Pop-Up Park Shifts Planning Attitudes in San Diego

The short-term Quartyard pop-up park in San Diego's East Village reflects the changing attitudes of the oft conservative San Diego Planning Department.

2 minute read

November 22, 2014, 9:00 AM PST

By Maayan Dembo @DJ_Mayjahn

As discussed on CityLab by Roxana Popescu, the new Quartyard pop-up park stemmed from an architectural graduate student thesis in 2013 by David Loewenstein, Adam Jubela, Jason Grauten, and Philip Auchettl. Noticing an empty lot catty corner from their school's campus, they envisioned transforming it to a temporary hang-out space from upcycled shipping containers.

To make this dream come to fruition in the fall of 2013 "the team—now called RAD Lab—raised $60,000 through Kickstarter. That money was useful, but proving to the city and investors that San Diegans were excited about the idea was even more valuable, Loewenstein said; the project has since received another $450,000 from a few investors."

As the city has plans to use the empty lot to build a mixed-use development including affordable housing, the project had a quick build, "going from the seed of an idea to groundbreaking in little more than a year, and fittingly, has a short life expectancy. Its lease is for two years, extendable yearly after that."

Bill Fulton, former San Diego planning director, noted how in San Diego there is "a very conservative culture, which is reflected as a cautious approach on the part of the city... I mean culturally conservative, in the sense that... the people that live in San Diego and the power structure are often not at the cutting edge of national trends."

Friday, November 21, 2014 in CityLab

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