MAY | Missing Teeth
Every neighborhood seems to have one: a gap in the fabric, a missing tooth, an empty lot, a derelict building. Some cities have more of them than others. The ‘rust belt’ of the United States includes cities formally dominated by industries now in steep decline, with abandoned factories, empty homes, abandoned businesses and closed schools taking up more real estate than actively inhabited parcels. Even here in San Francisco where real estate is at a premium, our industrial past has left some holes; disconnections between past land use and the current life continuing on around it.
There is a large parcel of vacant ex-industrial land that forms a triangular hinge between Potrero Hill, the California College of Arts (CCA) community, and the explosive growth of the Mission Bay developments. The remains of a former paint factory were demolished in 2000-2001. All 136,968 ft2 (excluding the abandoned Daggett Street right of way) were purchased in November of 2002 by Cherokee Investment Partners, a North Carolina Investment group specializing in brownfield redevelopment. The city has approved plans for an urban mixed use development on the site. Even on much smaller scales, people around the world are trying to relate to these gaps in new and useful ways.
Take a walk around your neighborhood, around your job, or just get off the bus a few stops later than usual. Keep your eyes peeled as you drive or bike around town. Are there any missing teeth, no matter how small? What would you propose for the gap, either as a temporary intervention or a more permanent one? How would you activate, enjoy, re-purpose, or transform the gap into a valuable piece of the neighborhood fabric?
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