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Let's Talk About Density, Baby/Let's Talk About You and Me (and Thousands of Other People)

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That's the unofficial theme song for Monday’s SPUR Lunchtime Forum, where architects from three firms in Portland, Seattle and San Diego presented their respective visions of how density and beautiful, functional architecture can co-exist (anticipated complaints from NIMBYS notwithstanding). While previous SPUR forums on the topic have discussed the issues of higher density from a top-down, planning-oriented perspective, here the architects provided examples of individual buildings they have built that fulfill the goal of cramming 100,000 people per square mile, a goal the architects said we will need to achieve in the Bay Area if the population continues to grow at the current rate. Just for reference, on a city-wide basis, San Francisco's density is currently around 17,100 people per square mile.
Despite being from far-flung corners of the West Coast, any of the projects would have fit well in the San Francisco urban fabric both stylistically and because they contain many elements that residents here want: ample outdoor space, affordable housing units, and a lively, pedestrian-scale streetscape at ground level. The only thing that would prevent these projects from being built in San Francisco was the lack of bay windows. While SPUR hasn’t published the presentations from Monday’s forum yet, for more information on the density issue, please see David Baker, Craig Hartman, and Dan Solomon’s presentations from from the first forum on the subject. - Michael Pearce
· Picturing West Coast density [SPUR]
· What would 100,000 people per square mile look like? [SPUR]
[photo via anna vignet]