City of San Diego Urban Quarter Expansion

Topic: Infrastructure
Words: 2161 Pages: 7


The planner of this project assumes the main responsibilities for fulfilling zoning requirements, access to communications, water, and sanitation. It is equally important to implement the project within the framework of the requirements for transportation, health and safety, housing demand, environmental protection, and further growth and extension of the neighborhood. Therefore, within the framework of the Urban Quarter Expansion in San Diego, California, this proposal suggests developing an analog of the Makers Quarter to create more residential areas with opportunities for cultural development and meeting all the requirements of modern architecture.

This project proposes to move away from the standard formats of multi-story buildings or cottage complexes, and create a micro-district that would be aesthetically attractive and convenient for life. Therefore, the responsibility of the planner is to implement the project within the original plan, with the fulfillment of all the requirements listed above. The planner will also act as a coordinator between all stakeholders, promising to reach compromises and parity between the interests of the parties. Productive interaction with representatives of local communities, construction companies, government agencies, and the media will allow the project to be implemented taking into account the interests of everyone concerned.

The planner suggests taking the concept developed by John Portman and Associates, and implementing it within the projects like Makers Quarter, Brick Phase One (Two Marriott Hotels), and Hilton San Diego Bayfront (“Makers quarter,” 2021). The peculiarity of these projects is that they strive to organically fit into the city skyline, and their facades include harmonious references to the historical city center and historically proven traditional layouts, but use more modern forms and materials. The planner proposes to re-conceptualize the use of materials such as steel and glass, which are prevalent in hotel-related projects, and use more ‘warm’ materials such as brick and local rocks for building facades and grounds.

Role of the Planning Commission

The Municipal Planning Commission has a critical role to play as it approves the project, verifying that it meets the listed requirements. The Municipal Planning Commission of San Diego will issue a building permit if it considers that the project meets the city zoning requirement and is being implemented in the best interests of the city. The Planning Commission is responsible for ensuring that the project complies with the general rules, laws, and requirements, and therefore embodies the legal support of the project. The planner intends to provide plans detailing the objectives of the project concerning housing, transportation, communication structures, health and safety, environmental protection, and further extension and growth.

Getting the Project Approved

The planning process and getting the project approved will feature several critical steps. These are: identifying the zoning regulations, consulting with planning staff, submitting an application at the public counter, planning staff reviewing the project application, the decision-maker (Planning Commission) issuing a determination, and applying for the building permit (“Planning processes,” 2021). These stages should be discussed in more detail since each step should be made following particular procedures that are developed to bring order and clarity to the planning and construction initiatives.

First, the land use process entails the need to define zoning rules. San Diego’s zoning information is publicly available. Some areas do not require planning approval, but the proposed project does not fall into this category. Therefore, after determining the relevance of the designation of the zone and the goals of the project, the planner intends to apply to the Construction Safety Department for a building permit. The second step requires consulting with the planning staff, or the people who work at the Planning Commission (“Planning processes,” 2021). The planner intends to meet with staff to have the commission staff help the developer team determine the required land-use rights. The planner then submits a request and this request can subsequently be processed by the Fast Track Section if it meets the approval requirements.

The third step is applying to the public counter, after which the project is numbered and sent further for further review. The next, fourth step entails the planning staff reviewing the project application. Employees check the submission of the necessary documents, revise plans and other documents attached to the application, and conduct an environmental impact assessment. Based on the revision results, the employee issues recommendations for approving the project. During the fifth step, the decision-maker issues a determination of whether the project should be approved. At this stage, the project is directly approved or rejected, and if the planner does not agree with the negative decision, he can then file an appeal, which will allow the decision to be reconsidered before a final decision is made. The sixth step features applying for the building permission, which again happens at the public counter. At this stage, the planner obtains permission to implement the project conditions and start construction.

Laws and Regulations the Planner Expects to Encounter

When coordinating the construction with the city planning authorities, the planner needs to make sure that his project complies with the requirements of the current legislation to confirm the application. The regulations regard the infrastructure, zoning, subdivision regulations, and comprehensive planning (Boyer, 2017). The infrastructure requires compliance with the standards for connecting to the city’s roads and sewage system, which is also called rigid infrastructure. New housing estates also need soft infrastructure links such as schools, hospitals, police stations, and cultural institutions. If a city has an innovative growth management program, the planner may be required to offset government spending by subsidizing government infrastructures, such as building a new school or hospital.

Zoning legislation presupposes the division of the city into districts, each of which develops following a set of rules dictating the intended purpose of the land. Target types include residential, commercial, industrial, and other types. The zoning of districts also determines the density of the residential sector, the intensity of development of commercial buildings, the requirements for the number of parking spaces, the height of new buildings, and the distance from the street. Such zoning ordinances may contain long texts describing the requirements, and also include possible deviations from the rules or conditions for changes to the rules.

Subdivision regulations distribute the types of infrastructure within the district, whereas the commission determines what types of infrastructure a developer can use to connect new residential complexes. As urban infrastructure is maintained by the municipality, it must meet general size standards and be easily identifiable underground. These rules define street widths, block sizes, distance between streetlights, stormwater and fire hydrant points, sidewalk widths, and street numbering requirements.

The Project Theme

The theme of the project is Dreamers Quarter, which overlaps with the already existing Makers Quarter. The concept of the name is that, firstly, the new residential complex will be located a little further from the center, and it can be more called a sleeping area or an area where people sleep and dream. However, to smooth out this remoteness, it is planned to integrate art installations and multi-level construction with the inclusion of green spaces on balconies and roofs. It will be a neighborhood where people will be able to enjoy all kinds of creativity, from music to watching movies with cinemas on the rooftops.

It is also proposed to focus on multi-level lighting of apartments, which would have large windows in the walls and ceilings. Special attention will be paid to the general area of the complex, which will be concentrated around a large central square and many courtyards, which will be connected by a single system of sidewalks. The ground floors will be leased to bars, restaurants, cafes, and organic stores, as well as beauty salons, exhibition centers, mini-cinemas, music studios, and various development sections such as art centers or dance studios for children and adults. Residential complexes of buildings will include many open observation platforms, where public spaces will be equipped, and suitable for relaxation, reading, and listening to music. It is noteworthy that since the residential complex will be more remote from the city center, the lease of land for construction will be cheaper, which will further reduce the rental price.

Project Amenities

Amenities such as temporary waste storage and other municipal facilities will be gracefully integrated into the overall structure of the complex. It is also planned to build a school, a hospital, a kindergarten, a supermarket, and playgrounds within the complex. Transportation will be carried out by public transport, which will run to the city center every half hour, and will be free, as it will be paid by residents as part of utility bills. It is also planned to build parking lots and an office center with co-working so that residents can shorten the time for switching and working near the house. The block will be open to non-residents and the central square will be equipped with various amenities such as restrooms and low-cost food service with hot meals. The aesthetic component will be realized through the construction of fountain pools and the planting of many trees, shrubs, and flowers.

Transportation Solutions

Today, the latest transportation requirements include ensuring that public transport is functioning, given the explosive growth in the use of private cars, which is contributing negatively to carbon dioxide emissions. A well-thought-out transportation implementation plan includes several steps, such as estimating the trip generation, estimating trip distribution, estimating the modal split, and predicting the trip assignment (Levy, 2016). Given the remoteness of the area from the center, it is planned to implement a private-public transport project, which will be fully paid for by the developer company and the residents. Rare but uninterrupted trips are planned once an hour from and to the city center, bypassing and stopping at important public junctions.

It is assumed that transport will also run at night to ensure the safety and comfort of the residents of the complex, tenants, and visitors. In case of expansion of the complex and further development of the area, it will be possible to introduce an additional number of vehicles, but for a start, two buses will be enough, which will run in two directions. It is possible to negotiate with companies producing electric cars about the possibility of integrating electric motors into bus housings to create electric buses that will not harm the environment. At the same time, it is planned that the buses will be piloted by live drivers, as unmanned control has not yet proven its safety.

Environmental Solutions

Transportation will be one significant contribution to environmental protection as it provides a real opportunity for 0% carbon emissions. A variety of green spaces that will generate oxygen, including a group of conifers around the perimeter of the complex, will help create a healthier environment for residents with better air quality. Fountain systems will ensure optimal humidity and coolness in the summer, while a well-thought-out layout, wind protection, and the use of heat-insulating and heat-preserving materials will ensure the comfort and health of residents, creating optimal temperatures in winter.

Housing Solutions

Although the new residential complex will be located away from the center to reduce rent, construction will take place as part of the state program of urban renewal. It is planned to agree on the demolition of the abandoned plant, which has not been used for a long time, and to build an attractive residential area on this site, which will provide housing for young families, students, and other community members who need aesthetic, comfortable, beautiful and safe housing (Levy, 2016). As part of the construction, the concept of community development will also be implemented, since the quarter will be created as a home for creative people, where in the future there may be recording studios, art galleries, private mini-cinemas showing art-house films, venues for live music performances, and private educational institutions.

As a result of the implementation of the concept, the quarter will make a huge contribution to the cultural development of the urban community and can become an alternative city center and a public recreation area. The housing solutions will be implemented through competent distribution of the territory, with housing options of different prices from budget to very expensive options, for families of one, two, three, up to seven people. The variability of housing will allow everyone to choose the most convenient option that meets their needs and needs.

Project Ability to Meet Future Demands

The future development will be determined in terms of the estimated amount, timing, location, and character. The concept of growth management will be applied to meet the future needs in housing. Presumably, the need for new housing will appear in two years after the construction will be finished, in the same amount, and closer to the city center, given the number of immigrants to the city. Therefore, there are plans to build another complex with a similar concept that will be called Wrestlers Quarters. This area will be a perfect place for the working people, who are busy in manufacturing. It will have an accent on sports and pubs and have a masculine profile.


Boyer, R. (2017). Land use regulations, urban planners, and intentional communities. 

Levy, J. M. (2016). Contemporary urban planning. Taylor & Francis.

Makers Quarter. (2021).

Planning processes. (2021). Los Angeles City Planning.

The role of a planning commission in zoning. (2021). PennState Extension.

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