This is a great city. The relationship of built space to open space is fantastic despite immense density. The day began with a trip to Chinatown to meet with the Reverend Norman Fong, essentially the director of a large consortia of neighbirhood grassroots planning organizations called the Chinatown Development Commission. He went into great detail about the beginning of the Chinatown alley masterplan drafted with his help by a masters of landscape architecture candidate ten years ago (who now works for the city and I will be meeting with tomorrow) in response to severe neglect of the neighborhoods’ alleys.
My general interpretation of the city is a dominant east west grain, an incredible density to open space relationship. The individual districts and neighbirhoods weld together through infrastructural edges and topographic change.
The alleys thus far are at the most elementary analysis benefitted from their low adjacent building heights and slightly south of east west orientation. Tiny sidewalks line both sides providing a specifically pedestrian environment and a clear demarcation of the difference between the building owners land and the right of way. There seems to be a number of alleys that have the permitting in place to leave furniture in them during the day for restaurant use.
Below is a GPS log of my travels around the city that I am trying to include as part of my study in each city.
My first alley study will take place from August 4- 10 in the alleys of San Francisco. I will be focusing on the work done in the Chinatown neighbirhood through the Chinatown Alley Masterplan. I will also be studying the various public and commercial activities taking place in downtown alleys like Beldem Lane, Maiden Lane, and South Park.
During my stay, I will be meeting with Jasmine Kaw, author of the Chinatown Alley Masterplan, Norman Wong of the Chinatown community Association Center, David Winslow, another architect interested in alleys, and various community members working and spending time in the alleys.
Above is a map outlining alleys of interest that I will study. I would again like to thank AIA Seattle and Perkins+Will for their generous sponsorship of this first city analysis.
If you have recommendations on things to see here, please comment. Look for a lot more activity on here beginning in August as the travels begin.