other direction. Just to say it, there's a divide these days between cities like Berkeley and San Francisco and their communities. The officials want to develop at an "urban scale," which means a quantum leap in height. People react by trying to stop it, but there's a middle ground. I believe that's what the original Downtown Plan committee found - a density that acknowledges the existing fabric, but increases the height selectively. Nuance doesn't seem to carry much weight with the city, but it's the heart of urbanity.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, as it turns out nuance is not pragmatic in this day and age; you are more correct then you wished to be, by far.

    People are too stupid to know what they will like in Berkeley. Let's get that museum and theater built! I say institute a firm authoritarian hand in these matters and appoint a philosopher king to make the decisions and to hell with the mob!

    (Either that or raise the populace to the level of philosophers en masse.)

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