Looks like the Berkeley City Council is about ready to officially give the finger to urban sprawl, opting instead for a taller, denser Downtown Berkeley. What does this mean for you (and your weekend,) you wonder? Mo’ housing, mo’ jobs, mo’ foot traffic and maybe some hotels aiming to scrape the East Bay sky higher than any Berkeley edifice has done befo’. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to us. Being Berkeley though, someone’s bound to find something to fuss about. Here’s the conflict:

Environmental activists are down with verticality, building-wise, they guess, according the rationale that more density will allow people to live closer to where they work and thus engage in acts of environmental ultra-violence (like driving a car) less. However, they worry that taller buildings won’t necessarily be green or community friendly in terms of things like environmentally friendly building standards and providing affordable housing. God knows, Downtown Berkeley apartments generally keep out riff-raff like us with prohibitively expensive degrees of swankiness. A lot of suspicion is also generated by the plan’s super shady driving forces …

UC Berkeley: Looking to develop 800,000 square feet of space for “nonacademic uses,” whatever that means.

The Association of Bay Area Governments: Which is mandating that Berkeley build at least 2,700 new housing units by 2014 to ease our lopsided population-to-apartment ratio. See for yourself–Berkeley is the densest city in NorCal outside of San Francisco and Daly City.

Hotels: Which will be the only buildings allowed to reach heights of 225 feet, 45 feet taller than any other building in the city. Hospitality brings in tax bank, it seems.

The city council will vote on this by July 14.

Image Source: /\/\ichael Patric|{ under Creative Commons.
Berkeley wrestles with downtown development [SF Chron]

Ricardo Gomez said:
Jul 8, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Fuck yes!!!! Berkeley needs more housing unitz. Also an 800,000 square foot university-owned massage parlor.

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