Community participation in the design of the development was essential to its success. The participation of the public sector in creating redeveloping an empty big-box lot recaptured lost space for the community. The public sector, the City of San Diego and a number of local community groups, in partnership with private developers Oliver McMillan and Odmark & Thelan, took a proactive role in developing the site into a mixed-use, transit-oriented development. This community-focus design effort was essential to the way in which the site was developed and it is this focus that has arguably been key to the site’s success. By creating a pedestrian-scale development, breaking down the masses of the building and lining University Avenue with storefronts, the site provides public space suited to the larger context of Hillcrest.
As new undeveloped land becomes scarce in San Diego and the economic downturn has put pressure on existing developments, particularly retail and...
As new undeveloped land becomes scarce in San Diego and the economic downturn has put pressure on existing developments, particularly retail and commercial spaces, the trend has shifted towards infill redevelopment. Hillcrest’s Uptown District Shopping Center, developed three decades ago, has been heralded as the type of infill major cities should now strive for. Developments such as this one, however, are not easy to achieve nor are they to emulate. This research is a study of what makes the development of the Uptown District a particularly successful case from an urban design perspective. This research examines the unique redevelopment process of the site and as a result, the site’s emphasis on addressing community form has made it a part of the neighborhood. The aim is to create an understanding of the challenges and rewards of infill development, and to engage members of the development process into the discussion of reviving empty developments.