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Op-Ed Says Walkable Urbanism Is More Important Than Density

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Last month's hearing to wrap up the FiDi's twisty cylinder ended in shambles, but later this week 555 Washington makes another go of it. In anticipation of the event, the venerable Architect's Newspaper has run an op-ed not so much against the tower itself, but against the weak "trail of logic" that's brought some, including SPUR, to the point of supporting it. Sure, smart growth is great, says the author, but it's "time to get nuanced about density." Referencing the northern edge of the FiDi, he finds a diverse mix of residents and businesses: "You want urbanity? It starts here, yet the area clearly thrives because of its proximity to the financial district. Shanghai, facing the same dilemma, has opted to preserve similar areas like the Puxi district, recognizing—as Singapore did not—that they are irreplaceable."

He adds, "adding density at the edge puts pressure on the lower-density neighborhoods that adjoin it." What's more important than density, in his vision, is urbanism, or more specifically "walkable urbanism" — something that a 400-foot residential tower may not be the best at. And then there's the issue of spot zoning — the Planning Department, he writes, should end the case-by-case trials, and "take a comprehensive look at how the central business district should grow."
· Comment> Urbanity, Not Just Density [Arch Paper]
· Commissions Fail to Decide Either Way on the FiDi Twisty Cylinder
[Curbed SF]
· Twisty Cylinder Goes to Its Epic Showdown at City Hall Tonight [Curbed SF]