San Diego students were recently featured by The Coast News Group on their work designing for the housing crisis in Encinitas. The 5A studio, led by faculty member Brett Farrow, took aim at creating housing for downtown Encinitas around the city’s transit center. Students designed housing around the Proposition A restrictions on building height and parking restrictions, and the proposed projects set up models for greater density along the downtown corridor.
Students presented their designs on the Barrio Logan campus in front of a panel of jurists that included State Assemblywoman and former Encinitas Councilwoman Tasha Boerner Horvath, Encinitas Councilman Tony Kranz, Chief Development Officer for the North County Transit District Tracy Foster, as well as noted architects Eric Nasland and Teddy Cruz alongside several contract planning staff members and local architects. The studio was set up to address Encinitas’s need to gain compliance with state housing laws. The student solutions designed for a range of demographics and housing needs, from Millennials to elderly citizens. They included the upcoming Coastal Rail Trail, and the average project consisted of about 60 units per acre.
Each student was given five minutes to present his project to the panel, and the jurists were given 10 minutes to critique and provide feedback for the students. Boerner Horvath, who served on the Encinitas Planning Commission before she was elected to the City Council, said that she thought the presentations provided a glimpse at the potential innovation that could be used to revitalize the city’s transit station. “I think it’s really important that we think of new and innovative solutions, and one of the things that makes it so hard in Encinitas is that until we see something, it is hard for us to react to it,” Boerner Horvath said. “I think this whole session gives an opportunity to see how different people and how different creative ideas could envision a space that is underutilized.”
Farrow said the project should also give elected officials and community members in Encinitas a glimpse into how one of the groups most impacted by the housing crisis — young people — envision their housing options.