The unique geography of the San Francisco Bay ensures that there is only one Bay Area. Uniqueness and unity are not, however, the same thing, and planners are now working to convince the Bay Area's own residents and public officials that there is indeed One Bay Area.
The recession has hindered the production of affordable housing in California – even while it has heightened the demand for affordable housing. Yet cities in California are increasingly moving away from affordable housing requirements.
To some, infill development still occupies a quaint niche in the world of city-building. But over the past few years, greenfield development on the urban fringes has gone fallow and a host of economic, social, and regulatory forces have made infill more viable. Attempting to lead that charge is the newly formed California Infill Builders Association, a professional group made up of established and aspiring infill developers who seek mutual support in their effort to bring new development to urban areas.
The core of California redevelopment law tells redevelopment agencies what they can fight against – blight – and it enables them to identify project areas in which to do so. Generally, the law does not, however, indicate what blight should be replaced with. As a result, critics have charged that redevelopment often funds vanity projects such as stadiums at the expense of what they consider more socially beneficial developments.
There have not been a great many surprises in the world of California land use planning and real estate development during 2010. At least that's what I can see now, with the year nearly complete. But in late 2009, I made three predictions for the coming year that turned out to be about half right.
My three predictions were:
• Housing production will increase. This was too easy, and I was right. But not by a lot.
• The SB 375 backlash will start to hit. A number of builders and local government officials jumped off the SB 375 bandwagon this year, but I expected the fallout to reach the general public. It didn't. I got this one half right.
Mike Winn, president of Sacramento-based land development and planning firm Michael Winn Associates, assumes the chairmanship of the California Building Industry Association at a challenging time, to put it mildly. The ravages of the recession and their relationship with the housing market are of course well known, and they have struck at the heart of thousands of developers, contractors, and architects who were deluged with work only a few years ago. As CIBA contemplates a year of dwindling membership and new priorities, CP&DR spoke with Winn about the organization's outlook on a changing California.
In a pair of decisions issued on the same day, the Second District Court of Appeal, Division Four, has addressed the scope of permitted regulation when a mobile home park owner elects to convert a park into a residential subdivision and sell individual spaces. In cases from the City of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, the court ruled that local government may apply state law and local considerations to restrict mobile home park conversions.
When the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard closed, the United States Navy was steaming home from the South China Sea and the best way to get across San Francisco was in an airborne Mustang GT. It was then, 36 years ago, that the prospect of a massive redevelopment for Hunters Point and adjacent Candlestick Point first sprang to life. And it was just last month that a project was finally approved.
Jamboree Road might not become the next Park Avenue, but a new vision plan recently completed by the City of Irvine signals a major shift away from the suburban lifestyle of Orange County. One of the early cities to pioneer the strict segregation of office-park style commercial development from master-planned residential areas, Irvine will be allowing thousands of new residential units into its business core in the coming decades.