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Smart Growth with Parksonality

An article the other day in the San Francisco Chronicle describes the parks in Mission Bay, a new neighborhood now springing up that city:

Sometimes it’s hard to separate the identity of a San Francisco neighborhood from its park. After all, what would the Mission District be without Dolores Park, or North Beach without Washington Square? As San Francisco’s newest neighborhood, Mission Bay, continues to grow, it is also beginning to find its unique personality. Neighbors say an intricate part of that process has been the opening of new parks in the area – additions that come even as the city faces increasingly difficult financial times.

The 8 current and 41 acres of planned Mission Bay parks and surrounding neighborhood is a project of the San Francisco Redevelopment Authority. (Many such authorities around the country are building parks – stay tuned for an article from the Center for City Park Excellence next month.) The funding source in Mission Bay is tax increment financing, along with developer set aside requirements. (The authority will maintain the parks also.) Then there’s the concern worth mentioning, as the article points out, that building new parks is exciting, but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t needs in the existing parks in the city. But overall, the message is that these new neigbhorhoods — the walkable and livable infill, or smart growth — must include parks if they are to have personality.

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