Two stories from San Fran planning history: sunny plazas and small parcels for small builders. Details?
April 15, 2008 9:53 PM Subscribe
I'm trying to track down two stories about recent urban planning history in San Francisco: 1) making sure plazas stay sunny at lunchtime, 2) making sure small builders could help redevelop a large area. Do you know these stories? Do you know of good online sources for San Francisco urban planning history?
posted by salvia to law & government (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The first story, as I remember it, is that sometime (1970s? 1980s?), a researcher proved that people use San Francisco plazas that were sunny at lunchtime and did not use plazas in the shade. This research led to some guidelines about the height of new buildings to keep plazas sunny at lunchtime (via a citizen ballot campaign? a city law? a city planning document?).
This sounds obvious in retrospect, and is relatively standard planning practice now, but at the time it was fairly novel. Do you remember this happening? Have you seen it written up somewhere? I'd love to track down or confirm the details. My google searches have been confounded by a city law called the Sunshine Ordinance.
Another story I remember is that, as the area around the opera house (?) was being redeveloped, planners divided it into small parcels and would not allow anyone to buy more than two adjacent parcels, to ensure that small local builders did the construction rather than big developers.
If you recognize either of these stories, know any places that they might be written up, or know any other great online sources for San Francisco city planning history and lore, please let me know. Thanks!