Reinventing TOD: Could Neo-Sumerian Ziggurats House The Growing Bay Area?
History can help with our Bay Area population’s growing pains. Maybe.
The 21rst century BCE Mesopotamian capitol of Ur was famous for its ziggurat, dedicated to the moon god Nanna, the city’s patron deity. The massive step pyramid measured 210 feet (64m) in length, 150 feet (46m) in width and over 100 feet (30m) in height. The height is speculative, as only the foundations of the Sumerian ziggurat survived the ravage of centuries before it was rebuilt in the sixth century BCE.
Yet the legend of the ziggurat lives on. Some scholars think that the ancient city of Ur the birthplace of Abraham, who as a young man left to settle in the land of Canaan. And who knows. Ur's landmark ziggurat may even have provided inspiration for the Tower of Babel mentioned in Biblical lore.
But now fast forward to 21rst century AD---exactly 42 centuries later. Modern day YIMBY’s (Yes In My Back Yard) are pitching the need for Mass Transit Oriented (High Density) Development, TOD, in “user friendly” parlance, to solve the Bay Area’s jobs/housing imbalance brought on by the mass influx of young urban techies to SF.
The YIMBYs' two most prominent spokespeople are Senator Scott Wiener, D-SF, author of pending SB827 & SB828 and Sonja Trauss, candidate for supervisor in SF. Surely they are talking their talk. The young SF urbanists are here. Vocal. And now. http://www.marinij.com/
opinion/20180224/marin-voice- we-need-more-housing-near- public-transportation
And they’re pitching a much denser Marin, to be rebuilt as an extension of the City. But is TOD a good fit for car centric Marin? That might sound good as a concept, but maybe new thinking is needed when considering the stark reality of Tam Ridge Residences (AKA, Corte Madera’s “Wincup”), our own oft-criticized monument to top-down planning.
As many Marinites say, “Anything would be an improvement on THAT!”
So, should we bring back the ziggurat!?
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