I recently read an interesting article in the Union Tribune titled Italian planner marvels at San Diegos smart-growth tenets. It was fascinating hearing a Europeans point of view on San Diegos city planning and development. It is very popular for American architects and planners to travel to Europe to study how the Old World built cities, but Claudia Trillo did the opposite. Trillo is a Fulbright scholar, city planner and assistant professor at the University of Naples and spent the last six months in San Diego to see how this Southern California city battles sprawl with smart-growth principles. Smart growth is an urban planning and transportation theory that San Diego has embraced, concentrating on growth in the center of a city to avoid urban sprawl; and advocates compact, transit-oriented, walk-able, bicycle-friendly land use, including neighborhood schools, streets that work for everyone; mixed-use development with a range of housing choices.
Trillo studied under a SDSU professor and Italian transplant that acquainted Trillo with San Diego when he gave lectures in Naples. In this article she compares San Diego to parts of Italy with some interesting correlations. Trillo stated that, In the last few years, sprawl has been plaguing Europe, and San Diego has the reputation in worldwide planning circles for planning smart. She was particularly interested with San Diegos intertwining of local and regional interests and priorities through her research into local and state agencies that affect land-use decision stating that the, level of democratic discussion is much higher. European land-use controls tend to employ more national, top-down policies and requirements, compared to the United States, where local control is paramount. She plans to publish a book on best practices she noted in San Diego and to give a series of lectures this summer to colleagues at her university and for her clients so they can learn about Southern California land use. Check out this article to hear some of her opinions and suggestions for San Diego.