Of course there’s plenty of room for highrises downtown and plenty of spots zoned for it. Who ever said there wasn’t?
Zoning places for high-rises isn't what gets them built--much of downtown has been zoned for high-rises for years, it didn't happen because it was so much easier and cheaper to build low-rises and office parks in the suburbs instead.
I agree with you that the growth of Natomas and the other burbs has had a negative effect on developing housing downtown, but economic pressures alone have not been the problem.
You of all people, being a historian, should be aware of the many plans for downtown mid-to-high rises that were fervently fought against over the years by a small, vocal and overly-influential group of people -including the Sacramento Old City Association (SOCA) of which you are its current president. You’re being intellectually dishonest by refusing to acknowledge your organization’s strong opposition to numerous downtown developments in the past, high-rise and otherwise.
As far as there being plenty of community gardens in the central city and no shortage of places to put your hands in the dirt. That depends on what you consider to be plenty. Yes, if you are a homeowner you can put in a garden but as you have pointed out that, the vast majority of people in the central neighborhoods are renters. Most renters have neither the space nor permission to plant a garden. Besides there’s a lot more going on in community gardening than planting a few cucumbers as my friend who oversees a number of community gardens for the city of Providence RI has pointed out to me- social interaction is probably their greatest asset [and an increasingly important one as one gets older.] As far as rouge gardens on empty lots-- good luck with that. I know of two lots in Midtown that was started out on weed-infested lots only to have the participants kicked out soon afterwards and cyclone fences erected around then because the property owners became worried about the liability.
But my whole point about Natomas was to suggest turning the land that has not yet been developed into something other than more suburban sprawl. Yes ideally recreational amenities would be within walking distance but that is a not reasonable expectation for a majority of Sacramentans. Even in San Francisco a great number of residents must either drive or take public transport in order to get to Golden Gate Park.
I would love to see the feds ban new development there but I have no faith this will happen and the suburban parks, gardens and farms you seem to detest so much are very likely never going to materialize anyway. So you can sleep well my friend.