The fit of urban waterfront interventions: matters of size, money and function. By: Pedro Pinto


Credit: Kondolf & Yang 2008

A poorly designed riverfront intervention typically fails on several levels: a bad program, with the wrong budget and timing, no concern for local needs or context, results in an unattractive and costly intervention, with reduced to no social or environmental benefit. Urban riverfront interventions may be improved in the future if, when deciding what to do with our urban riverfronts, we learn from past mistakes. This may be as important (or perhaps more) as observing what worked. The successful element in another city may not be repeatable, as the context and opportunity was very specific to that one city. Yet, recognizing what didn’t work elsewhere, the causes for failure, may provide us with the clues we need on how to improve our own projects. Knowing how to avoid oversizing, overspending, inadequately planning, failing to attract diverse publics and uses or fail to provide ecological benefits will, paradoxically, provide us with an excellent framework on how to create a better, successful, intervention. To get it right, we should acknowledge the local context, the morphology of the river valley, the time and budget a set of solutions entail, and select uses and functions that work for a diverse crowd and provide multiple benefits, including good flood management performance and the restoration of the rivers’ natural connectivity.


Sabarmati Riverfront Development: An Exercise in ‘High-Modernism’? By: Krishna Balakrishnan


Source: Presentation by SRFDCL & HCP Design at India Urban Conference 2011

Using the case of the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Project (SRDP) in Ahmedabad, this paper illustrates how the conceptual category of the ‘riverfront’, as seen in London and Paris in particular, has shaped the imagination of what an urban river ‘should’ be in India. The paper examines the lengths to which the project goes to fit a monsoon fed river-scape into this predefined conceptual category of a ‘riverfront’. The paper argues that the SRDP can be understood as a manifestation of ‘high-modernism’ as discussed by James Scott—both in terms of the visual order it strives to create and in terms of the reliance on simplistic conceptions of the ecology and hydrology of rivers. The paper concludes with a discussion on the need for urban and landscape design professionals to understand specificities of local ecosystems and societies and to use design as a process of going beyond simplistic spatial and conceptual categories.


Mission District Streetscape Plan


As per the class workshop, write your overall assessment of Mission District Streetscape Plan. Use the questions presented in class for guidance but feel free to expand on them or use a different outline. Make sure to add the name of your group members in the blog text. Your submission shouldn’t exceed 5 pages and not less than 4. Feel free to use other sources to support your argument.

The Fisherman’s Wharf Public Realm Plan


As per the class workshop, write your overall assessment of The Fisherman’s Wharf Public Realm Plan. Use the questions presented in class for guidance but feel free to expand on them or use a different outline. Make sure to add the name of your group members in the blog text. Your submission shouldn’t exceed 5 pages and not less than 4. Feel free to use other sources to support your argument.

Urbanization & Deforestation


Rapid urbanization and increased deforestation are phenomena that causes threat to the environment. What are the main three causes of rapid urbanization and how can we prevent (or reduce) deforestation to protect such valuable assets for future generations. Give examples from the US or different parts of the world to support your argument.

The Role of the Landscape Architect


Between the “Declaration of Concern” in 1966 and the “New Landscape Architecture Foundation Declaration” in 2016, lots have happened to the discipline. In the light of this transformation for the discipline, and in conjunction with the article titled “The Landscape Architects are the Urban Designers of tomorrow” describe, in 1 page, the current role of the Landscape architect and how do you see this transformation. Then in half a page summarize what do you agree or disagree in the contemporary role of the landscape architect.


Streets as Important Civic & Public Space


How a high quality public realm can improve community vitality. The appearance and condition of our public realm can inspire, invigorate, frighten or deflate us. Transportation infrastructure that is designed to be aesthetically rich, and offer a variety of social and community experiences, can foster civic engagement, encourage social connection, and strengthen community identity.

re:Street Reclaiming the Public ROW: West Capitol Ave


West Capitol Avenue is a major east-west, 3.5-mile long arterial and commercial spine running through West Sacramento. The Urban Design and Streetscape Master Plan focused on creating a Complete Street to serve as the heart of the community. This involved redesign of the public-private interface, signage and wayfinding, traffic and circulation, infrastructure, financing strategies and overall streetscape standards. Sustainable infrastructure plans were developed to assure underground utilities like sewer, water and storm drainage are adequate for new development. The extensive community participation program included a series of stakeholder interviews and community workshops. Since Phase One improvements, the city has seen investment by a hotelier, bank and small businesses and the street has welcomed a college, community center, an updated library and remodeled transit centers.

From Competition to Practice: The Case Study of UCLA’S Green Hall


From conception to implementation, architectural designs change over time, but the process of that change often goes unseen. SOM Design Director Javier Arizmendi will reveal how and why designs may evolve, in a lecture that will highlight the case study of Geffen Hall—UCLA’s new teaching and learning facility for the David Geffen School of Medicine. He will show how SOM’s initial winning competition design was transformed through the multidisciplinary design firm’s collaborative process together with the university and their stakeholders.

Landscape & Hospitality Design


Reflections on the relationship between Landscape and the profession of hospitality architecture

By the following two designers:

SPEAKER(1): Ryan Doone – Associate Designer at HKS

Ryan is a California native and has been with HKS Hill-Glazier Studio since he returned home to Palo Alto in 2011. Prior to that, he earned professional design degrees from Harvard and MIT. His primary focus is on conceptual and schematic design for new and current hospitality projects with an emphasis on beach resorts, and his interest in the intersection between landscape and architecture make for elevated client satisfaction and guest experiences.

SPEAKER(2): Ryan O’Rourke –Designer at HKS

Ryan is a California native and has been with the HKS Hospitality Group since he moved across the bay to San Francisco in 2014. Prior to that, he earned a design degree in architecture from Cal. His primary focus is to assist in the full service delivery of a construction set. He also leads a team of individuals in the creation + implementation of programs with the goal to promote cultural diversity + inclusion throughout the studio. These programs are critical to the development of an effective + efficient workforce.

Neighborhood Design on Steep Slopes


The talk is about Potrero HOPE SF Public Housing Master Plan and the Kirkham Project in San Francisco.  The Potrero HOPE SF Master Plan is a transformative project that will take recreate a 38 site with 606 public housing units that has been separated from the rest of the city  socially, economically and physically into a truly mixed-income and mixed-use community reintegrated into the urban fabric with up to 1,700 new homes including 606 public housing replacement units, additional affordable housing and market-rate development.  The Kirkham Project will transform an aging 86 unit, 6 acre property into a vibrant new community with up to 400 new units.  Both of these projects required a complete transformation of the existing conditions to create a place that is unique, vibrant and integrated into their urban environments and the neighborhoods around them.