Neighborhoods First (and Goal)
Blackson shares his thoughts on how to realize Mayor Bob Filner's "Neighborhood's First" mandate, which has broad application in other cities:
"San Diego’s new Mayor, Bob Filner, was elected on a 'Neighborhoods First' campaign, as it was apparent that downtown and a select group of out-of-town developers had the past administration’s undivided attention. Today, the older, hip, cool, streetcar neighborhoods are experiencing development pressure for new shops and housing. A progressive democrat in a historically republican town, our Mayor has a clear mandate to transform our neighborhoods from their current fear-of-change state to real placemaking possibilities … in conformance with local community character, of course."
Formerly a University of Texas football player, Blackson can't resist laying out his 7 points in the form of a touchdown (written on Super Bowl Sunday) to make neighborhoods come first:
- The Vision Thing
- Coordinate Neighborhood Regulations
- Optional Overlay Zoning
- Decision Districts
- 21st Century Innovations
- Political Will
"As expected, politics continue to be the biggest place-changer. The above points are only plausible with a genuine understanding that our city must maintain the political wherewithal to be competitive for talented minds — who can just as easily choose Denver, Dallas, Portland or Seattle. Unfortunately, as an urban designer I can do little but watch from the stands upon local politicians who will hopefully rise to the level of election year rhetoric and follow through with their best efforts. Building political will is a full-time job. Thank goodness mine is urban design."