Too often, Howard Blackson hears that "if we just get the ground floor right" then all will be fine. While obviously a good start, and one that addresses the most immediate of pedestrian interests, Blackson argues that this line of thinking ultimately allows, even incentivizes, buildings poorly designed above the first floor, thereby marginalizing the complete urban experience.
Referencing his hometown of San Diego, Blackson stresses that:
The interior of the block is not throw-away space. It's another vital realm where urbanism occurs and, traditionally, has contained spaces where people live, play, work and relax. While we may never achieve a New Orleans' mid-block courtyard pattern, our regulations should foster a greater diversity of building types - not just towers and full-block buildings, but also the more organic perimeter or liner block buildings with courts and stepbacks interior to the block.
Thanks to Scott Doyon