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Improving the public realm in Little Italy, San Diego

another assignment for my urban design practicum. 

How will you create an active, public realm at the case study site? (see preliminary concept map drawn up after writing this.)

Little Italy is a lively little neighborhood in San Diego. It is relatively pedestrian-oriented compared to other communities in the city, and hosts several street festivals every year. Much can still be improved, however, to create a more active, public realm in the historic neighborhood. I suggest implementing “complete streets”, pedestrianizing a strip of India Street, and displaying more public art to create a more human scale street environment.

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» City to Expedite Two Blocks of Fisherman’s Wharf Redesign for Summer 2013

The work will include adding 15 feet to the sidewalk along the water side of the street, where visitors now must wend their way past crab stands, street vendors, entertainers and outdoor dining tables that take up much of the walkway.

On the other side of Jefferson Street, current plans call for the removal of parking meters, trees and other sidewalk obstacles.

The biggest changes will be to the street itself. The wider sidewalk will mean a narrower roadway, with no street parking and traffic limited to two 11-foot-wide lanes. For the first time in decades, Jefferson will be opened to two-way traffic, dramatically slowing the cars and trucks and making the road safer for cyclists and pedestrians.

Jefferson Street to be upgraded for pedestrians. sfgate, 26.01.12.

“This is a way to show San Francisco as a model for a pedestrian-priority city,” said Walk SF Executive Director Elizabeth Stampe. “I look forward to more projects like this throughout the city to benefit residents as well as visitors.”

sf.streetsblog, 06.02.12.

Gehl’s study notes that the volume of pedestrian traffic to Fisherman’s Wharf is already higher than some other prominent walking cities, including London and Copenhagen. Much like the "ped-lock" in Times Square, in Fisherman’s Wharf there are far more pedestrians than cars, though the city has made greater relative concessions to the latter. While Jefferson Street’s 60-foot width is equally allotted between pedestrians and cars, during peak periods there are 15 times more pedestrians using the space.

Jan Gehl Reflects on San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. 
sfstreetsblog, 09.10.08

» copenhaganize Ljubljana; something extremely mind-boggling

I speed up alongside Janez and asked him what the hell we were cycling on. It looked remarkably like a Copenhagen-style cycle track.

Oh yes, he assured me. It was. Then he told me a splendid story. Back in the late 60s/early 70s a team of urban planners travelled from Ljubljana to Copenhagen to study bicycle infrastructure. This was at the height of the Cold War — although the Iron Curtain as far as Slovenia/Yugoslavia was concerned was more of a dangly bead curtain, but hey. They studied infrastructure and went home and just built it. Copy/paste. Ctrl+C/Ctrl+V. They built 45 kilometres of these perfectly separated cycle tracks and THAT is where Ljubljana was launched onto it’s journey as a bicycle-friendly city. 

It boggles the mind that urban planners in other cities and countries don’t do the same. Copy paste best practice from Denmark or the Netherlands. Save time. Save money. Save fixing the mistakes later. Amazingly, cities are still putting in bike lanes painted on the LEFT side of parked cars, instead of along the curb. As Jan Gehl says, the only function they have is protecting… the parked cars. 

mikael/copenhaganize, 27.09.11.

it fucking gives me a mindfuck, in the negative way.

and physically, i’ll probably get hit by a car trying to park or get doored or something. 

gdmit, there seriously needs to be some hard campaigning for physically separated bike lanes / cycle tracks RIGHT NEXT to the sidewalk, and NOT thin white lines between a row of parked cars and cars going 30mph.

» Jan Gehl: Cities for People

By 1961, people like Jane Jacobs raised her voice about this new situation in her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. But, not much happened for three or four decades. The idea of “Cities for People” became an overlooked and forgotten dimension.

This is the story told by Jan Gehl in his new book. He describes why looking after people is crucial for the quality of cities in the 21st century, how it can be accomplished and how it is actually done by now in more and more projects in more and more cities. The transformations carried out in such cities as Copenhagen, Melbourne, Sydney, Amman and New York will serve as examples of this new people-oriented direction in planning.

to watch later. (1h27m)

got back from PDX yesterday morning.
Nice being back in the Bay. feels like I haven’t been here for a long while.

more updates to come, along with photos.

I be back in San Deezy saturday night.
and then classes start up again the following thursday! :o :/ 

» On your bike: What the world can learn about cycling from Copenhagen


Gehl, now 74, is the closest thing urban planning has to a rock star. Over the past 20 years he has been consulted by cities around the world, from Melbourne, Perth and Christchurch down under, to London, Oslo and New York in this hemisphere, with one simple request: how can our city become more like Copenhagen? Gehl’s message is straightforward: “If we wish for lively, safe, healthy cities we must improve public spaces for pedestrians and cyclists.”

"We take a people-centred approach," says Helle Søholt, Gehl’s partner in the practice. "It is not just about infrastructure but about reconquering our cities," she adds. From Gehl’s decades of research, it is clear that the city environment affects how people behave and feel. There are three things that cities wanting to emulate Copenhagen must do to their infrastructure: improve pedestrian and cycle networks; improve the quality of public space to invite behavioural change; and invite people to spend more time out in public spaces., 18.10.09.

(Source: buildbettercities)

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