Haste makes waste: (Sacramento) urban arenas edition
While this is about baseball, this 2005 blog entry, "Tale of Two (or more) Cities" is still relevant about the urban design principles for stadiums and arenas and quotes from a report, City Baseball Magic--Plain Talk and Uncommon Sense about Cities and Baseball Parks, by architecture professor and stadium architect Philip Bess:
EIGHT IMPERATIVES FOR TRADITIONAL NEIGHBORHOOD BASEBALL PARKS
■ Think always of ballpark design in the context of urban design;
■ Think always in terms of neighborhood rather than zone or district;
■ Let site more than program drive the ballpark design---not exclusively, but more…;
■ Treat the ballpark as a civic building;
■ Make cars adapt to the culture and physical form of the neighborhood instead of the neighborhood adapting to the cars;
■ Maximize the use of pre-existing on- and off-street parking, and distribute rather than concentrate any new required parking;
■ Create development opportunities for a variety of activities in the vicinity of the ballpark, including housing and shopping;
■ Locate non-ballpark specific program functions in buildings located adjacent to rather than within the ballpark itself.
In closing Bess tells us that "it is possible to make new ballparks that are neighborhood friendly and generate equivalent revenues as current industry standard stadia, for about 2/3 the cost."
Blank Slates Are Boring
Logistically speaking, Pac Bell is a nightmare: 12 acres of the shakiest landfill imaginable, shoved between century-old warehouses and a vast blue bay.
And that's a big part of the charm. The quirks add up to a real place that can't be replicated anywhere else.
So when it comes to development, don't plow down everything that exists. Even worse, don't abandon existing communities to start anew out beyond the vigilant eyes of planning commissions and environmental activists. Work with what you have - and make it even better. ...
The More Travel Options the Better
You can drive to the game, sure. But why bother? It's more fun to ride along the Embarcadero on a streetcar full of baseball fans. Or pull up to shore in a ferry from the East Bay. Or walk down Second Street past one of the most interesting collections of buildings in the city. Not only more fun, in fact, but more convenient - after the game, while Muni and BART-bound hordes celebrate at Momo's, you hapless commuters trudge away from the fun to your parking spot somewhere down around Brisbane.
This doesn't mean cars are bad. It just means the other ways of getting around should be at least as easy. Common sense, no?
Giants fans leave Muni headed for Pac Bell Park. Chronicle photo by Mike Kepka
While Bess' list should have mentioned transit more specifically, there is no question that in places like Washington and New York City, the value of transit connections to arenas and stadiums is very high.