As California lays the high-speed rail groundwork, SPUR continues its series on international precedents. While France built high-speed rail two decades after Japan and within a different state apparatus, the system had remarkably similar results: growth and concentration.
Geary Boulevard runs almost the entire width of San Francisco, from Market to the ocean. The name of the street hides a lot of history — John White Geary was the first mayor of San Francisco post-statehood, and he would go on to govern Kansas during its "Bloody Kansas" period in the buildup to the Civil War. But that's a matter for another post though — this post is about forgotten transportation.
5.5 Designers' wallpaper maze [Photo Credit: Switched on Set]
The Dogpatch may already be on everyone's radar as a neighborhood on the rise (see last year's New York Times "Surfacing" feature), but touring the area's artisan manufacturers lends a much more tangible element to all the hype. This former shipbuilding center has attracted a new wave of craftsmen, producing everything from messenger bags to chocolates to modern backyard cabanas.
Colleen McHugh, native San Franciscan and resident SPUR photographer, will blog about a different walk through San Francisco each week of the summer, reflecting on what it means to live as a pedestrian in this city and some of the ways we can improve upon that experience. There are so many things a walk in San Francisco can be — from a protest to an errand to an active use of public space.
[Image: The New York Times]
Where will I live?
How will I get around if I can no longer walk or drive?
Fritz Haeg's Animal Estates Snag Tower [Photo Credit: Monique Deschaines/FOR-SITE Foundation]
Last week's Parks and Parklets tour led a group of enthusiastic urbanists to three of the city's parklets — miniature parks built on roadway and parking spaces reclaimed for the pedestrian realm.
[Photo Credit: flickr user Sam Williams]
Determined to see changes occur in their neighborhoods despite tight city budgets, many DIY Urbanists are taking matters into their own hands. They are rolling up their sleeves to make improvements to their built environment by planning, designing, and implementing projects. Because DIY Urbanism projects are conceived by individuals and implemented on tight budgets, innovation and creativity are key ingredients in any DIY project.
Golden Gate Bridge, circa 1933 [Photo via Historypin user megscannell]
Policy wonks across the state will be thrilled to discover the Public Policy Institute of California's recently released CA2025 report, a "briefing kit" covering California's most important long-term policy issues.
Signing petitions for the Fix Muni Now campaign. [Photo Credit: Colleen McHugh]
This Week: JAPAN
For evident selfish reasons, I like to tout the Golden State as the breeding ground for innovation. And as California attempts to build the first high-speed rail (HSR) network in the country, it's tempting to consider ourselves warriors heralding in a new day for transportation. Really, though, HSR has been successful for decades in Asia and Europe. Nations from South Africa to South Korea are doing precisely what California hopes to achieve.
Crime and unemployment: two things cities consistently battle with, but rarely like to talk about. While it may seem like these two issues are linked, with crime rising out of necessity, GOOD's recent infographic shows that a positive correlation may not exist. Working with Part and Parcel, a small design firm in New York, GOOD's Transparency graphic confronts this issue in a very direct manner.
[Photo Credit: Colleen McHugh]
Alleys serve many purposes and people, often all in the same space. They provide back access so that service vehicles and garages don't conflict with transit and pedestrians, and so that main frontages can be preserved for shops and lobbies. They provide affordable and quirky commercial spaces for small businesses.
Data. The mere mention of the word can overwhelm, baffle, and cause general disorientation. In its raw state, or as displayed in traditional forms such as pie charts and bar graphs, data has a tendency to elicit these negative reactions. This confusion occurs when the reader is unable to decipher what story is being told, or why they are being told it.