Friends of San Diego Architecture // Michael Stepner and Frank Wolden

Street address
1249 F Street, San Diego CA 92101

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$5 donation suggested. Students are free.

More information is available at or from President Catherine Darragh, (619) 224-8584.

Michael Stepner, FAIA, FAICP, professor at NewSchool of Architecture & Design and Frank Wolden, artist, urban theorist and owner of Skyport Studio will be discussing Mission Valley. The future of Qualcomm Stadium and the possible loss of the Chargers has taken up a lot of press time, but the stadium is just one small piece of the 2500 acres of land that comprise this vital parcel. A viable plan for the whole area is far more important to the general public than the stadium. Mission Valley could become a model for other communities in San Diego looking to develop a sustainable future through careful planning.

Since 1985 the Mission Valley Community Plan has followed a specific outline for all the development and new construction built in the valley, but times have changed in 30 years. Mission Valley is burdened with growing pains! It has many problems which need to be addressed: traffic-choked streets; a lack of sidewalks, bike paths, schools and parks; a river underutilized; a stadium in question; and construction in various stages of development. It has four major freeways and transit, so it’s easy to get there. Once you get there, it is not that easy to get around.

There are 6 huge projects in various stages of development: Civita, with one residential neighborhood already open; Town and Country Resort with submitted plans, including a renovated hotel; Union-Tribune project, under review; Camino Del Rio (Bob Baker Ford lot), approved; Hazard Center, approved; and Riverwalk Golf Course, in planning stage.

Last year, Stepner and Wolden worked with 40 of their students at NewSchool, instructing them to imagine the possibilities for Mission Valley. They analyzed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to the future of this community. Mission Valley was chosen to study because, unlike some communities which have been stretched to the limit on density, Mission Valley can accommodate more growth and be transformed into a walkable community through careful planning.

There will be many ideas presented today which came from the students’ research and analysis. Mission Valley and the teaching of architecture have both come a long way in 30 years. The students today work hands-on to solve real problems. There is no better way to prepare young professionals for the urban future.