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Thread: Downtown Berkeley, California

  1. #1

    Registered
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    Downtown Berkeley, California

    I took a stroll down Shattuck Avenue the other week. I am an onsessive "city walker," and I've started bringing my camera along. Mostly buildings, this time. I've been nervous about focusing my camera on people!

    The next set is a little more closely focused (Noe Valley and Glen Park in San Francisco).

    But, anyway, some downtown Berkeley architecture.

    [BHOPKINS STREET: ]Berkeley has fantastic street trees on many neighborhood boulevards. [/B]



    THE GOURMET GHETTO



    Kunstler would have a lot of fun ranting about this pastiche building, which does at least anchor the northern end of Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto, a commercial stretch of Shattuck Avenue that is the home of famous restaurants like Chez Panisse-as well as The Cheese Board bakery collective and my favorite coffee shop.



    Berkeley is really pushing "smart growth" infill-with large apartment buildings replacing the tired strip commercial remnants. This used to be a circa 1960s ugly prototypical big box store. Some of the buildings are more successful than others. This one's blander than most.



    On the other hand, this building at the edge of downtown is quite successful!



    Downtown Proper

    Downtown Berkeley is an imperfect, though bustling place that has to compete with a variety of other regional shopping venues, including neighborhood strips like Solano Avenue and College Avenue, the Emeryville chain store paradise, and Berkeley's own Fourth Street, a wierd collection of upscale stores constructed in a former industrial zone. Chain retail has not done well in Berkeley-sometimes because the company itself is dying (Who shops at Eddie Bauer anymore).

    Still, downtown Berkeley has great bookstores, movie theatres, fine arts, and proximity to the University-and great buildings.


    Given the lack of parking, this may be a good way to arrive in Downtown Berkeley!


    Finding your way made easy!


    Including a good place to get a drink!



    A classic landmark


    And a goofier building!



    You can live downtown now-Is this Art Deco or some wierd hybrid? (I like it)


    A classic!

    And finally, the neighborhood corner store can be a landmark in itself:


  2. #2

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    This reminds me of many pleasant and interesting strolls last winter. One thing that perhaps should be mentioned is the proximity of the U of California, which is an interesting place in its own right, where the ugliest building on campus is the school of architecture. How about a set of pics of Telegraph Ave?

  3. #3

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    Sure. As long as Telegraph Avenue's more unusual residents don't object to being photographed.

    Telegraph Avenue has to be one of the stranges t streets in the country. It isn't very pretty, but it is certainly interesting .

    UC Berkeley is quite the place.

  4. #4
    Berkeley has fantastic street trees on many neighborhood boulevards
    Last time I was there I noticed that walking down University, past Mcdonalds, there are no trees on the streets and everything goes blah, the median is empty with dirt. It could look really nice if it were filled with trees. Keep on postin'.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally posted by The Irish One
    Last time I was there I noticed that walking down University, past Mcdonalds, there are no trees on the streets and everything goes blah, the median is empty with dirt. It could look really nice if it were filled with trees. Keep on postin'.
    Actually, the ity is reconstructing that median entirely-eventually

    For a while, they tried to go the ecologically/politically correct route and plant only native grasses and flowers and trees. Of course, as a Californian knows, these natives are absolutely dormant 3/4 of the year, and probably not the best choice for a formal urban boulevard. Ideology over design.

    Whether a city broke enough to close libraries on Sunday has the funds right now to finish the project, we'll see. Still, the RESIDENTIAL streets in Berkeley's more affluent neighborhoods can be quite fantastic. And, San Pablo Avenue, another major commercial corridor, is noticeably more heavily treed once you cross into Berkeley.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Is this a BART station?



    I've never been to the Bay area but for some reason i thought all of the stations were elevated outside of SF.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally posted by jresta
    Is this a BART station?



    I've never been to the Bay area but for some reason i thought all of the stations were elevated outside of SF.
    Yep. 1970s "classic" It's the Berkeley Square station right in the heart of downtown Berkeley.

    Berkeley demanded the burial of BART within the City Limits. But, much of BART in urban core areas is buried. Downtown San Francisco (Between Embarcadero and Civic Center) Mission District San Francisco (16th Street/heroin addict; 24th Street), Downtown Oakland (including the major transfer point, 19th Street)

    My employer is almost as large in popultion in Berkeley, and the county seat, but it certainly doesn't have a real downtown like Berkeley.

  8. #8
    For a while, they tried to go the ecologically/politically correct route and plant only native grasses and flowers and trees. Of course, as a Californian knows, these natives are absolutely dormant 3/4 of the year, and probably not the best choice for a formal urban boulevard. Ideology over design.
    Western Sycamores would look great going down that street or of course the White Alder, both are native to the Golden State. I worked in a nursery exclusive to California natives only. cities within LA, SD and Riverside Counties were really aggresive about native landscaping and the Landscape Architect's were completely clueless In urban area's you've got to be flexible, but I wouldn't expect that from a knee jerk community like Berkeley .

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