Saturday, August 20, 2005

Quality of Life vs. Quality of Life

Is quality of life having a mall and a Starbucks to drive to like in the uber congested and bizarre UTC area or is it being able to take your kids for a bike ride down Encinitas Blvd. without fear of them getting rundown by traffic?

Density has been a bit of a dirty word in this town over the years but I have always seen it a little bit differently. To me, "good" density is when small towns have multi-level apartments and live work lofts and mixed use buildings. A town with density creates a lively walking vibe with people on the sidewalks and small markets and bakeries and other shops. The town should be surrounded by open space that you can escape to when you and your sweetie need a little elbow room.

Unfortunately, there is little to no open space left surrounding Encinitas (the beach is still the best place to go if you can get a parking spot). "New" Encinitas" is sprawl, which means all those beautiful rolling hills are now ugly tract stucco houses and those people needs cars to get around full time. (I'm not a freaky anti-car hippie but I like to stretch my legs and walk whenever I can).

UTC and even "New" Encinitas was not built to ever evolve and change overtime. It is set up to be a stagnant environment forever. Density needs to be formed as an infrastructure that will serve future needs and growth over time. It must be allowed to evolve organically.

Carlsbad has sprawled to our boarders and the once lovely coast highway cruise isn't quite the same as it once was. El Camino Real I avoid at all cost.

UTC is the worst case scenario for Encinitas. Sprawl meets poorly planned density. Unfortunately, I fear that the myopic grumps in charge consider UTC as a model of success.



  1. That aerial photograph of utc gave me a new perspective. Are there any such pictures of Encinitas we can look at?

  2. I suspect most people think it is nuts to believe that Encinitas will become as dense as the golden triangle. Hey we are at buildout! Noone in Encinitas would rather live there... but we have a Council that is ultra-prodeveloper and anti-law abiding.

    Build-out? This Council recently added three permanent planners to the staff. This was against the objectives of the always knowledgable Donna Westbrook on grounds that it was a dumb financial move and the questioning of the thin diversionary justification for the additional planners by Kevin Cummins. Council avoided exploring the justification, ignoring Cummins, and Stocks attempted to belittle Westbrook's comments (twee). There was no convincing arguements for spending all that extra money on staffing.

    Shouldn't they clearly justify why they are spending our money? Is the real reason too objectionable to speak in public?

  3. When there was still open space 40 or 50 years ago, sprawl wasn't such a bad word. The tract homes provided backyards and more space than living in apartments. UTC is sprawl, but it is upward. It meets the definition of smart growth - high density. The phrase "rat race" applies to high density housing. The question is how many people can be crammed into a city block. Will UTC eventually become as crowded as New York or Hong Kong? Smart growth isn't smart, but it is growth.

  4. I disagree. I don't consider UTC smart growth at all. Places like UTC and Mission Valley are created by developers, not designers.
    The devil is in the details like Mayor Dalagher likes to say. Just because a building is "mixed use" doesn't mean it's good.
    My wife and I took a driving tour of San Elijo Hills yesterday. It's like a town out of the films The Truman Show and Pleasantville rolled into one. The big goofy homes with their faux shutters and castle turrents have very small or no backyards. The bizarre thing is that they are gated off from each other. Paranoia?
    There is one road in and out. It's classic sprawl. They start at $800,000 and the new residents will be heading straight for the Leucadia Blvd/coast highway intersection. It's going to be chaos, ha-ha!

  5. The beauty of the phrases "smart growth" and "mixed use" is that each person had their idea of the vision. Developers and government use those different views to their advantage. Look at all the mixed use and higher density in Little Italy. Buildings out to the sidewalk and more floors than the older buildings. The buildings will be destined for demotion in 20 or 30 years when the next round of developers appear.
    It used to be called selling someone a bill of goods, and now it's called smart growth and mixed use.

  6. Don't you think you sound like a bunch of NIMBYs?

  7. Funny thing about JP's observation about Mayor Dalager always saying the devil is in the details is that Dalager either doesn't or can't analyse the details.

  8. Is the NIMBY comment from a developer or cohort of a developer?

  9. I'm not a NIMBY, you can build a house or a business next door to me(as long as you acquired the land fair and square). I am for good design, good architecture and a sustainable infrastructure. The irony is that I am looking out for your best interest. I don't want you to sit in traffic for 3 hours a day(time you should spend with your family) and I don't want your kids to have to grow up in a generic sprawl neighborhood behind bars without soul or class. I got your back man.

    hmm, this sounds like time for a new topic...


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