Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

Landscapes, natural and built, are the city’s connective tissue; they define neighborhoods, and are to be preserved as the public realm. – John Nolen, 1927

Being surround by natural beauty, our unique landscape gifts us with the opportunity to create a space like no other.

Imagine the possibilities we can fashion…

Sun drenched open spaces with room for summer concerts, soccer games, fall football.

Tree-lined promenades filled with sounds of birds and splashes of colorful flora, encircled by park benches for neighborly gatherings. Grassy medians giving neighbors a place to acquaint their pets and the neighborhood.

Commemorative plazas with whimsical fountains, or an urban canyon surrounded by cascading water.

Tranquil reflective areas with shady tree clusters and changes in elevation. Here we might quietly become engrossed in a contemplative book, or deepen mind-body awareness through meditation or yoga.

Residential units with stoops and porches facing an internal park. Public greens for greeting neighbors and passers-by.

Artistic transit corridors marked by innovative street art embedded in wide sidewalks and building walls, or in water bubbling into clever sitting areas.

Green beaches throughout the city, where grass meets water; perfect for pulling off your shoes and enjoying your bare feet sliding through the velvety smooth grass.

Corridor streets becoming metropolitan walkways with distinctive sidewalk patterns, shimmering lights and water, walkable art treating our mind and senses.

Natural features like earthquake faults becoming public canyon pathways wrapping around Downtown, encircling the community.

Imagine connecting Downtown’s open spaces with meandering paths and urban trails enabling us to connect with our city’s feel and create a special sense of place all our own.

The possibilities are limitless.

What if each developer believed in this vision and designed a portion of their projects for citywide welcoming and socializing? What if developers make it a priority to create visual connections between their landscapes and the neighborhood?

With inspiration and planning, can we construct a unique artistic and community style for each neighborhood, as well as tie them all together to form a cohesive Downtown community?

I contemplate… Can we have distinguished yet united neighborhoods?

The streets of each neighborhood need areas of vegetation, street trees, spots for color and texture and shade. The remembrances of water and the bay need to be punctuated along the path. The buildings need to embrace the street with porches, galleries, stoops and windows that provide verity to the sidewalk edge. Mark Manske (Treo@Kettner)

The San Diego lifestyle is all about the outdoors. The most successful architecture blurs the lines between inside and outside. Petar Perisic (Park @ 10th Ave)

To make 'community' you have to make public places. We've done a good job at building the individual private places - it's now time for tree lined streets, active plazas and beautiful parks to link us together. Marty Poirier (Kettner Row) - July 17, 2003

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