Thursday, March 29, 2012

OK, keep Pier 70 real.

Toward the end of this post about San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood, I wrote a dumb thing in a spirit of conciliation. After repeating that the money-driven police campaign against vehicle campers was wrong, I said it would be nice if the city could get on with redeveloping Pier 70, where actually at least nobody would be displaced from housing.

According to this meaty, detailed article, well, no, not so fast. Artists' studios, boatbuilders, and the slickifying effect that a Fishermen's Wharf do-up would have on the rest of the neighborhood. O.K., I take it back. There's enough Dogpatch live-and-let live left, that it would be just nihilistic to wish a wholesale Disney job on any place near there.

Also, that special segment of tourists who like to laugh at literary and class ironies can already motor down to the Cannery Row development in Monterey and cackle until their sides split.

The way gentrification works, I'm gonna bet many of the same folks who are happy to see fewer run-down Winnebagos on the streets would be furiously opposed to Pier 70 redevelopment on Save Our Funkiness Grounds. And, weirdly, that's a saving grace.

So, yeah, let's replace the tow yard part of Pier 70 (while we're at it, let's rethink the whole idea of maintaining a debtors' prison for poor people's cars) but let's replace it with something human that suits the current state of the neighborhood.

BTW I found the Pier 70 article by way of D10 Watch, a site about San Francisco's southeastern supervisorial District 10. The author there has categorized this site as a blog about the Dogpatch neighborhood. In fact what I'm writing here isn't primarily a local blog, but I do want to talk some more here about the intersection of class conflict, urban design and public space, and Dogpatch is an amazing place to do that so the place will get mentioned again.

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