Balboa Park is falling behind. This regional gem has an estimated $300-500 million in deferred maintenance, with no plan to fund or fix it. In the coming years, up to $1 billion may be needed if we truly want a world-class Balboa Park. BCCA convened Balboa Park stakeholders, conducted a national scan of governance and finance structures of other major parks in the country, and developed a set of recommendations for public consideration. We do not endorse any one specific recommendation, but our hope is to elicit public discourse that will lead to solutions to ensure the park remains among our region’s greatest cultural and natural assets.
The recommendations in the report are:
- A revenue measure for deferred maintenance either by the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego, or a Joint Powers Authority.
- A commitment by the City of San Diego to dedicate a certain portion of Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue to Balboa Park maintenance and infrastructure annually.
- A commitment by a lead organization and other nonprofit organizations within the park to raise significant funds annually for ongoing park maintenance.
- A Property and Business Improvement District (PBID) for the Balboa Park area to focus on issues associated with park adjacency.
- Additional commercial activity in and near the park, generating additional revenue for park maintenance and upgrades without compromising the quality of the visitor experience.
- Creation of a Balboa Park stakeholder oversight committee.
- Creation of a separate cabinet-level city department for Balboa Park.
A copy of the full report can be downloaded here.
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World Design Capital
Together, we did it! In a historic multi-year effort led by local designers, innovators, and civic leaders, the San Diego-Tijuana region has been named the World Design Capital for 2024!
Design Forward Alliance, UC San Diego Design Lab, and the Burnham Center for Community Advancement (BCCA) spearheaded the bid. It was the first-ever binational, cross-border bid! With the opportunity to create lasting positive impacts in our community and the chance to showcase our binational region on the world stage, BCCA was proud to provide community leadership and support, operational capacity, and seed capital towards the effort.
World Design Capital® (WDC), designated every two years by the World Design Organization (WDO), recognizes communities for their effective use of design to drive economic, social, cultural, and environmental development. The selection by the WDO comes after a rigorous submission and evaluation process. Named a finalist in July 2021, alongside Moscow, Russia, San Diego-Tijuana welcomed the WDO for a three-day site visit in early October 2021 with stops at the UC San Diego’s Design and Innovation Building, Balboa Park, Chicano Park in Barrio Logan, Cross Border Express and the U.S. Mexico Border, the Tijuana Cultural Center, and several other locations throughout the region.
Our research indicates that the planning efforts and celebration will have an economic impact of $1.5B, bring 4 million visitors to the region and create and support 46,000 direct and 73,000 indirect jobs! Planning is now underway for the year-long promotion that will showcase our unique culture of design and innovation and how they have improved the lives of those that call our region home.
To learn more about the designation, our partners, and the planning efforts, please visit: wdc2024.org
Opportunity and Prosperity
Almost 30% of San Diego’s children live in economic distress, and the prosperity gap within the region is obvious and unacceptable. Let’s talk about how we can do better, and then act to improve the lives of all our fellow San Diegans—regardless of geography, race, or ethnicity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already caused the loss of more than 100,000 jobs in San Diego County, nearly half of which come from the leisure and hospitality sector . Too many families and individuals have exhausted their savings and are on the brink of disaster.
Our regional economy needs to look different now. With our partners, we’ll help organize to inspire employers and training institutions to focus on high growth, high wage industries in San Diego and create incubators to support entrepreneurs and innovators.
San Diego’s housing market has never felt so out of control. The median price of a home in San Diego County is twice the national average. More than half of renters in San Diego County are considered over-burdened by their housing costs, spending more than 30% of their income on housing. When housing costs are high, our workforce suffers, people have less money to spend on other necessities. It’s time to bring housing advocates, developers, and city planners together with those impacted by this crisis. Let’s listen to each other and develop common sense guidelines to ensure every San Diegan can actually live in San Diego.
Envisioning Our Future
We need not just a vision, but a plan for our regional future. What does it look like for our residents, industries, nonprofit sector, and government? Who do we want to be in ten or twenty years? How do we build the best San Diego region going forward?
The San Diego/Tijuana border is the busiest binational region in the world. People, goods, and ideas crisscross the border every day, connecting us—culturally, economically, and otherwise. We are one community in many ways. Embracing this robust binational relationship is critical for San Diego to be a global city in the 21st century.
All across our nation, we have become a polarized people —losing community connections across ideologies, ethnicities, and even within neighborhoods. We will seek to organize a local coalition of those committed to rebuilding a sense of community that can heal and take our region forward, together.