Building housing in the Bay Area is a long and arduous process—high construction costs, environmental review, and complex local regulatory frameworks all extend the timeframe. An unfortunate effect of this is that development sites, often vacant lots, sit unused for long periods of time while financing, approvals, and design takes place.
The Bay Area has a pioneering history of tactical urbanism associated with underutilized streetscapes, and now a new form of interim strategy is emerging, focusing on developable land. Local governments, housing developers, and designers are looking for ways to derive benefit from these sites more immediately, and are increasingly asking “How can we transform our unused sites for the betterment of surrounding communities?”
This panel will explore the challenges and opportunities of interim uses for the development community and will examine innovative uses that address pressing social issues such as homelessness. Panelists will present examples of their own work and experience in this realm. The conversation that follows will be about the logistic restrictions and creative possibilities for these available sites, and discussion will focus on how we can better leverage the span of time taken by the lengthy design, development, and approvals process to temporarily transform these urban environments with engaging and beneficial uses.