With San Diego's population booming, the theory of "smart growth" is being talked about with increased frequency. Here the Daily Transcript explores how elements of smart growth are being used throughout the county, reviews the "City of Villages" strategic plan and finds out how smart growth is financed in specific cases. A look at these topics and more is examined by area of the county:
WASHINGTON - The American Planning Association formally adopted a Smart Growth Policy Guide at the 2002 National Planning Conference in Chicago.
Public discussion of smart growth has centered on higher density housing and better transportation. Also integral to the success of smart-growth development, however, is walkability. Essentially, walkability means the extent to which people enjoy walking in a certain area. Consider the enjoyment factor of walking around Balboa Park as opposed to walking along Mira Mesa Boulevard, for instance.
Twenty-year growth strategies are like the horizon of a flat earth; they suggest that there's nothing more beyond. But just as sure as the world is round, our region will continue to grow.
The San Diego region faces pressing challenges over the next several decades. As our region continues to grow, we face a serious housing shortage and skyrocketing home prices, our roadways are congested, and our open space is threatened by continued sprawl into rural areas. We can meet these challenges head-on by taking bold steps to reverse the negative effects of sprawl and create livable, sustainable communities.
The planning concept of "smart growth" promotes infill housing development as an antidote to sprawl and calls for increasing density near transit services and urban centers. In San Diego, residents of older neighborhoods have grown increasingly wary of density, which is now synonymous with the replacement of quaint California bungalows with non-descript, cookie-cutter apartment buildings.
The concept of smart growth has rapidly become one of the most critical emerging issues of our time. It serves as the premise to debate how we will grow and shape our futures. It touches the choices that we as a society hold dear, where we live, work and play, the education of children, the protection of the environment, our mobility, indeed the essential health and prosperity necessary to sustain our quality of life.
As the redevelopment of San Diego's former naval training center draws ever closer to becoming reality, the developer is taking pains to ensure that the new community, Liberty Station, becomes a model of smart growth in the region.
Imagine San Diego 20 years from now. It's a San Diego where traffic flows smoothly on the freeways, and many people take advantage of an expanded network of trolleys, buses and shuttles. There is a healthy housing market, with plenty of affordable homes, condos and apartments. Local roads, water systems and parks have grown to keep pace with a growing population. Neighborhoods from Barrio Logan to Rancho Bernardo feature functional mixes of stores, schools and housing -- all linked by clean, well-lit sidewalks that make it more convenient for people to walk.
Of all the neighborhoods in San Diego, none has perhaps been more impacted by growth than the College Area, home to San Diego State University. As the oldest and largest higher education institution in San Diego, the university has seen its student population grow from 83 to more than 34,000 since it was founded in 1897.
As the city works with the San Diego community to refine the comprehensive City of Villages strategy, redevelopment surfaces as one of the major tools to help make this vision a reality.