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Re-Imagining National City


“If you don’t where you’re going, you might end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra


What lies ahead …

 Look north toward downtown San Diego  Major change at our doorstep  How to guide that change?  What to preserve/protect?  How to create the future?


Worth Preserving …       

Keen sense of community and pride Ethnic and economic diversity Cultural Identity Civic energy Relationships, not just commerce Scale Old Town


Challenges …

Undercapitalization Poverty: 25% / Home ownership: 35% Capital outflow Need for powerful, optimistic civic narrative about its future Leadership to propel that narrative Strong public education options High Unemployment


Threats … Displacement of long-time residents who built the city’s character Large, impersonal “cookie cutter” projects that erase civic character Loss of community and pride Loss of vibrant ethnic mix Low College Readiness Rates Underdevelopment of Workforce Skills Weak Civic Engagement


Econ Dev Strategic Community Building... Objectives…

•Welcoming environment for residents and tourist   -  Attractive gathering places,                   community hubs

•Walkability, bikeability, accessibility •Increased civic engagement •Community empowerment  •Leadership development


Econ Dev Strategic Economic Development... Objectives…

•Attract desired investment •Improve capital retention •Make NC’s downtown an attractive, vibrant urban hub •Develop workforce skills  •Support innovation, entrepreneurship •Incentivize desired industry clusters •Increase home ownership rate


Econ Dev Strategic Government Operations... Objectives…

Improve government accessibility Build and attract an engaged citizenry Streamline permit process Enhance transparency Focus engagement energy on big plans, big ideas


Econ Dev Strategic Transportation of tomorrow... Objectives…

 Affordable public transportation  Available public transportation  Embrace “smart” transportation alternatives  Explore the “car tech” future  Continued infrastructure improvement to keep pace


However . . .  Strategic objectives only begin to hint at community character . . .


And . . . Unlike most SoCal cities, National City has a unique, attractive, and important Community Character.


So therefore . . . Preserving, nurturing, strengthening National City’s unique character must be a strategic objective    in and of itself. 


Why Community Character Is Key

“Walkability” can be boring,


Why Community Character Is Key Must achieve economic development objectives by preserving and strengthening community character –"Welcoming Environment" –"Attractive Downtown"  –"Unique Cultural Experience“

What do these really mean? Anchored to what? What's over-arching vision embraces, excites city's aspirations? How to foster community empowerment to shape the future?


Basics of National City’s Character Keen sense of community and pride Ethnic and economic diversity Civic energy Relationships, not just commerce Human Scale Old Town Rich History Navy Town


“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood." – Daniel H. Burnham (1846-1912)                                           American architect and city planner 


Déjà vu ! (Chapter 1) …

Venice, CA


Déjà vu ! (Chapter 1) …

Venice, CA


Déjà vu ! (Chapter 1) …

Venice, CA – Pop-Up Mall


Déjà vu ! (Chapter 1) …

Venice, CA – Just Plain Fun


Déjà vu ! (Chapter 2) …

Berkeley, CA


Déjà vu ! (Chapter 2) …

Berkeley, CA


Déjà vu ! (Chapter 4) …

Hillcrest (San Diego)


Aha ! ! !

Roosevelt Ave., National City


Aha ! ! !

16th & Harding, National City


Aha ! ! !

Venice

National City


Aha ! ! !

Hillcrest

National City


Re-Imagining National City


Looking laterally for Narratives… Attracting millennials and “DINKS”


Looking laterally for narratives… Daniel and Susanna Profile:  What do they want?  Discretionary income  Free spenders (“DINKS”)  Approaching family formation  Looking to put down roots  Affordability is big factor  Educational debts  Considering high price of SoCal housing  Looking for security, diversity, community


Looking laterally for narratives‌

First-wave Urban Adventurers


Looking laterally for narratives…

Barrio Logan’s La Esquiña


Looking laterally for narratives…

Barrio Logan’s La Esquiña


Looking laterally for narratives…

Barrio Logan’s La Esquiña


Looking laterally for narratives…

Portland’s “Burnside Rocket” (Retail, office, restaurant; LEED Platinum)


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Affordable housing for young families


Looking laterally for narratives…

Albuquerque’s Plaza Ciudana


Looking laterally for narratives‌

A Haven for Young Families


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Round-the-clock occupancy


Looking laterally for narratives… Fostering inter-generational   cohesion


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Architect Teddy Cruz’ studies


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Architect Teddy Cruz’ studies


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Teddy Cruz: Casa Familiar


Looking laterally for narratives…

Santa Cruz: Granny flats (ADU’s)


Possible ways forward ‌

1. Allow long-term planning decisions, such as Specific Plan for Old Town NC, to guide incremental change 2. Develop compelling narrative of the future, gain support, propel it forward 3. Community Empowerment & Leadership Development


Imagining a new future … “Restaurant Row” Strategy

 Create a new regional dining destination zone

 Draw on National City’s incredibly rich and deep tradition of small ethnic restaurants  A whole greater than the sum of its parts


Imagining a new future … “Star-chitects” Strategy

 Fresh, slightly edgy urban enclaves  Preserve best of infill areas  Adapt some structures a la Venice, Berkeley, Hillcrest  Sprinkle with new look “spotlight” development


Imagining a new future … “Creative City” Strategy  West Hollywood experience  Architects, engineers, graphic designers, ad agencies, artisans


Imagining a new future … “Brooklyn by the Bay” Strategy  Ethnic and economic diversity  Restaurant haven  “DINKS” and “thirty-somethings”  Energy, livability, scale


Imagining a new future … “The Inter-National City” Strategy  Ethnic and economic diversity  Family friendly  Engaged citizenry  Flavor, vitality, livability


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: Calle Cuatro


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: Calle Cuatro


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: Calle Cuatro


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: Calle Cuatro


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: 4th St. Market


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: 4th St. Market


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: 4th St. Market


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: 4th St. Market


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: 4th St. Market


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: 4th St. Market


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: 4th St. Market


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: 4th St. Market


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: 4th St. Market


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: 4th St. Market


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: 4th St. Market


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: 4th St. Market


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: 4th St. Market


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: 4th St. Market


Looking laterally for narratives‌

Santa Ana: Calle Cuatro


Marketing Assets

(Dan and Susanna)

 Three major four-year universities within 25 minutes: 13,500 graduates per year  One highly regarded community college  A committed group of young, energetic National City leaders


Marketing Tools

(Dan and Susanna)

 On-campus recruitment by National City “In National City, you’ll have a chance to re-imagine a new city.” (Peace Corps)  Full-court press  First-time home buyers help  Help with loan debt?


Marketing Tools

(Dan and Susanna)

 In-city recruitment: “In National City, you’ll have a chance to build a new city.”  Receptions at Brick Row, the Marina, etc.  Meet city leadership  “Retail politicking”


Marketing Tools   

(Dan and Susanna)

Ads in campus papers, and online More PR visibility north of Division St. – radio/TV Showcase new development, housing types


Marketing Tools

(Dan and Susanna)

 Combine with full-court press recruitment of desired business types  “Small but mighty;” a “together” community  In National City, you always deal with decision-makers


Together We Can …  This is well within our grasp  The people in this room are the future of this city. You can do this !  Strength and success in alignment.


About Daniel and Susanna You need them to help start the ball rolling. Perhaps more important: They need you to help realize their dreams.


Public Policy Implications

• Commit Resources for Economic Development - Budget Allocation - Waiver of Fees to Incentivize development - Marketing & City Promotions • Permits – Craft Brewery – Tasting Rooms – Shared Space (Catering Kitchen)


Economic Development TEAM  National City Chamber of Commerce  Southwestern College Center for Business Advancement  City of National City  South County EDC  …NEW Economic Development Coalition


End

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