Park(ing) Day 2011

Tomorrow is Park(ing) Day 2011. Oakland Living has a great writeup of the places and activities happening in Oakland. Be sure to check out the video by the Greenbelt Alliance at the end.

I only add that Park(ing) Day was founded in 2005 (image above) by ReBar, "an interdisciplinary studio working at the intersection of art, design and ecology." They have been kind enough to give it to the world.

Unfortunately, I have been on leave from the studio I work with for a number of months now, but it doesn't seem that the Coffee Container, which I hoped would debut tomorrow, has become a reality.


Architecture + The City 2011

It is already a quarter over, but this month in San Francisco is the Architecture and the City festival, complete with film series, exhibitions, and lectures. Opening tonight at SwissNex is Switzerland's contribution to the 2010 Venice Bienalle, Teaching Architecture: 3 Positions Made in Switzerland. Next Thursday is a half-day symposium at SPUR on The Bay Area's Modern Landscape Legacy. The following week includes Oakland-based architects envelope A+D in a conversation about Flexible Urbanism, the film Revolutionary Wake: Unfinished Spaces about the creation of Cuba's National Art Schools by three young architects following Castro's takeover in 1961, and a panel on the under construction Transbay Transit Center entitled Grand Central of the West.


Temescal Street Fair Postponed

Due to a delay in summer, the Temescal Street Fair has been postponed until July 10th.



This Friday night the Young Urbanists of the San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR), are coming to Oakland for a night at the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA), which nicely coincides with Art Murmur. If you don't know anything about it, SPUR is a good government organization with a strong emphasis on quality urban design. Although primarily San Francisco focused, it seems to me they have been traveling further afield more of late.

And if you don't know much about the OMCA, it was reopened about a year ago after being renovated by local architects Mark Cavagnero Associates. Originally designed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates, the OMCA was the first commission for the partnership. Kevin Roche won the Pritzker Prize, given yearly to an architect for a significant body of work and one of the profession's highest honors, in 1982. Kevin Roche has gained a renewed interest and following of late for his humanist approach to modernism, as evidenced by the current exhibit Kevin Roche: Architecture as Environment, which was recently reviewed at Design Observer.


Coffee Container

Wednesday night the studio I work for, Arcsine Architecture, has the opening reception for Coffee Container, the design for the transformation of a shipping container into a mobile coffee bar for Modern Coffee. The hope is for the built reality to be completed in time for Parking Day 2011. Modern Coffee is located at 411 13th Street in the Oakland Tribune Tower. The reception is from 5:00 - 7:00 pm, see you there!


Pushing Buttons

Why is it that in Oakland, that if you want to cross a street and you are driving you just pull up and wait, but if you are walking, you have to push a button?


Going Dutch

Tomorrow at the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) is a lunchtime forum entitled Going Dutch: Creating a Bicycle-Dependent City. Leah Shahum, the Executive Director of the San Francsico Bicycle Coalition, will share lessons learned from her 8-month sabbatical in Amsterdam. SPUR lunchtime forums begin at 12:30, are free to members or $5 for non-members, and are a great way to learn more about current projects and policy initiatives happening throughout the Bay Area.

Though San Francisco focused, SPUR more recently seems to be taking a greater interest in the larger region. I highly recommend joining for anyone interested in urban planning and municipal good governance issues. There are usually at least one or two lunchtime forums a week, wonderful special events and awards, and they have a great monthly newsletter, Urbanist.

So grab your lunch, get on your bike, and go Dutch!


Parking Design

The amount that Oakland doesn't know about automobiles and their storage could fill blogs, and it has. Oakland doesn't know where to put drive-through lanes. Oakland doesn't know how to price parking. Oakland doesn't know that you shouldn't have surface parking lots downtown.

In fact, Oakland knows so little about automobiles and their storage that I often argue that, rather than try to improve it's thinking, maybe Oakland should just think about automobiles and their storage a whole lot less. Or maybe not. But one area I wish they would have thought more and better about is the design and installation of the newish parking kiosks.

Aside from the fact that most of the time they just sheared off the old meter heads to create thousands of 2" diameter trash cans that never get emptied, rather than cool bicycle parking. Or that you can't pay with paper money, so you have to use your credit card, carry around tons of change, or actually go into a bank every so often to get a roll of dollar coins. Or that when you are paying for a parking space, the kiosks don't tell how long you can park for, but what time you can park until, but don't tell you what time it is, forcing you to dig into your pocket or bag and find your phone.

Aside from all those things, the new parking kiosks are just plain ugly, with tons of different stickers and signs on them because it wasn't very well thought out in advance. But it doesn't have to be that way. San Francisco does it better, and solar powered too! So does Melbourne for their bike parking (image above). Max is right, Oakland can learn a lot from other cities, maybe even about automobiles and their storage.