When we talk about public spaces, parks and beaches are probably the first things that come to mind for many of us. It is easy to overlook our streets, alleys and sidewalks, which are in reality the most ubiquitous examples of public spaces. Because they are not destinations they become invisible to us. Are there other public spaces that we are equally oblivious to, and are they worth a second look? Can those existing spaces be made more inviting, more functional and safer?
The San Diego Architectural Foundation is hosting a Pecha Kucha on Tuesday June 19th which will examine those questions. Nine different presenters will show twenty slides each, but can only talk about them for twenty seconds. This is a fast tempo way to encourage a lively public discourse about serious quality of life issues.
Randy Van Vleck will make a presentation on bike-friendly/unfriendly built environments. He is enthusiastic about San Diego’s first ever bike corral which has been installed on University Avenue at 5th in Hillcrest. Randy is the Active Transportation Manager for the City Heights Community Development Corporation. Bike riding is his passion.
It is difficult for most of us to imagine how we can change the public realm here in San Diego because so much of the conversation is tied to big capital projects. Doug Manchester serves up a new sports stadium and his big vision for the downtown waterfront daily with the morning news.
“Tactical urbanism” in contrast, is much smaller in scale, much less costly and is an approach which enables communities to remake a city’s recognized public spaces to suit their unique community needs. Bike lanes throughout the city core reflect the level of interest in providing safe passage for the burgeoning number of bike riders among us. The bike corral is yet one more testimony to how we make our neighborhoods more livable.
San Diego’s alleys, streets and parking spots can be turned into places for people. These kinds of projects are relatively low cost and can be implemented incrementally. They reflect a kind of thinking that is the antithesis to “let’s build a stadium!” Perhaps our time has come to do so.
Orchids, Onions & Opportunities, Pecha Kucha Night V. 15: “Making the case for public space.” To show that public discourse about serious quality of life issues can be fun and funny, too!
This Tuesday, June 19, 8:20pm – 10:20pm
Downtown San Diego, 877 G St, 92101
Other important info: No host bar (potentially), $10 donation