Monday, May 4, 2009

Downtown Design Guidelines: Should Pomona Follow this Model?

Today at school Emily Gabel from the Urban Design Studio for the City of Los Angeles came to speak to us about the City of Los Angeles' new Downtown Design Guidelines. Now I have to say that this model could greatly be used by Pomona. There is a lot of emphasis on the walkability of the downtown area and it sets guidelines for Planners, Building Architects and Landscape Architects. If Downtown Pomona is to become a vibrant area these guidelines provide a strong framework for doing so.

An example of a building I can think of that could use some of these methods is the Chase (formerly WAMU) building. The entrance is facing the parking lot, but if we were to change the entrance to the street sides on both Garey and 2nd it would provide welcoming sidewalks. Think of a person facing you or having their back towards you. What is more welcoming? There is a reason why not a whole lot of people walk from the west side of Garey to the east: The massive Chase parking lot and the building being oriented towards the parking lot. (I would suggest getting rid of their parking lot altogether)

These methods could probably be considered "New Urbanism" I am rather partial to "Landscape Urbanism" which takes into consideration the ever shifting dynamism of the landscape of a city and includes the extension of ecological systems. This method does include the walkability methods of this guideline but it also includes more "green" space. However this is a great start, and in retrofitting an existing city, "New Urbanism" is much easier to deal with.

With the Pomona Planning Commission still trying to catch up to modern methods of urbanism, the downtown area provides a great framework for these methods to be implemented in. It would retain it's historic charm and also improve pedestrian traffic which is great for the business owners and also good for the environment. It is conducive to business and will help bring dollars to our city.

Should Pomona Adopt This Model? (by no means is it flawless, but...) HELL YEAH!


Anonymous said...

Maybe the question should be: does Pomona already follow this model? The assumption that we are all behind the rest of the world does not really help... If you investigate a little you may find that Pomona is quite progressive in some ways.

Anduhrew said...

i'm very familiar with the redevelopment strategy for downtown, and I think that Pomona is doing a great job for the downtown area, but I think that's as far as it goes. I guess what I mean is that this model answers more questions and also it can be used further our from downtown all the way down garey and all along mission and holt. not just in the art colony and antique row. I think the redevelopment agency does great but the planning commission needs a little push.

Anonymous said...

Anduhrew, I don't really understand your take on landscape urbanism over new urbanism. Could you clarify? I sense a negative feeling against new urbanist from your class. It would be great if you could clear things up and maybe write a blog explaining your beliefs. Thanks.

Anduhrew said...

i will do so. but I think what gets lost through discussion in text (such as this blog) is what my feelings are about something. I wouldn't say it is a negative thing that new urbanism is, but instead that it is lacking something. I've also recognized that landscape urbanism also lacks certain things too.