CFAH

Chicago's Millennium Park (Image Source: aia.org)

The proposal deadline for the re-development of Seawall Lot 337 is next week (2/14), and we’re liking the direction the front runners appear to be headed.

While the concept is in the early stages, the Giants-Cordish proposal will likely include a 4,000- or 5,000-seat theater, which could provide a home for Cirque Du Soleil, which currently sets up its tents on the site every other year. While the package may include housing, its biggest inspiration is Chicago’s 25-acre, $500 million Millennium Park [pictured above], said Larry Baer, chief operating officer for the Giants. Millennium Park has a skating rink, a theater for music and dance, and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, a band shell designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry with 4,000 fixed seats plus lawn seating for 7,000.

Build it bold and we will come.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by luvinmissionbay

    I know this is all speculation right now but does anyone have any idea how long the development could take. ie. is it something that could be started soon or is it more likely they would wait until more of Mission Bay (south of the canal) is developed.

  2. Posted by anoncomplainer

    In Chicago’s park pavilion they get famous dance, visiting orchestras and classic jazz, while WE get a “performing” space for Cirque du Soleil!?
    Give me a break. Will San Francisco ever grow up?
    BTW, this photo is rather old, for there are many more new towers surrounding the park, and the “Silver Cloud” sculture is now finished.
    (It was being built inside the white cube in this picture). The new 150 story Chicago Spire condo structure is going to be adjacent to the park also. It would take San Farncisco 100 years to create this type of density and showcase architecture.

  3. Posted by PartyPooper

    Don’t get too excited folks.
    This is San Francisco not Chicago.
    Remember the Brannan Street Wharf project just up the street at Piers 30-32?
    That sucker took years to approve and then eventually the developer draged it out longer by excercising it’s option years before ultimately pulling the plug.
    Many meetings, years, and dreams later – Kaboom is the only thing going strong and even Pier 36 which was supposed o be demolished and the Park created in it’s place have been scuttled.
    And by the way – there is apparently $15 million sitting in an escrow account that the developer walked away from – that the city is sitting on and not using for the Wharf.
    Politics? San Francisco? Yes. Yes.
    I hope for a better outcome in Mission Bay – but let’s all remember this is a quirky joint.

  4. Posted by Davd

    Don’t forget that Millennium park was funded by additional taxes rammed through by King Daley with a totally subservient city council.
    Newsome, for all his boyish good looks, is not King Daley, nor does he exercise the same vision and raw political power. With the structure of politics here, I don’t think it’s possible to have as powerful a mayor as Daley. This guy got his buddies to bulldoze Meigs Field at the stroke of midnight when the lease expired (avoiding the city council renewing it the next morning) to ruin any chance of that airport continuing in existence. Could you ever see Newsom ordering that?
    Millennium Park is great, but as the posters above state, there’s little chance of that getting replicated here.
    Chicago’s glory is due to a benevolent dictator. Seriously.

  5. Posted by Jamie

    On SWL 337, I believe the Port has a pretty aggressive calendar to get things going there. Its probably covered in the minutiae of documents on the Port’s web site regarding SWL 337.
    In regards to the Brannan Street Wharf, I have some hope that the passage of Proposition A will top off the money needed to get that eyesore fixed up … although I still hear the Naked Eyes song “Promises, Promises” in my head whenever I think about it.

  6. Posted by city vision

    an indoor performance venue in a waterfront location is a pathetic, offensive, inappropriate affront to the city. something that is insular and indoors does not need to be on the waterfront. that’s what places like Stockton do. If you’re sitting inside and enclosed dark arena, you could be freaking anywhere. If it’s not oriented to the waterfront, it doesn’t belong on the waterfront.

  7. Posted by Mole Man

    The destruction of Meigs Field was a tragedy for humanity. The complex geography of San Francisco also works against this kind of grand urban scheme and in favor of smaller neighborhoods and pockets of density.

  8. Posted by me

    Build it bold and we will come?? Have we learned nothing about the Transbay terminal and tower competition?? This is San Francisco, land of dull, bland, uninspired. We will be teased with a world class state of the art facility, we will be given Pelli’s leftovers.

  9. Posted by invented

    Thank you city vision! And, has anyone noticed that Mission Bay is wholly oriented AWAY from the water? The lightrail should be running along a waterfront boulevard with the retail core positioned there. In 5 years when MB built out one will easily spend an entire day there without ever seeing the bay. Might as well be anywhere. It’s inward not outward. As for Millenium Park we have no real density here to support the cultural magnet which brings in non-circus/sports institutions. We are a very adept public relations machine that would have even us believe we’re a big city. With a tiny city population of 800,000 We are 1/3 the size of just one of NYC’s 5 boroughs – Queens.

  10. Posted by Me

    Yes thats the spirit everyone!

  11. Posted by fluj

    I know that there are a lot of private projects on hold right now while the city decides what to do with what are to be Bay side green spaces. I don’t know much about the Chicago stuff. But I do know that UCSF Mission Bay is up and running and sort of an island at this point. Because of its presence and the interest of the Giants I’d be pretty surprised if this got sidetracked into oblivion.

  12. Posted by invented checker

    invented, last time I checked we were a metro of 7 million people. SF is not a standalone city and neither is New York. Even ignoring the rest of the metro area, SF is still one of the largest cities in the US. You don’t have to be the biggest to be “big”.

  13. Posted by anonarch

    “an indoor performance venue in a waterfront location is a pathetic, offensive, inappropriate affront to the city”
    THANK YOU City Vision, I could not agree more. Even with Chicago’s nasty climate, they chose to have a brilliant outdoor space. You have to experience it for yourself to understand how amazing Millennium Park is. Gehry’s bandshell, surrounded by a cityscape on three sides, and the waterfront on the other is one of the great urban spaces created in the last hundred years. People everywhere, art, restaurants, amazing gardens of all different variety, and NO HOMELESS, no graffiti, no problems. The place is so popular that if anyone tried to cause a problem, the many visitors would stop it immediatly.
    Anyone who loves urban life has to see this place to believe it. The most interesting thing about that park is that like Mission Bay, it was a railroad yard, and they also have been very clever in how they put hundreds of underground parking spaces without it looking like a parking garage.

  14. Posted by spencer

    “an indoor performance venue in a waterfront location is a pathetic, offensive, inappropriate affront to the city”
    Complete agree. leave cirque du soleil for vegas. let’s have a nice park by the water with outdoor concerts, etc.

  15. Posted by Jamie

    It’ll be interesting to see if UCSF’s hospital gets built in Mission Bay as they hope … money being the missing link of course.

  16. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    SF can learn many lessons from the city of Chicago. Not the least of which is the lesson Daniel Burnham imparted to Chicago and the city has taken to heart “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will not themselves be realized.”
    SF ignored Burnham’s plans once where as Chicago embraced them. and now is a city that has managed to embrace it’s past while still looking to the future.
    I would love to see SF correct this mistake and learn ‘to make no small plans’.

  17. Posted by dotcomsr

    the problem with San francisco is that we are too left and always try to take in everyone’s opinion when only the opinion of those who have their skin in the game should count.
    The city needs to build build build and let go the notion that those who can’t afford to live here have the ‘right’ to simply because they are poor. Affordable public housings are for those who’s unfit to compete in this economy. MOVE to Stockton where there are plenty of housing for cheap!
    Once we get to of the commies that lives in SF, we will be able to grow into a world class city.

  18. Posted by yum

    Yes and name calling is the best way to get to become a world class citizenry!

  19. Posted by seehsee

    Anonarch: Ditto. I was in Chicago over the summer attending a trade event. Every evening I jogged in and around Millenium Park. It was beautiful and so full of people enjoying themselves–and free of graffiti, vagrants, and garbage or filth. As I have thought many times visiting such attractions in other cities: “If only we had something like this in San Francisco.” But then I have to imagine how our city would behave around and take care of it, and I realize we’re just not ready for it.

  20. Posted by Gabriel

    i’ve been to Millenium park many times. It definitely has some strong points.. but it’s not the end-all-be-all of public spaces.
    in fact, i’d venture to say that Millenium park has nothing on Golden Gate Park. furthermore, does any city in this country have anything as grand as GGPark..? didn’t think so.
    And what about the transformation of the Embarcadero over the past decade or so.. That’s coming along nicely — albeit somewhat stalled in certain areas.. but it’s still impressive and shows off the city quite nicely — much in the same way MP does in chicago.
    I’m tired of people using chicago as the example of success in regards to urban planning/building. i was there last week.. and frankly other than 3 standout new buildings.. everything else being built is bland circa 1980’s chicago style highrise condominiums. cookie cutter architecture. not exactly exciting stuff, IMHO.

  21. Posted by ex SF-er

    “does any city in this country have anything as grand as GGPark..?”
    you’ve got to be kidding.
    there are many cities that have wonderful in-city parks. off the top of my head: Central Park (Manhattan) and Forest Park (St.Louis) and Forest Park (Portland). There is also Balboa Park (San Diego). There is also also Washington DC, which has AMAZING green space around the various memorials. (the national Mall, Rock Creek Park, National Zoological park, the 2 potomac parks the national arboretum… there is also the “chain of lakes” in Minneapolis.
    having lived off GG Park for 15 years, I honestly would put Central Park way ahead of GG Park. I like Forest park St. Louis better as well, but it has a crime issue. I’d also put DC’s parks ahead of SF. As well as Minneapolis’.
    If you count Portland’s Japanese Garden as part of their central Forest Park, then I like Portland’s better too. It has the best and biggest and most authentic Japanese Garden outside of Japan (recognized as such by Japan). But Portland’s centralized park is more of an urban oasis and less of a museum/things to do sort of Park… so it’s different.
    I do like SF’s GG park better than SD’s Balboa park, although their zoo is obviously awesome and I like the layout of their Museum row better.
    I do like GG park better than Millenium Park. But again, they’re nothing alike. Millenium Park isn’t a green space it’s a performance space. And it’s small. GG park is very large.

  22. Posted by ex SF-er

    also,
    one really can’t compare Chicago to San Francisco. They are different scales. Chicago is so much bigger. It really is funny to me how people try to mash SF in with metro areas like Manhattan and Chicago and LA and Paris and London and all that.
    SF is TINY compared to those metro areas
    Why not compare SF to a comparable sized metro area? Like DC or Boston or Atlanta or something
    It’s like when people try to compare Austin Tx (a very cool small city) to SF. You really can’t in a meaningful way because the cities are so different in terms of scale.
    SF is a great place, despite it’s modest size. It has many world attractions. Architecture never has been and never will be it’s strong suit. And you know what… that’s ok. It never will be the forefront of urbanism… and you know what… that’s ok too. Instead it is a good sized city with wondrous natural beauty and a distinct cultural heritage. and THAT is what makes it special.
    People DON’T go to SF for the buildings. They go to see the pretty city of hills on the ocean with the most famous Bridge and Alcatraz and to ride a cable car, as well as to take day trips to wine country and Monterery. They go to be around other non-straight white conservative male types. (i.e. Chinatown, Haight, Castro-although Castro obviously isn’t that gay anymore)
    Too many SFers are either too high on SF (comparing it to Manhattan… my goodness) or too negative about it (calling it a big toilet).
    You want my opinion on how to REALLY make SF a more beutiful place?
    Plant trees. And not those rediculous Palm trees. Real trees. BRING SOME GREEN TO THE CONCRETE!

  23. Posted by zig

    The Bay Area as a metro is actually rather large and SF is more dense than Chicago and LA
    I don’t see any reason why SF can’t be discussed in the same conversation as Chicago though Chicago is obviously bigger. In fact, I see much more in common between SF and the inner Bay Area and Chicago than I do between LA and Chicago
    Sometimes jurisdictional boundaries are rather arbitrary
    I see no reason why the Bay Area couldn’t support a Millennium Park if there was the political will

  24. Posted by zig

    To the comment about Golden Gate Park it is really not comparable to Millennium Park which is highly accessible and very urban
    To be honest, and I grew up going to Golden Gate Park, 80% of it is isolated and not very useful and much of it was looking dowdy in recent decades. I am excited with some of the new additions (bringing some along kicking and screaming) that are making it interesting again but again other than the eastern end it isn’t very accessible to the city

  25. Posted by sabrina

    These comments are interesting. As someone who has lived in SF and now lives in Chicago, there are some things you can compare between the cities and some you cannot.
    Millennium Park was almost a disaster. It was only supposed to cost $150 million and ended up costing $500 million.
    It is built over the train tracks and was structurally very difficult (and expensive) to achieve.
    It wasn’t all paid for by taxes by King Daley. Sorry.
    About $270 million was paid for by bonds backed by the parking garage that sits underneath it and a Central Loop TIF fund. The remaining $230 million came from private donors.
    It is an amazing addition to the downtown. It IS clean and very heavily trafficked by police. During the summer, the park district offers free yoga classes on the weekends. All of the concerts in that great bandshell are free.
    Not far away, in Grant Park but near Millennium Park, the city offers a free film festival in the summer where they show movies on big screens in the park. Thousands show up.
    Remember, it is not the only park in Chicago. It’s very small. I would compare it more to the Marina Green in size. Grant Park, Lincoln Park and Jackson Park (to the south) all dwarf it.
    The Spire, the 150 story high rise that is currently under construction and hopes to be the tallest residential structure in the world, is NOT near Millennium Park. It is on the other side of the Chicago River, near Navy Pier.
    Yes, some of the new buildings going up in Chicago are bland. But that’s bound to happen when you have 30 to 50 new high rises being built within the span of only five years. You’re not going to hit a home run every time.
    I don’t know about density in the two cities, but the Lakeview neighborhood is one of the densest in the country.
    I always felt that San Francisco could use its waterfront so much better than it does. It has made some strides towards that in recent years, with the renovation of some of the piers. And the Ferry Building is just magnificent.
    Chicago is renovating the old Metra train station in the loop into a “metra market” and I’ve hoped they can create something like what is in the Ferry Building. A french company that runs farmers markets is supposed to open in there (if the renovation ever gets off the ground.)
    Parts of the South Loop in Chicago remind me of the Mission development a bit. Both were very industrial and have train tracks etc. but are near downtown.

  26. Posted by concreteanonymous

    Seriously, all those towers in the photo look so generic and soulless.. I am GLAD San Francisco doesn’t look like that and I hope it never ever ever ever ever will!! Yuck.

  27. Posted by David

    The TIF fund is taxes. Again, TIFs have been pushed through by King Daley. I don’t have any problem with it, I wish I still lived in Chicago, as it’s a far more livable city than this pit, but unfortunately I work in biotech and Chicago has no biotech industry to speak of. *I voted early and often for King Daley*:) Heck, I mailed in my ballot even though I don’t live there anymore, and I’m sure it was counted;)
    SF does not compare to Chicago at all in terms of size. You talk about the metro area of the Bay? Come on, then we should talk about the Chicago ‘burbs too (which contain by themselves about as many people as the entire Bay Area, and then you have the city of Chicago proper, which has about 4 times as many people as SF). The total Chicago+burb has over 9.5M people in 7200 sq miles (1300 people/sq mile). The entire Bay Area has 7.2M people, if you go out to the full 9 county area, spread out over 7,000 sq miles (~1,000 people/sq mi). So actually, the city and burbs of Chicago are 30% denser than here.
    SF proper might be more dense (15,800 people/sq mile) than the entire city of Chicago (at 12,500 people/sq mile, that includes some less dense neighborhoods, along with much more parkland than SF contains), but the “Bay Area” certainly is not more dense than Chicagoland.
    I’m with ex SF-er–Walk around north-side Chicago neighborhoods and compare them with SF’s nicer ‘hoods. You’ll notice a few things:
    1) No stinking bums. Of course they’re like mosquitoes, in Chicago they freeze to death every winter.
    2) No graffiti. General cleanliness.
    3) TREES lining the streets.
    4) Houses and 2 or 3 flats with nice little yards
    5) Slow mass transit, but mass transit that actually gets you places and doesn’t kill people.
    6) At least as many stores and restaurants (probably more) and definitely more bars.
    7) Much younger residents, and people actually have children, not just dogs.
    8) People don’t generally feel the need to tell you how to live your life (vote Democrat/Socialist, be vegan, don’t drive, etc).
    9) Chicagoans aren’t afflicted with a disproportionate and unjustifiable civic narcissism
    10) People in Chicago work like dogs. Ergo, coffee shops actually open at, say, 4:30 am.

  28. Posted by baywind

    Chicago- American’s third most populated but most forgotten city. Chicawho??

  29. Posted by nativeamericansanfranciscan

    Biotech in Chicago?? LOL. Isn’t the fastest growing job there Deep Dish Pizza Maker?

  30. Posted by David checker

    David,
    The Bay Area metro is the second most dense metro area in the US after the LA metro, and both are FAR more dense than the Chicago metro (and the New York metro):
    http://www.civic-strategies.com/onlib/lessons/09.html
    The numbers you’re looking at include all of the area covered by the Bay and mountains.

  31. Posted by anon

    David Checker, I don’t understand this whole density fascination of yours. Are you saying that the more people you have living on top of eachother makes a city superior? Does that mean that Shanghai is a “better” city than San Francisco? If Chicago has more transit and parks, but less density, does it loose in your scale of urban lists? In Chicago you can go out and get a cab within a minute, take trains in to almost every neighborhood AND suburb, and walk without being asked for money and stepping over poopers. I don’t know much about which city is more dense, but Chicago has perhaps the most spectacular skyline in the world.

  32. Posted by fluj

    To all the folks slamming G.G. Park, how can you not like the new De Young and the Academy of Sciences, right across from one another? You want to talk about dynamic design and juxtaposition. Factor in the grounds and the bandshell? That’s fantastic right there. That whole part of the park is amazing, really. From the Conservatory of Flowers southwest … put that part of the park up against any part of any other urban park. It’ll stack up.

  33. Posted by David checker

    anon @ 7:08am,
    I’m merely interested in facts. David stated several things in his post that were blatantly untrue or misleading at best. No, density doesn’t necessarily make something better – but if someone says something that isn’t true in any way, I will correct it. Misconceptions are formed by people masquerading untruth as fact.

  34. Posted by vox

    If the Giants get the chance to do this project, it will be a really cool place and appropriately sized to the scale of SF.
    The Giants ballpark is arguably the coolest in MLB and by no means (thank god) the largest.

  35. Posted by David

    You’re being silly, “David checker.”
    Here’s one source:
    http://www.bayareavision.org/bayarea/index.html
    Quote: The San Francisco Bay Area, located in Northern California, consists of nine counties, 101 cities, and comprises 7,000 square miles. All of the region’s nine counties share the San Francisco Bay. With 7.1 million residents, the San Francisco Bay Area is the fifth most populous metropolitan area in the United States.
    I can’t use the mountains and greenspace in my calculations? Then you can’t use numerous (and more usable) Chicago parkland and farmland in the ‘burbs in yours. Population density is measured by people per square mile. Period.
    The fact is, you have 7.1M people on 7000 sq miles here, which is 1,000 people/sq mi. In Chicago and the burbs, you have 9.5M people on 7200 sq miles.
    Chicagoland is denser than the SF Bay Area. All you have to do is actually look at the numbers and maybe even look at Chicago. Compare the East Bay with city neighborhoods (outside the high rises, which are analogous to SF). You have houses and 2 and 3 and 4 flats even on 3125 sq ft lots. The East Bay has SFRs all on 3500, 4000, 4500 and up lots. Right there you get way more density in Chicago than your “inner Bay Area.” (Oakland has 7000 people/sq mile, my old hood in Chicago which had no condo towers has 12,000 people/sq mile). And the Bay Area just gets less dense from there.
    SF proper is more dense than Chicago proper, but once you throw in the rest of the Bay Area, it’s 30% less dense than Chicago+Chicago suburbs. Period.
    Next time, get YOUR facts straight before stating I’m spouting untruths.

  36. Posted by David

    Actually, nativeSFan, Chicago has a very diversified economy that reflects the national economy quite well. However, despite SFer’s fantasies to the contrary, biotech is a tiny percentage of the US economy, and therefore a tiny percentage of Chicago’s economy (although they do have a few firms, and Abbott labs).
    Google, for example now has about 15,000 employees, and has been around for, what, 8 years? Genentech, the world’s largest biotech has around 10,500 employees and has been around for 30 years.
    Just think. It took Detroit 60 years to go from start-up car city to dominating the world to a ghost town. Don’t think that can happen with SF and tech? After the tech companies outsource, move to cheaper places, etc etc. We’re still on the first half of Detroit’s curve. How long till we’re sliding down the second half?

  37. Posted by David checker

    David,
    Your numbers are including the BAY (which is water, in case you didn’t know) and completely undeveloped areas – should the Bay Area metro include all the way to the edges of Santa Clara county, even though development stops at the mountains? What kind of sense does that make? Chicago area counties happen to line up more closely to where development ends – they don’t here. You’re using ridiculous semantics that the Census Bureau and other reputable orgs would scoff at, simply to prove your point. If you want to include half of Lake Michigan in with your numbers, maybe then we could include the Bay.

  38. Posted by anon

    This discussion about density is curious to me because I had never thought of San Jose as part of San Francisco since San Jose is the larger city. Are these two urban areas, which are so far apart by distance really THAT economically connected? I know about Google busses and all, but isn’t San Francisco’s economy more based on tourism and entertainment? My Palo Alto friends come up to the city about three times a year, and I mention this because they actually take more trips to Southern California where they have a vacation condo in Palm Springs, than they do to San Francisco! If San Francisco were to fall into the sea, it would not have the same impact on the country that San Jose-Palo Alto- Peninsula would. Downtown Chicago is the center of that urban region,where as the Bay Area has more in common with the sprawl of Arizona, Atlanta, or Los Angeles. The Density was not a desire to live an urban lifestyle, but caused by mountains and water.

  39. Posted by Boris and Natasha

    anon,
    SF’s largest industry may (depends on how you measure different industries) be the largest in the city, but that does not mean that SF’s economy is “based on tourism” – tourism accounts for an estimated $7.5 billion, yet the SF economy is larger than $30 billion. Golly, the SF budget is over $6 billion, making government spending almost as important as tourism.
    As to your question of the whether the areas are economically connected? Remember the dotcom bust? Did that not affect SF? If the bad effects SF, would not also the good?
    And one last thing – SJ is really the bedroom community of Silicon Valley – it’s the largest city in the US to lose population during the day. The economic engines of the peninsula and South Bay are the cities from Palo Alto to Santa Clara. The remainder of the peninsula cities aren’t slouches either, especially with SSF and the biotech cluster.

  40. Posted by David

    “Davidchecker”
    You are WRONG. Period.
    http://www.bayareavision.org/bayarea/index.html
    The Bay Area has a land area of 4.4 million acres (excluding bay waters and large lakes). In 2000, approximately 16 percent (or about 700,000 acres) of the region’s total acreage was developed for urban use. Of those developed acres, 61 percent are residential and 42 percent are non-residential (e.g., employment, government, schools, and major infrastructure).
    4.4M acres equals 7,000 sq miles.
    Get your F***ing facts straight. It’s 5 seconds of Googling, dude.

  41. Posted by anon

    Why can’t San Francisco take advantage of its “brand” the way Chicago has? Our setting and climate are so much better, so what is going wrong? The point is not who has more density or biotech jobs, for these do not create a “Millennium Park.” Chicago is able to create things like the Michigan Avenue Shopping District and Millennium Park because they have continued over the decades to attract business to locate in the central city. Fortune 500 companies have actually chosen to relocate to Chicago and not to its suburbs. What that city has done is really quite simple.
    A.) Clean up the streets
    B.) Increase Safety and Police
    C.) Encourage downtown developement of housing and entertainment
    D.) Rebuild almost all Cultural Attractions
    Voila…They have almost created an entirely new central city. While we have to include suburbs 30 miles away to justify our “uniqueness”, suburban Chicagoans are buying condos in towers adjacent to Millennium Park and moving back to the city. I believe we could make San Francisco into the superstar city it keeps telling itself it is, but the first thing we need to do is stop ignoring the problems, and start learning from our mistakes, OR we may be left on the sidelines while other urban areas continue to surpass us.
    It does not speak well for a “city” when Cirque du Soleil is a “cultural institution”, its main newspaper is The Chronicle, and the classical music station is programmed to keep most music to 4.5 minute segments. I dream that someday we can have a waterfront park without a circus, and a downtown that is as clean and safe as Chicago has created.

  42. Posted by sabrina

    Chicago is attracting a lot of young people right now because, frankly, they’re priced out of the insanity that is NY and SF real estate- even in apartment rentals.
    They hear from their friends who go to these cities for summer internships or jobs and realize that their $30,000 will go a heck of a lot farther in Chicago than anywhere else- and there is Wrigley Field all summer long to boot.
    One other thing I noticed that actually sets the cities apart and that, love him or hate him, Mayor Daley has pushed, is the flowers and beautification of the city.
    He’s a big advocate of planting flowers.
    I always thought, why don’t they have flowers in Union Square? Can’t they hang some around the streets down there like they do all over downtown Chicago?
    SF has so much natural beauty that I think people forget that even that can be enhanced.
    There used to be a beef with Da Mayor that he only beautified key parts of downtown- but I live in an area not anywhere near the Mag Mile and there are hanging flower planters on my street.
    Also, if you drive down Stony Island to the Skyway on the far south side of the city, the median in that road has some lovely flowers planted- instead of weeds growing or whatnot- in an only so-so neighborhood.
    It makes a statement as soon as you get off the highway.

  43. Posted by David checker

    David,
    Yes, you are correct. In your words, I made a “F***ing mistake”. You still didn’t answer my other point though – that it’s ridiculous to include entire counties when only one half is really part of the metro area. Counties are lines on a map. The hundreds of square miles of COMPLETELY undeveloped land in southern Santa Clara county or western Marin county or western Sonoma county, etc, etc is in no part a part of the metro area.

  44. Posted by anon checker

    anon @ 6:51 pm,
    I agree with many of your points and wish that we could do much of the same. But the reason that we won’t? We don’t have to.
    Your first line says it all – “Our setting and climate are so much better, so what is going wrong?” We don’t have to build a better city, because people will come and stay simply because of the setting and climate – and come in droves, as they have for a long time. A part of me wishes that we had a worse climate or less natural beauty – then maybe we could get some of the cool stuff that Chicago has.

  45. Posted by Native_Son

    I visited Chicago a few times when a good friend was at Northwestern for medical school. Nice town; I liked it a lot. However, for those comparing SF to Chicago, to me, personally, there is no comparison. I’m a California boy and anytime the temp drops below 55, I’m wearing a scarf. Yes, miserable Midwesterners, scoff if you will, but while I’m surfing in February, Chicagoans are cussing in their beers. Life is waaaay too short to live in that weather. I drive to the snow, I’ll never live in it. Which is also one of the reasons why Chicago has a helluva lot less homeless than SF.
    Another thing, although I know people who have left for or talk about or think about or fantasize about leaving SF for NYC and, yes, l.a., I never hear anyone say the same about Chicago. To see the Cubs at Wrigley, maybe, but to live? Never. Hell, Seattle and Portland get more play than Chicago. Meanwhile, walk around downtown and ask any random 30 year old where they’re from. Chances they’re transplants. I’m not saying that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I’m just saying.

  46. Posted by Jules

    Native Son, most people move for career reasons, not for weather. Do some googling on who is leaving California and who is coming in. It is rather shocking to say the least. I have lived in Chicago myself, and rented in a tower that was mostly professionals that had recently moved to that city. You would be suprised how many California license plates with G, K and M stickers from the city I saw in the parking garage! The New York Times did an amazing article a while back about the numbers of Californians moving to the Midwest, and I would do what my friends in Chicago do in the winter, which is take my vacations somewhere warm in the Winter instead of the Summer. I still miss the warm Summer evenings there btw.

  47. Posted by Cary

    Sabrina & ConcreteAnonymous,
    My situation is almost opposite yours. My wife and I are native Chicagoans who moved to SF in 2005. After two years we left, disappointed.
    I would agree with your comments almost 100%. Chicago is a city without the natural beauty and climate of SF, but one that has made much of what it has. For all SF’s posturing about inclusiveness, any Summer weekend, Chicago’s Lakefront is much more inclusive. Much of the population goes biking, swimming, rollerblading, boating, picnicing, to concerts, food festivals, and farmer’s markets.
    The photograph is misleading. Immediately to the east of Millenium Park is a wall of turn of the century office buildings which are the pride of Chicago Architecture. As was described, the overall effect of Millenium Park is wonderful, classicism to the east, modernism to the north, Grant Park to the south, and Lake Michigan to the east.
    Cary

  48. Posted by David

    Davidchecker,
    you’re not getting off that easy. Yeah, big parts of Sonoma etc are undeveloped. So are big parts of Kane County and Lake County etc near Chicago, but are included in the metro area. The fact is, by “standard” definitions of each (huge) metro area, Chicagoland is denser than the SF Bay area. You win on SF proper, lose on the suburban sprawl.
    Native-son. I understand your point about the weather. Some people just can’t stand the winter (usually those who grew up in more temperate areas). A lot of the transplants to Chicago are other Midwesterners (i.e. the first stop for Michiganders as that state rapidly empties). As for transplants from SF out here–a lot of them cash in their houses, are like you and have lived here awhile and therefore only go up and down the coast to Oregon and Seattle, with a few that venture inward, but never east of Denver. It’s always been amazing to me as one who regularly traveled between the midwest and here and who has lived both places for decent chunks of time, how few people from California ever go east of the Rockies.
    As to crying in your beer in winter, yeah, Chicago’s winters aren’t for the timid. However, you get 5-6 months of eating outside AT NIGHT and not having to wear a parka and scarf like you do here YEAR-ROUND. But yeah, those other 4 months can be brutal.
    The question is more–Do you hate winter more than you like summer? If you do, then coastal Cali is the right weather for you. If you don’t, then you should try Chicago out.

  49. Posted by MH

    We should be so lucky as to get a plan on the caliber of Chicago’s….gut don’t get excited…as Chicago has a vision and SF/SF Giants have Cordish (check out their website to get a idea of what they develop—shopping malls near sports facilities.

  50. Posted by David checker

    David,
    http://www.usc.edu/schools/sppd/private/documents/masters/postsprawl/whosprawls_usc.ppt#280,8,Slide 8
    Pay close attention to pages seven and eight. For the past fifty years, the West has been sprawling at MUCH higher density than the Midwest – hence sprawl in the Bay Area is several times as dense as sprawl in Chicagoland. That, coupled with the already higher density of the core here compared to the core in Chicago, leads to much higher density here.
    Density of pro sports teams is another good way of measuring things 😉

  51. Posted by anoncomplainer

    What in the world does DENSITY have to do with this group wanting to claim to build a park like Millennium Park in Chicago, when it is looking instead more like a park for a circus, with shopping and sports themed restaurants? I would rather pay some respect to a grown up city that can put together something like Millennium Park than a smug city that is constantly pounding its chest about how “world class” and urban it is, and how it reigns supreme because of greater density.

  52. Posted by David

    I use math. you use pretty pictures.
    Thanks. Case closed.

  53. Posted by WantingBetterPlanning

    Not sure who David Checker is, but turning a thread about how to change the city waterfront into something more desirable into a discussion about which city has a great population density is beyond stupid. Nice way to destroy any thoughtful ideas for a city that DOES need to look outside its own borders to see how others just might be doing some things better. Can you imagine someone showing visitors from a higher desnity third world city around Paris and being told, “who cares about your architecture, parks and museums, our population density is greater, therefore we are a surperior city”.

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