Copenhagenization, a term popularized by Jan Gehl, is the concept of developing vibrant urban life through gradual changes to how people move about within a city – primarily by prioritizing walking and bicycling over motorized transport. This blog is devoted to viewing the process of Copenhagenization from the perspective of San Francisco. But, of course, San Francisco is a unique environment which cannot merely imitate the practices of other cities. And despite how much San Franciscans like to complain about how walking and bicycling are subpar, how frequently Muni fails, and how public space is poorly allocated, we are doing a lot of innovative things in this unique city. PARK(ing) Day was born here and cities around the world are now replicating our parklet model, SFpark is the first experiment of its kind with demand-based pricing for parking, and bicycling is booming with only very meager improvements to the City's bicycle network. While we still have a lot of work to do to match the efforts of Copenhagen and elsewhere, I think we are approaching a point where we can begin to talk about a process of SanFranciscoization occurring. Though it is difficult to place a definition upon such a nebulous concept, I loosely define SanFranciscoization as the unique changes taking place to improve the quality of San Francisco's urban life – some changes are informed by the efforts of other cities; others are more original and are being replicated around the world.
|Market Street's separated bikeway, not even a year old here at Octavia Blvd, has attracted many more people to bicycle along San Francisco's main thoroughfare.|
Having been born and raised in San Francisco in the neighborhoods West of Twin Peaks, I have lived through much of the transformation which has already occurred. Despite how recent many of these developments have been, I now could not imagine not having Sunday Streets, the plaza in the Castro, or Market Street's separated bikeway. San Francisco continues to follow the principles developed by Jan Gehl and "it [truly is] great to live in a city where every day you wake up and the city has become a little bit better than it was the day before." Walking in the footsteps of similar blogs, it is my hope to not only chronicle San Francisco's move towards enhanced livability, but to promote discussion of hotly contested topics, including issues of equitable mobility and proper use of the public realm. This will not serve as a regular news source, but will provide commentary and discourse of many urban topics, from big picture issues to minute happenings. I am not entirely certain of where San Francisco will eventually end up, but it should be an interesting ride!