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Parks are a vital part to downtown and urban living.a concrete jungle does not suffice. Open spaces where city-dwellers can bike, run, bring their dogs and families, read, nap, or just enjoy some greenery really enriches a city environment. We have Balboa Park here in San Diego that is world renowned for its size, beauty and diversity, but there are so many buildings going up in downtown! Not to fear.

The recently developed Downtown Community Plan takes sensitivity to this. This plan calls for downtown to add more than 50 acres of open space to the existing 75 acres. The plan has prioritized seven new public open spaces that will reside centrally in each of downtowns various neighborhoods that will put every downtown resident within a ten minute walk from public open space.

The Downtown Community Plan outlines four types of open space that will enrich the downtown area as well as the quality of life for its residents and visitors:

1. Parks
‘Parks consist of large expanses of open space which are designed for active recreational and leisurely activities, as well as gatherings and events. Building height restrictions on southern and western blocks will allow infiltration of sunlight, and prevent heavy shading of the parks year round. Additionally, many new parks will contain underground parking, as a creative solution to increase downtown’s parking capacity.

2. Plazas & Pocket Parks
‘Flexible spaces and plazas, in conjunction with development projects, can serve as privately owned and maintained public space. Smaller “pocket parks,” with seating and landscaping, connect larger parks and create a linkage of green space. Linear “finger parks” can also be built along fault lines, to take advantage of otherwise unbuildable land. Many new buildings will also take advantage of the density bonuses granted to developers who design “green roofs” into their buildings, or landscaped tops that help reduce building runoff and improve water quality.

3. Green Streets
‘Designated green streets will serve as paths connecting downtown parks, the waterfront, neighborhood centers and other activity centers. Wider sidewalks and richer landscaping on these streets will extend the open space presence through the neighborhoods.

4. Freeway Lids
‘’Lids’ are envisaged to reconnect downtown to Balboa Park and Sherman Heights, spanning the I-5 in select locations and providing new open spaces to serve downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

5. Future Parks
‘CCDC has made the creation of open space and parks a priority. Several new parks are in the pipeline to compliment the existing space, and provide even more opportunity for rest, relaxation and recreation.

Click here to view a map of existing downtown San Diego Parks and future open space project locations.

All information from CCDC.com