Height-For-Space Strategy Works, Mostly

San Francisco and other cities have historically given developers the incentive to build taller for providing a proportional amount of public space. This article looks at what has worked as well as how it has backfired.
February 4, 2009, 8am PST | Judy Chang
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"Architecturally, I have issues with San Francisco's newest plaza. The rectangle at 555 Mission St. in the Financial District is a bit too poised, too stiff, happier to be photographed than put to use.

But when I'm reminded of how far we've come, the quibbles give way to appreciative relief - and a renewed appreciation of farsighted planning.

That long-range view kicked in last week when I tagged along on a downtown walking tour focused not on office towers but on the low-down spaces those towers have spawned. Where, ideally, you'd want to eat lunch or kick back."

"But the brisk stroll through nearly two dozen corporate clearings also took us down Market Street, past the decidedly mixed spaces created in the 1960s and '70s, when developers were allowed to add height to their towers in return for creating open space at the base, and there were no rules as to what those spaces should provide passers-by in the way of amenities."

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Published on Tuesday, February 3, 2009 in San Francisco Chronicle
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