San Francisco


The Model City

Publication:
Date: 
October 12, 2011
The history of city models and their role in city making.

San Francisco sat there for years, broken up and packaged into 17 wooden crates, hardly labeled and nearly forgotten. But when the warehouse that held those crates was sold in 2009, the city was rediscovered. All of its streets and neighborhoods and homes were there, delicately and intricately replicated in a relief model of the entire city measuring 37 by 41 feet and dating back to the New Deal era.

When, not if: how do San Franciscans live with the threat of the next quake?

Publication:
Date: 
March 27, 2014
Many tech firms have opened up in SoMa, a 'liquefaction' zone where a tremor could turn the soil to liquid

The earthquake question comes up in two out of every three transactions that Eileen Bermingham handles. Demand for San Francisco property has hit new heights in recent years, forcing buyers to offer far above the asking price – and things don’t appear to be slowing, even in the usually sluggish early months of the year. “It’s been particularly hectic,” confirms Bermingham, an agent with Zephyr Real Estate, which sells houses all over the city.

But the earthquake question is always in the background.

The Future of Intelligent Parking

Publication:
Date: 
March 23, 2012
Technology is changing the ways cities and drivers park their cars.

They're in the ground all over the country, in parking lots and city streets. They're small and unobtrusive little guys, like small discs flat on the ground or the reflector bumps like you might drive over when crossing lanes. These are simple devices with a straightforward task, and they're about to have a huge impact on the way drivers in U.S. cities park, just by knowing when cars are parked over them and when they're not.

John King on Watching a City Change Through its Buildings

Publication:
Date: 
November 9, 2011
The San Francisco Chronicle's urban design critic takes a close look at the city's most notable buildings.

Buildings are arguably the most important ingredients of a city. But they alone don’t make a city what it is. History, context, and most importantly the changes brought by time are what shapes a city. Its buildings, though, reflect these changes.

Tech and the City

Publication:
Date: 
August 1, 2011
Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne aims to make New York the “world’s top-ranked digital city” but she and her counterparts across the U.S. are still trying to figure out what that means.

No matter where you live, from Los Angeles to Boston, you can walk into a public meeting, sign your name on a piece of paper, and be given the opportunity to stand at a podium in front of your elected officials or civil servants and speak your mind for two or three minutes. This is called a public comment, and it’s allowed at pretty much any public meeting in any city in America. It’s the kind of open government that the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the Declaration of Independence. It’s also totally old school.

S.F. Yacht Race Inspires Changes on Dry Land

Date: 
March 24, 2011
In two years the world’s biggest event on water will take place in San Francisco. But, like many other mega-sporting events, the 34th America’s Cup is expected to have no small impact on land.

With an expected draw of hundreds of thousands of spectators, San Francisco is already contemplating plans to capitalize on the crowds and prestige of the America’s Cup. While it’s no Olympics or World Cup in terms of scope, the event does present the city with an opportunity to bring about long-term changes. San Francisco was named as the host of the event on December 31, and its plans – both short- and long-term – are already unfolding.

[Subscription required to read the entire article.]

From Parking to "Parklets"

Publication:
Date: 
July 1, 2010
An innovative project in San Francisco that converts parking spaces into small parks and public spaces.
Image: From Parking to 'Parklets' article - Nate Berg - Planning Magazine - July 2010

[Note: This article is not available online.]

The Planetizen News Brief - 12/24/09

Publication:
Date: 
December 24, 2009
Transit dips in 2008, Buffalo preserves by neglect, and San Francisco expands its borders -- all on this week's Planetizen News Brief, produced for Smart City Radio.

Full Transcript (Audio available as .mp3 at Planetizen)

The Planetizen News Brief - 12/17/09

Publication:
Date: 
December 17, 2009
A Harvard expansion stalls out, carpoolers get tolled in San Francisco, and Philadelphia has officially grown in population -- all on this week's Planetizen News Brief, produced for Smart City Radio.

Full Transcript (Audio available as .mp3 at Planetizen):

Improving On The Ambiguity of Privately Owned Public Spaces

Publication:
Date: 
February 12, 2009
Cities are filled with spaces intended for the public -- but many of them are clearly owned and operated by the private sector. Though cities bend rules to get these spaces built, the public benefit is often outweighed by the cost. The challenge now is to make them better.

The difference between what is public and what is private is usually pretty clear. A city park is available to everyone. Your neighbor's living room is not. But the line dividing public and private can blur, and when it does, spaces get ambiguous, and questions arise. Who can use them? What are they for? Who's in charge of them?