147 South River St, Suite 207
Santa Cruz, CA 95061
The Natural Bridges site is 11.1 acres north of Delaware Ave. and east of Shaffer Ave. on the western edge of Santa Cruz. Although presently zoned Industrial and used for agriculture, it has been designated a special study area by the Santa Cruz Planning Department. Thus mixed use is possible with a specific plan. Adjacent land uses are a trailer park and State Park to the south, an industrial plant (Silicon Systems) to the east across Antonelli Pond (which is owned by the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County.) To the west is undeveloped land presently in Agriculture and beyond that the marine lab of the University of California at Santa Cruz. To the north is a spur of the Southern Pacific Railroad.
Due to the significant nature of the site and the complexity of it's setting, the following planning process was used to develop this plan.
|STEP 1||SCOPING MEETING 1
Introduction to a broad range of individual objectives for the site
|STEP 2||COHOUSING WORKSHOP|
Exploration of the potential for cohousing on the site
|STEP 3||PROGRAM CLARIFICATION|
Summary of multiparty objectives
|STEP 4||VISUAL ANALYSIS|
implication of the development to views to and from the site
|STEP 5||DESIGN CONCEPT|
Methods to achieve objectives
|STEP 6||PHYSICAL PLANNING|
|2. Omni Complex||17-18|
3. Open Space
|STEP 7||CONCEPTUAL PLAN||21-22|
STEP 1 SCOPING MEETING
On January 23, 1992 a scoping meeting was held at the Chamber of Commerce offices of Santa Cruz to determine individual objectives and concerns of people with an interest in west Santa Cruz and the Natural Bridges site. In attendance were
STEP 2 PRELIMINARY COHOUSING WORKSHOP
On the afternoon of January 23, 1992, a cohousing workshop was held to explore the use of part of the Natural Bridges site for this housing type with members of the Santa Cruz Co-housing Group, Cliff and Ron Swenson, owners of the site, Jeff Current, architect with Barry Swenson Builders, Polly Cooper and Ken Haggard architects with the San Luis Obispo Sustainability Group.
The uique connection of this housing type to it's future occupants and the relative newness of this approach make this workshop a good way to investigate it's potential application to the Natural Bridges Project. Exploration of building types, densities that might be involved, spatial arrangements, open space and circulation occured. The following form diagram summarizes the configurations that Cohousing might have on this site.
Step 3 PROGRAM CLARIFICATION
Condensation of information from Step#1 and #2
|Individual Player||Stated Objectives|
|B||Planning commission Member||
|D||Costal Commission||Prioity should be given to:
|I||University Planning Person||
STEP 4 VISUAL ANALYSIS
Objective #15 is concerned about the effect of the development on views from Highway 1 plus shorter views around the site. With this in mind a visual survey was undertaken and is summarized here. Significant view locations are plotted on the map below marked by the symbol (......direction).
Due to a high berm on the right side of Highway 1 only one viewpoint of the site exists in that direction (Viewpoint #1). Traveling west there is a glimpse of the site at one spot between thick trees shown on the map at Viewpoint #2
The highest built up area in this proposal is the Omni-Center at the north edge of the site against the railroad track. Therefore a view looking in that direction down Shaffer Road was inbestigated (Viewpoint #3).
The visual impact on Antonelli Pond is a concern and was checked with Viewpoint #4. Concern about the impact on views down from the hills to the north of the site were also investigated (Viewpoint #5).
Shown is View #1 from Highway 1 with and without the proposed development. As can be seen the dominant element remains the heavily treed skyline. Parts of the development are noticeable but not very intensely. If we use appropriate colors (dark receding color) the development will be less noticeabe but not very intensely. If we use appropriate colors (dark receding color) the development will be less noticeable than equipment on the roof of the Raytek Building and the De Anza Mobile Home Park. Both of these elements stand out due to their highly contrasting white colors.
The dominant element looking north along Shaffer Road is the heavily wooded hills in the center of one's field of vision, and secondarily the smooth hills to the left and built-up hills to the right. As shown on the "after view, even the tallest complex (OmniCenter) doesn't interrupt the skyline. The existing Granite Construction warehouse is distracting mostly because it is again a contrasting obtrusive color when compared to the color of the landscape. The OmniCenter would block the view to the warehouse, an advantage if colors for the Omnicenter are appropriately chosen as stated before.
View #2 is both very narrow and only occurs at a right angle to Highway 1. Since one's angle of vision narrows with speed, the project is unlikely to ever be noticed from this location.
View #4 is one of the nicest in the area, and illustrates the visual advantages of having a constructed wetland serving as buffer and storm drain infrastructure on the east side of the site. This constructed wetland would extend the width of the natural area and make this view even nicer.
After much searching, it was discovered (Viewpoint #5) that there is no veiw down on the site form the roads in these hills that is not obstructed by trees and the flow of the terrrain.
STEP 5 DESIGN CONCEPT
Objective #1, flexibility, we feel, is the design key to achieving most of the other objectives. For example:
The overall design device used to help achieve flexibility in this case is modularity, not just modularity at the architectual structures level, but at a cascading series of scales at neighborhood as well as building size, and for open space as well as building space.
The result is:
1. A conceptual plan that allows the flexibility to respond to the economic, social and environmental needs of the 90's by developing a symbiotic relationship between the plan components listed on the last page.
2. A conceptual plan which adjusts to the unique needs of this particular site in regards to solar access, infrastructure limitations, public access, and a variety of neighboring conditions.
STEP 6 PHYSICAL PLAN COMPONENTS 1 NEIGHBORHOODS
This plan consists of 3 neighborhoods. They are of equal area, 1.25 acres, each containing 30 dwelling units. Each has its own identity because they are separated by open space which can contain mixed uses such as gardening, small truck farming, playgrounds and vest pocket parks on the Shaffer Road side of the site, This provides contrast. The built up area, allows social mix between neighborhoods and gives relief from the moderately high density achieved by 3 story units of the built up areas.
To explore the objectives summarized on page 3 we've investigated 3 types of neighborhoods, relatively standard condominiums, a neo-traditional village and a cohousing complex. These are illustrated in a comparative manner on the folllowing fold out sheet.
We have chosen the condominium layout as a comparative model of the most common condition that conforms to present regulation regarding set backs and parking requirements. The two other types were chosen because they are on the ascendancy in the U.S. and because they both approach the problem of auto traffic reduction (objective #1)specific social mechanisms (objective #6) and affordable units mixed in (objective #9) The solar access situation can best be seen in the building sections shown on the next page.
The fact that we've shown one type in each neighborhood in the overall plan should not be taken as a literal plan. Perhaps all 3 neighborhoods will eventually develop as one of these approaches. We've shown them in this way to illustrate that the density stated (objective #10) can be accomplished in a variety of ways allowing flexibility (objective #11) in regard to financing, ownership group desires, social factors and marketing. A more detailed look at each of these neighborhood types occurs in the following pages.
Neo-traditional planning is an approach that is a reaction to suburban derived planning standards and the dominace of the automobile in the planning, design and construction of communities. It recognizes that many neighborhoods built before World War 2 seem to work better because traffic engineering hadn't yet overwhelmed social, spatial and compositional concerns. Neo-traditional planning allows for auto mobiles but only as one component, not as the primary one catered to at the expense of other components in the plan. For example, streets are kept narrower than present suburban standards and are considered landscaped mixed use spaces not just traffic collectors and arterials. Paralled parking is utilized not only to slow down traffic but to provide a protective barrier of parked cars between moving vehicles and pedestrians. In terms of form, continuity with variety is developed in a smaller grained urban pattern based on modularity to accomplish a more human, less industrial scale.
The application of this approach to Natural bridges neighborhoods uses many of these principles. Duplexes are arranged along treed streets with parallel parking. Tight setback and 3 story heights allow side yards facing the main street for entry and winter sun penetration to private outdoor spaces in the center of the lots. Most parking and service is provided by garages off of an alley at the rear of these lots. Over the garages are smaller duplex units which allow small simpler housing more applicable to rentals, affordable units, granny units, or spill over from the main units for home business, relatives etc. This allows differentiation yet proximity between more complex and simpler living units to provide a balanced neighborhood.
As far as american application, Cohousing is the newest of these neighborhood types but is developing rapidly. The idea is to achieve certain economic and social advantages by developing more cooperation between individual members of the community than exists in other housing types. Individual houses are still autonomous but can be smaller by sharing certain facilities are a large kitchen for group dining when desired space for entertainment and parties, guest facilities, teen and child care facilities and sometimes shops, spas etc. The reduction of auto traffic is also possible with this approach. Traffic and parking on the site can be greatly reduced not only by providing such items as day care, play space etc. on the site but by the use of community owned cars or vans as exists in many senior complexs in the United States. A certain amount of shopping can be organized on a group basis for efficient use of transportation.
Social changes are involved to make this approach workable and thus most cohousing in the U.S. to date has been built for a group of people organized before construction, which participates directly in the planning and design of the neighborhood.
The plan shown, developed out of a preliminary design exercise with members of the Santa Cruz Cohousing Association and at this point it is only illustrative of one possibility. Specific characteristics of the plan are:
STEP 6 PHYSICAL PLAN COMPONENTS 2. OMNI COMPLEX
As the name implies,the Omni Complex is a high density development designed to allow and maintain a mixed use of functions consisting of housing office, commercial and transportation exchange. Equally important is flexibility, especially in regard to changes over time (objective #11) This is done with a multistory modular system of spaces which allows a visually low profile to protect views from Highway 1 (objective #15)and provide solar access for some passive heating and natural lighting for offices and commercial spaces (objectives #8) The project is planned to allow construction in the 3 phases shown below to take advantage of the future events such as the likely development of public transportation by the use of rail spur to the north.
STEP 6 PHYSICAL PLAN COMPONENTS 3. OPENSPACE
Open space consists of 43% of the site or 4.8 acres. There are 3 types of open space which produce a graduation from north to south. Each of these types is different in character and use, as explained in the following chart:
|East edge of site||Urban||Relates to Shaffer Road and circulation running east and west the length of the site||To soften the edge of Shaffer Road & provide a variety of transportation modes in an EW direction||Landscaped sideroad, bicycle route and pedestrian walk with vest pocket parks between neighborhoods|
|Middle of site in N.S. bands between neighborhoods||Semi-rural and agricultural||Buffer space between the neighborhoods and the Omni-complex||Mixed use open space for small truck farms gardens, orchards, playgrounds and recreation served by an EW path/trail down the center||Provides permanent space between neighborhoods so that they maintain their character and identity. Helps site retain some of it's character and agricultural productivity at a smaller scale|
|West edge of site||Natural||Relates to Antonelli Pond and the east edge of the neighborhood||Provides selected public access to Antonelli Pond and a nature oriented NS circulation path for pedestrians and bicyles. However, this is done in such a way that this are also forms a buffer to Antonelli Pond to minimize human impact (objective #4)||A constructed wetland with carefully designed circulation along the N edge and to the W to selected spots overlooking Antonelli Pond. The constructed wetlands are designed to ease the infrastructure problems on the site by acting as a treatment system for waste water and retaining runoff(see references)|
STEP 7 CONCEPTUAL PLAN
Mixed use developement of residential, commercial, office and transportation exchange.
See Enclosed 1"=40-0" Map
Note: This Conceptual Plan is not intended to propose as an actual final physical arrangement for the site. Rather, it is an investigation of various possibilities uses and configurations to be considered in preparation of a Master Plan