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  #21  
Old Posted Dec 31, 2011, 5:33 PM
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The term "station" and "depot" aren't quite the same--a "station" is a known point along the railroad tracks, a "depot" is a passenger terminal. The depot will not be moved--it will serve as the "grand entrance" to a much larger, expanded terminal and transit center. If you have ever been to Los Angeles' union station, it will be a bit like that--the grand entrance of the old depot is still the grand entrance, but once you go inside you take an underground concourse to reach Amtrak, regional heavy rail, Metra subways, buses of all sorts. The end of the concourse is a big bus plaza with several cafes and restaurants, with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation building and plaza at one end.

In Sacramento, in addition to two passageways under the tracks (one for bikes and pedestrians, one for baggage and transporters to carry those with limited mobility) there will also be an open transit plaza at ground level in between the tracks and the depot, with access to light rail, city and Amtrak buses, possibly Greyhound (the original plan was to relocate them to this transit center, the station on Richards is considered temporary) and maybe a new streetcar line. The rest of the transit plaza will be a bit like an airport concourse with restaurants and newsstands etc. on the way to and from the trains. The tunnels will also provide additional pedestrian connections to the Central Shops district at the southern edge of the Railyards proper.

http://www.cityofsacramento.org/tran...ermodalMap.pdf

The city already has money set aside, both its own and federal and state funds, to do most of this work, and a lot of it is well underway. If the city was to decide they want to do something else with the depot area other than expand the transit center, they would have to give a lot of that money back, including money that is already spent. (In fact, that's one problem with the arena plan: it would take over some of the space already allocated to the transit center, meaning the city would lose some of that transit funding, and have to reroute one of the underground passageways that they're actually building right now, wasting a lot of time and effort. That's what happens when people let an idea advance too far without looking at what's already directly in front of them.)

While I like brainstorming and theorizing about what could be done as much as the next guy (assuming "the next guy" is a planning/transportation geek who spends a lot of time on Internet forums) turning plans into reality means connecting those plans into what's going on, and looking for opportunities to utilize existing momentum--or avoid existing resistance. Knowing the terrain, and building a plan to suit adapting to circumstances and specifications, how projects go from discussion to reality.
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  #22  
Old Posted Jan 1, 2012, 4:31 PM
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Thanks for clearing up the station/depot issue. Not sure what you imagine else is going on but as usual you come off like a condescending know-it-all. I am not advancing any specific concrete ideas on this or any other forum nor would I waste my time trying to reserve what is already set in motion. It's true, I am not a city hall geek. So while I may not be up on city's latest plans re. the depot, station, or whatever you wish to call it, I am not as naive as you apparently believe I am. Maybe I'm coming from a different perspective. If I offended you in any way I apologize. It's not my intention. I am sure you are right about there being a better location for a university or college campus. If you had simply explained why rather than inject the jerk into the conversation it would have been more effective. I'm sorry to say you haven't changed my mind about Sacramentans. Speaking of this city's identity. If Sacramentans don't believe most people think this town is boring as hell or don't think that it matters what other people think then .. well that's part of the problem.
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  #23  
Old Posted Jan 1, 2012, 7:00 PM
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ozone: I'm sorry if you found that last post insulting, it really, really was not intended that way. When someone says "so what's going on with project (X)?" and I happen to know, I share what I know because I am enthusiastic--maybe that makes me a know-it-all, but I certainly don't know it all--I just try to keep up on current events.

And I get the sense that you care very deeply about what other people think. I admit I'm just not as sensitive in that way--it doesn't really bother me when people have differing opinions, and sometimes I like to challenge them, not because I want to insult or offend, but to figure out where they're coming from (another trait you may have noticed over the last five years.) And sometimes that rubs people the wrong way. It certainly isn't intentional.

It sounds like we both agree that it would be a pretty darn good idea to have a full-sized univeristy in the central city: perhaps we should leave the discussion of where it should be located for now, since I doubt we're going to be asked to pick one out anytime soon.
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  #24  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2012, 9:50 AM
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I think if spent the money on a new UC branch/campus where the proposed arena would go we'd be much better off in 10-30 years.
I have always advocated for a university in the central city (railyards, west sac riverfront, south of broadway). I believe a private university would be best. Nashville, Portland and Atlanta have private universities in their central cities.

But there is no reason why we should not have an arena as well. The new university could use the arena for some college events.
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  #25  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2012, 10:14 AM
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Some observations, some negative, some positive:

Sacramento has expanded its “sophistication” and cultural offerings as many natives have grown-up wanting Sacramento to be more than it is, combined with the newbies from LA, the Bay and other larger cities with more culture and sports.

The last ten years brought more suburbanites escaping their east bay and south bay burbs and southern cal burbs for a place that offered less traffic, less people, and affordable housing and they want to keep it that way. These people were suburbanites where they came from and are adamant about keeping Sacramento from growing.
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  #26  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2012, 10:59 AM
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These people were suburbanites where they came from and are adamant about keeping Sacramento from growing.
Here is an example of the type of bay area transplant that keeps Sacramento from expanding its cultural offerings.

This South Bay transplant is a die-hard 49er fan. She spends lots of money in the downtown sf area before the game (union sq, china basin, etc). She understands the value of using public transit when attending large sporting events by taking the muni T-line from downtown SF to Candlestick (a long tedious light-rail ride that requires a 10min shuttle bus transfer).

She loves major league professional sports and spends a lots of money on tickets and concessions. She believes the whole big time sports thing is good for SF and the bay area.

She loves the SF Giants baseball park too, and advocated for it when it was unpopular 13yrs ago. She is excited about the brand new 49er football stadium in "suburban" Santa Clara and can’t wait until its built.

When asked if Sacramento should have a new arena; her response was completely and totally negative.

“Sacramento is a cowtown and I dont care if the Kings leave, I can always go to Oakland for basketball. “No one would take light rail to a downtown arena anyways”.

For some reason big time sports, downtown arenas, suburban stadiums and taking light rail is ok for the Bay Area, but not Sacramento.

Shes lived in Sacramento for over 10yrs, yet thinks Sacramento is undeserving of such venues despite her love for professional sports, downtown shopping before a game, taking light rail to downtown ballparks(AT&T ballpark) and old stadiums in bad neighborhoods (Candlestick).
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  #27  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2012, 2:23 PM
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Originally Posted by BrianSac View Post
Some observations, some negative, some positive:

Sacramento has expanded its “sophistication” and cultural offerings as many natives have grown-up wanting Sacramento to be more than it is, combined with the newbies from LA, the Bay and other larger cities with more culture and sports.

The last ten years brought more suburbanites escaping their east bay and south bay burbs and southern cal burbs for a place that offered less traffic, less people, and affordable housing and they want to keep it that way. These people were suburbanites where they came from and are adamant about keeping Sacramento from growing.
I think this is definitely true of the newer suburban areas. But I know a number of people in the older post-war suburbs are from Sacramento and the Central Valley. But your post reminded me of a comment someone made on Sacbee in the last couple weeks. He/she was worried that Sacramento would become urban. I am not sure what "urban" meant to that person. Maybe "urban" is code for black or ethnic?
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  #28  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2012, 4:37 PM
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Too much of our middle-class/upper class growth went to Folsom, Elk Grove, Natomas, El Dorado, Yolo and Placer counties. If just 1/3 of that growth stayed in Central Sacramento, it would have provided the fuel to make the grid even more vibrant.
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  #29  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2012, 6:07 PM
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But I am more interested to understand why so many talented and creative people end up moving away? Why do people think Austin and Portland is cool and Sacramento is not? Maybe because Sacramento was a small city for so many years there's still a lot of that mentally left. It's particularly annoying in people who's job it is to move this city forward.
I think it has a lot to do with perception and infrastructure.

Austin - University of Texas (UT) - the largest and most popular university in all of texas is located in downtown Austin. - UT is the infrastructure -- which was always there but not on the nations radar until 10yrs ago.

Just like UC Davis; it was not well known until 10yrs ago. Here's the difference: If UC Davis had always been located in downtown Sac or let's say directly across the river in West Sac AND it always had a Big time nationally known college football team that inspired generations of fans. Sacramento would be "hip" even in today's economy.
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  #30  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2012, 6:19 PM
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Why do people think Austin and Portland is cool and Sacramento is not?
Portland - Portland has always been about 10yrs ahead of Sacramento in terms of creating that central core identity utilizing that sense of place with the Willamette River and beaucoup bridges.

Because of the hills directly in downtown Portland and its cooler summer weather it is perceived as more coastal like as in Seattle and SF when its not. Our sense of place does not stand out.

And it has to do with perception: Sac has plenty of "outdoor types" if not more than Portland. It's just our outdoor types live in the suburbs or foothills and don't live in downtown lofts overlooking the Willamette River.

Our core backbone employment is still state gov't, not fortune 500 companies; these things create a perception that one place is cool and hip and another is not; when in fact they really aren't that different.
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  #31  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2012, 6:35 PM
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The state government makes the greatest impact on the culture of Sacramento and in my opinion our economy is too dependent on that.
Peception: Washington DC is full of gov't workers that create energy in the core and government money brings in private contracts and private employers to DC, yet somehow DC's gov't workers are cool and hip and Sacramento's state workers are not -- perception.

The feds have a blank check to spend and spend and pay better salaries in Washington DC. The state has limits in what it can bring to Sacramento.
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  #32  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2012, 7:10 PM
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You make a lot of good points BrianSac - particularly about perception. I believe perception can create a certain reality which is why I always say that the worst thing Sacramento can do is play in safe. To rephrase Laurel Ulrich's often used quote about women- 'Well-behaved cities seldom make history.' It might have been wburg who pointed out that Sacramento was the "sin city" of the valley. All great cities are places where the human spirit feels a little more liberated and where sensibilities are a little more challenged.

I think everyone agrees that we need to increase the population of the central city but I don't think trying to lure lots of suburbanites is going to work. Haven't we been trying to do this for last 50 years w/o much success? In Sacramento today there aren't a lot of avantages to living in the core vs the living the burbs - economically or socially. We can't do a whole lot about the economy (it will always be more expensive to build and live in the core) but we can increase the amenities within the central city to make it worth the cost of living there. This seems to get lost in the all arguments for more housing.
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  #33  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2012, 8:54 PM
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Considering that most people in the US live in a suburb of one sort or another, they're going to be part of the equation. Personally I'd rather see an approach that lures suburbanites who are sick of the suburbs. In fact, that's who Midtown already largely attracts--heck, that's why I moved here. That's why trying to win over people who already dislike Sacramento is just wasted effort--and there are just as many people who dislike the central city because they think it's crowded, dirty, crime-ridden etc. as those who think we're a dusty cow town. They're both wrong, and their minds won't be changed--so why waste time and effort on them? Go for the people who are interested in what we have to offer, and concentrate on offering more of it. But all of that has to start with efforts to make the central city a more attractive place to live, not just a place to spend money and go home to the suburbs (although, properly managed, there is no reason why it can't do both.)

We were the "sin city" of the valley in some ways, but we were also the industrial city of the valley, and the administrative city of the valley. People came here for other reasons, to deliver farm goods to canneries or buy things in big department stores or to petition state government or film movies--and they generally patronized bars, restaurants, theaters, etc. while doing so, to the benefit of the local economy.

Sure, California government was a lot smaller 100 years ago, but that was because the Southern Pacific Railroad basically ran the state, and guess who was Sacramento's biggest employer? And when the state got bigger and the railroad got smaller, a lot of the people who went into state government were former railroad employees--a large, complex and bureaucratic organization. Now, I'm all for having a wider economic base and new industries, but California is unlikely to become a less complex state anytime soon, and we can expand our economic base while not giving up our current status as the administrative heart of a $2 trillion economy. State employees get a bad rap because they get paid less than the private sector, but generally they are more highly educated--so they may drive less flashy cars, but perhaps they read better books?
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  #34  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2012, 7:45 AM
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Originally Posted by BrianSac View Post
Some observations, some negative, some positive:

Sacramento has expanded its “sophistication” and cultural offerings as many natives have grown-up wanting Sacramento to be more than it is, combined with the newbies from LA, the Bay and other larger cities with more culture and sports.

The last ten years brought more suburbanites escaping their east bay and south bay burbs and southern cal burbs for a place that offered less traffic, less people, and affordable housing and they want to keep it that way. These people were suburbanites where they came from and are adamant about keeping Sacramento from growing.

Good posts all around here.

I'm one of the "former" group. Originally from SF, now in Sac for some years. I'm always in Midtown/Downtown, it's nice to have seen the urban scene grow and become more sophisticated in recent years. I really hope the trend keeps growing as I think Sac has a real chance of becoming the next "hip" city akin to the ranks of Portland or Austin for young people to go to. We have the location, we have the reasonable cost of living, we have the weather, and we have a burgeoning urban scene going on, it just needs to be built upon.

I do feel in the Sac region a bit of a divide between the suburbanites and the city. In SF, people from all the surrounding cities and towns go into the city to party, to have fun. But something I've noticed is that many of the suburb dwellers in Sac are quite provincial and often have no clue about what's going down in Midtown, or they are disparaging when they talk about Downtown. It's quite frustrating because there really is a lot of good stuff happening and developing in Sacramento's central city, but it's not appreciated enough I feel.

I call this place home now. I spend a lot of money in local restaurants/bars and I definitely want to see Sacramento develop a higher profile and be recognized for it.
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  #35  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2012, 7:25 AM
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Good posts all around here.

I'm one of the "former" group. Originally from SF, now in Sac for some years. I'm always in Midtown/Downtown, it's nice to have seen the urban scene grow and become more sophisticated in recent years. I really hope the trend keeps growing as I think Sac has a real chance of becoming the next "hip" city akin to the ranks of Portland or Austin for young people to go to. We have the location, we have the reasonable cost of living, we have the weather, and we have a burgeoning urban scene going on, it just needs to be built upon.

I do feel in the Sac region a bit of a divide between the suburbanites and the city. In SF, people from all the surrounding cities and towns go into the city to party, to have fun. But something I've noticed is that many of the suburb dwellers in Sac are quite provincial and often have no clue about what's going down in Midtown, or they are disparaging when they talk about Downtown. It's quite frustrating because there really is a lot of good stuff happening and developing in Sacramento's central city, but it's not appreciated enough I feel.

I call this place home now. I spend a lot of money in local restaurants/bars and I definitely want to see Sacramento develop a higher profile and be recognized for it.
Good Post! I agree.

What are your opinions regarding the downtown Arena? The best news so far is that the entertainment production company AEG wants to invest $50 million.

Regarding suburban dwellers: I don't think Sac's suburban dwellers are much different than East Bay or South Bay suburbanites.

I have relatives and friends from the east and south bay who dislike SF or anything "urban". However, they will go to Major league sporting events and broadway style theater in SF. They love AT&T ballpark and the area around it. An occasional trip to Union sq for shopping is tolerable, but other than that they do not like SF.

The focus for midtown/downtown (as it is for SF) is about the people who live there and people who like an "urban" environment. If midtown wants to be more urban it needs to change it's zoining to allow for more density and variety. They need to rid themselves of restrictive ordinances regarding noise and parking.
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  #36  
Old Posted Jan 8, 2012, 7:48 PM
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BrianSac: Where did you get that bit about AEG? I have heard that the group proposing an arena hope they will put in that amount, comparable to what they put in for the Kansas City arena (in return for AEG having first dibs on profits from KC arena operations) but so far they haven't committed a cent--and if they did, you can bet it would be front-page news.

If the focus for midtown/downtown is the people who live there, then policy should focus on livability for the people who live here, not being a circus attraction for visitors. Not that being an attraction and being livable are mutually exclusive--but it does require management, both for parking and for noise.

In West Los Angeles along Sunset, there are private parking lots with employees waving people in every night, and street parking is metered until 2 AM--then there is no parking allowed 2-4 AM for street cleaning. When you leave the commercial corridor, you enter residential areas, mostly low-rise apartments and single-family housing. NO non-residential parking is allowed from 7 PM to 7 AM. Buses run until late at night.

In Wrigleyville along Clark Street, a thriving district with a baseball field and a nightclub district, again, there is limited metered on-street parking in commercial areas, private parking structures, a handful of commercial off-street parking, and public transit (both buses and the El.) Again, walk a half-block off the commercial corridor and you find low-rise residential buildings, single-family and apartments, with NO non-residential parking from 6 PM to 6 AM.

This sort of policy is useful on several fronts: it keeps the nearby residential areas comparatively free of night-time revelers, and encourages them to park nearer the club (often in pay lots) or take transit (which runs all night.) The residential areas benefit from close access to commercial uses--not just nightclubs and bars, but grocery stores, drugstores, clothing stores and every other conceivable retail use--but the simple act of limiting parking to residents means they are relatively quiet and safe, making them far more attractive as places to live.

In San Franciso, SoMa clubs faced a lot of pressure from residents who moved into the neighborhood during the dot-com boom, as old industrial and commercial buildings started converting to residential lofts. It took some dealing, but today if you visit SoMa nightclubs there are lots of signs mentioning "Please respect our neighbors by being quiet outside!" and club security is proactive about preventing a lot of noise from escaping the club and keeping visitors civil while outside.

In all of these neighborhoods, visitors are important but residents are even more important. It is already the case here in Sacramento: an MBA survey found that 50% of business in summer (and more like 66% of business in winter) at Midtown businesses came from people in the Midtown ZIP code, 95816, or adjacent ZIP codes. Considering that these people make up about 5% of the region, it means that each central city resident contributes as much as 15 people from farther away! Every additional central city resident is equal to 15 visitors in economic effect, PLUS the economic value of their presence in the city as renters or homeowners. And we could easily double the population of the central city under current zoning codes!

Downtown and Midtown can take lessons from this. People who are going to spend lots of money on a play, on an expensive dinner, on drinks or for a show will drop a few bucks to park their car in a secure parking lot, if they are discouraged from parking in the "free" spaces in nearby residential areas. The above examples prove that it can be done, and other cities do it. The only folks who would be actively discouraged from visiting are those who are NOT there to spend money!

Last edited by wburg; Jan 9, 2012 at 12:13 AM. Reason: Correcting ZIP info
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  #37  
Old Posted Jan 9, 2012, 5:30 PM
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Every additional central city resident is equal to 15 visitors in economic effect, PLUS the economic value of their presence in the city as renters or homeowners. And we could easily double the population of the central city under current zoning codes!

So the minuscule population of downtown/midtown can double under current zoning codes... big deal! No offense but the population needs to do more than double in order to reach a notable urban density. And it can't get there with current zoning restrictions. The reason why this matters is that if the central city's population doubles while obeying the zoning codes that are in place, that means the development sites available get used up with relatively weak projects. Once the sites are filled and the population is doubled, what happens when even more people want to live here? Do we start tearing down buildings to make room for new ones? Not gonna happen unless the historic preservation mentality changes. That's why it's important to change zoning restrictions to create the potential for the central city's population to grow x10. There's a big difference between a 3 story neighborhood and a 6-8 story neighborhood in terms of efficiency, functionality, and the overall experience at street level. It's hard to predict how market forces are going to act on the urban environment, but I think the government should focus on creating opportunities for development rather than stunting the city's growth with too many rules.
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  #38  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 3:26 AM
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City identities change over time--plenty of cities' current identity doesn't bear much relation to their past identity, for good or ill. Compare Detroit or St. Louis in their current state to their stature at their height, or Seattle and Portland today compared to 30 years ago before they became media darlings due to fashions in urban planning or rock music.

As to what identities this city has had, just look at its past. We were never a sleepy farm community or bucolic small town. We were born as a city, as a center for trade and transportation. We grew up in the shadow of our bigger sister San Francisco, which in some ways stunted our urban growth, especially as the folks who got rich here tended to move there to build great public works, and left their old Sacramento houses to use as orphanages. We were an industrial city, turning the product of the surrounding resource area into something that could be shipped, and even building railroads to allow the shipment of those goods (and locomotives to pull those trains.) We were a sin city too--where farmers, miners and migrant workers came to blow their hard-earned pay on booze and debauchery, and Sacramentans, natural merchants gifted at separating workers and travelers from their paychecks, provided the services they desired, even when they were illegal (for example, Sacramento pretty much ignored Prohibition.) We were a creative city, with our own homegrown musical and artistic talent--even if so many of the talented left for San Francisco to seek patronage from the wealthy who had moved there first. So a lot of the credit due to those who did remain is seldom suitably recognized, because it's just "folk art" or "pop art," or in the case of some Sacramentans who have received international prominence for their creativity, some assume they aren't worth knowing about if they are from here.
I like your descriptions, good job, wburg.

"We were never a sleepy farm community or bucolic small town. We were born as a city, as a center for trade and transportation".

This is true and what set us apart from all the other towns in the Central Valley. We were in the same league as SF, New Orleans, and St. Louis in terms of big ideas and ingenuity.

I believe Sacramento started out as "first tier town", with big ideas, big money, drive and determination. It seems our best years were our first 30 years.

The grid was built, filled with very expensive, beautiful victorian architecture. We had Gold Rush money, along with financial institutions filled with gold eager to jump start trade and commerce which was facilitated by the railroads and the Sacramento River. Our most "urban" and beautiful park along with the most beautiful structure ever built in Sacramento was soon to be built.
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Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 3:33 AM
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Do we have the drive and determination to build structures and spaces on the scale, scope and expense of another captial park or another capitol building?

I think that is what the Railyards means for some of us. A chance to expand our built "urban" environment.
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  #40  
Old Posted Jan 10, 2012, 3:52 AM
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A city's identity is built up out of its history and its built environment.
Yes, i agree, but you can't forget that if you lose some of your built environment to new construction it does not mean the city does not or can not continue making history or being prosperous.

Manhattan is a good example. So much was lost, yet so much was gained.

Paris, another example, whole neighborhoods were completely lost, yet the "city of light" was born out of Haussman's renovations.

Downtown LA, was as victorian as SF, so much was lost, but the city continued to be one of the most prosperous in the 20th century.
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