Giving Vacant Lots New Life
By: David Loewenstein
Downtown San Diego’s East Village has been the target of formal and informal redevelopment efforts for decades. Currently the neighborhood is filled with luxury condos, artist lofts, a baseball stadium and peppered with vacant lots that reflect its state as a work in progress.
NewSchool of Architecture + Design students are bringing their Senior Thesis project, RAD LAB, to life. The students worked with city officials to target specific pieces of vacant owned city land that could be activated.
The plan is to build a pop-up marketplace with retrofitted shipping containers on half of the city-owned block at Park Boulevard between Market and G streets in the East Village.
Envisioned with a lifespan of two to three years, RAD LAB (Research Architecture Development) embraces the vast diversity of San Diego and encourages the rotation of new ideas and businesses including retail spaces inside retrofitted shipping containers.
We look forward to offering a movie screen and dramatic concert space with the city skyline backdrop, a dog run, consistent farmers markets, movable furniture and green space underneath a unique canopy system. We will include a multi-use bar and kitchenette for catering and events, art installations that create an exciting urban environment and the continuous rotation of food trucks.
Not only will this activation benefit the neighborhood by improving a blighted vacant site with new activities and sense of community, but the city would benefit from its plan as well. Creating a new revenue source from the lease and taking a percentage of the profits from community events will help finance the planned affordable housing complex promised for the future.
Currently the RAD LAB team has launched a kickstarter campaign to help pay for initial permitting costs, site improvements, and dog park. The rest of the built structures, like the retrofitted shipping containers, have already been funded by a private investor.
“We are using an online website called “kickstarter” to help us raise funds for the project. Unfortunately, time is not on our side and we need your help to make this a reality. We only have 17 days to reach our final goal of $60,000. As of today, we’ve reached 25% of our goal and still have a long way to go.”
Philip Auchettl, RAD LAB CEO.
One of the great things about Kickstarter is, if a project doesn’t reach its full goal the donations will not be processed. “It’s all or nothing!” said Auchettl. “We need everyone’s help to make this happen.”
The RAD LAB team is hosting a kickstarter party at BASIC in East Village, on October 4th from 5:00-7:00pm. Join us at BASIC for happy hour and pizza,
meet the Design – Tempo team and see what the RAD LAB is all about.
There will be OPPORTUNITY DRAWINGS throughout the night for some really great prizes. Make sure to show up, tell your friends, tell your neighbors, and tell a stranger. We’re excited to share our vision and get your help reaching our goal.
Those interested in donating can go to kickstarter.com and search “RAD LAB”.