New Development Begs the Question: Which Way, San Jose?

Despite its mostly sprawling conditions, San Jose has recently prioritized walkable, dense urban environments. But should the city focus its development downtown or build a connected network of urban neighborhoods?

2 minute read

March 24, 2014, 1:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Urbanists are keeping a close eye on the development prospects of San Jose in the Silicon Valley. The sprawling city has, in recent years, attempted to overcome its suburban development patterns, “[shifting] its strategic focus to increasingly dense, urban development, implementing a downtown high-rise incentive program, fast-tracking new residential towers and adding citywide bike lanes,” writes Lauren Hepler.

New development possibilities outside of Downtown, however, stir controversy among Downtown stakeholders who would like to concentrate development in the core. The controversy was given new fuel at the hint of large-scale development plans in a section of town called Santana Row. In an earlier article, Hepler details the deal creating the consternation: “The owner of the San Jose shopping and socializing hub, Maryland-based Federal Realty Investment Trust, Wednesday said it has entered ‘a long-term’ land lease for the 11.6-acre Century Theatres site located just across Winchester Boulevard from Santana Row.”

The possibilities seem in line with the urban ambitions of the city, “[but] any new development would likely run into old criticisms; Santana Row's location outside of downtown San Jose has always been a sticking point for advocates of more centralized urban development,” explains Halpern in the later article.

Others, however, argue that San Jose can have more than one focal point of development. Even the august observer SPUR argued for the city “to better link and promote areas surrounding downtown, like the Alameda, Japantown, Santana Row and Willow Glen,” in a recent report on San Jose. Hepler quotes the report, which says the city should "reframe the surrounding areas as an asset to downtown, not a threat."

Friday, March 21, 2014 in Silicon Valley Business Journal

Few passengers waiting in subway station with multiple platforms and "North Station" signs in Boston, Massachusetts

Boston Transit Riders Report Safety Concerns

Almost three-quarters of current and former riders report feeling unsafe while using MBTA services.

September 18, 2023 - Hoodline

View of Interstate 205 bridge over Columbia River with Mt. Hood in background.

The Unceremonious Death of a Freeway Expansion Project

The end of an Oregon freeway project didn't get much fanfare, but the victory is worth celebrating.

September 19, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

Wood frame house under construction

Houston Lot Size Reforms Yield Positive Results

New research shows that reducing lot size requirements helped create thousands of new homes.

September 17, 2023 - Pew Trusts

Aerial view of small New Hampshire town with brick buildings and fall foliage.

How Homelessness Differs in Rural America

Although less visible than in major cities, the housing crisis is no less severe in many rural communities, where being unhoused poses unique challenges.

39 minutes ago - The Daily Yonder

Low shot of red painted bus lane on New York City street with blurred bus, pedestrians, and buildings in background.

New York Officials Back Down on Bus Lane Plans

Proposed bus improvements in the Bronx are the latest casualty of opposition.

1 hour ago - StreetsBlog NYC

D.C. Metro Bus

Opinion: How to Save D.C. Transit

Ridership data shows that many D.C. transit users depend on the service, despite a drop in ridership. The system needs changes—and funding—to have a future.

2 hours ago - Greater Greater Washington