Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Monday, June 14, 2010

Student has a plan to revitalize Oakland MUCH cheaper than the City of Oakland is asking for

This is a photocollage from Mr Jacobson, though San Francisco Chronicle shows it as a ¨render¨, I understand most of my readers know thedifference between a photocollage and a real 3D render.

I will try to be objective. These are the news, San Francisco Chronicle, June 11th 2010, by Chip Johnson:
“The concept of a streetcar connecting Jack London Square with the newer infill development in the Upper Broadway area has been batted about for a few years, but never in this much detail. The city has already collected $300,000 for feasibility studies with little results, while Jacobson's (the student) study reportedly covers all the bases and more.
Chip Johnson reports that Jacobson spent only $987 on his study, which included travel expenses for research trips to Portland and Seattle:
"That's pretty cost-effective, especially when you consider that Oakland city officials paid $300,000 for a streetcar feasibility study in 2005 and applied for an additional $330,000 in feasibility funds this year.
"I could have done it cheaper, but I decided to treat myself to a couple of $12 meals," said Jacobson, almost apologetically."
Stanford University undergraduate Daniel Jacobson is interested in pursuing a career in transportation planning and urban design, and I think it's safe to say he's off to a real good start.
The 20-year-old native of Point Richmond spent nine months of independent study producing a detailed and ingenious plan to revive Oakland's economy: build a 2.5-mile streetcar line that runs through the heart of the city, connecting Piedmont to Jack London Square.
The plan would create up to 24,000 jobs, housing opportunities for an equal number of new residents and breathe life back into downtown Oakland.
Oakland at-large Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who has known about Jacobson's work for a couple of weeks, described it as an "anchor project" with the potential to create a downtown hub that connects newly redeveloped areas of uptown Oakland to the waterfront.”
I don’t have anything against the City of San Francisco or Mr. Jacobson, but I understand he cannot cover all the research himself by almost $1000. What do we need for a general urban analysis (minimum), just to begin with an example:
Analysis of the area and urban/ecological impact.
Preparation and explanation of goals and objectives, in written, meetings and conferences
Preparation of potential projects, and estimated expenditures.
Estimation and documentation (if required) for affordable housing as part of the projects, for low to moderate income households.
Help to remedy the conditions of urban blight, as follow:
Unsafe, deterioted buildings, unhealthy buildings for workers.
Code violations
Defective design or physical construction, inadequate utilities
Analysis of economic viability and use of lots, together with compatibility of uses.
Analysis of lack of parking and substandard design, also related to lots shape and inadequate size.
Analysis of neighborhood commercial facilities and abnormal business vacancies in surrounding areas.
Overcrowding, prevention of non controlled urban sprawl.
Underdesigned landscape and hardscape .
Massive models, renderings, softwares?
And so on.
Because it is not only to design a street car line, but the impact on the zone and what is next, what will be generated after the impact.
I don’t mean the cost of this study has to be over 300000$ but please, do not be so ingenious. Any license, any experience required?  It seems not, just the effort of a journalist to glorify a student against the City needs. A subtle hidden critic, very silly from my point of view. Stanford, a high class society in San Francisco, with a VERY strict city, you don’t need such silly arguments to tell them they are really bureaucrats who need years and spend a lot of money to advance in any project. I think Mr. Chip Johnson has to be more aware of a real  urban analysis next time he writes a note on the subject. And Mr Johnson, submit your project to planners and architects, not politicians who do not understand a thing about a project implications. City council is a group of politicians, they are not professionals of urbanism. Should I laugh or should I cry?
Read the article

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