❝…cities are places in which random connections, rather than linear order often determines what will happen ❞
For years I found San Francisco, Noe Valley’s commercial street compelling. It just feels good. It is the kind of place you love spending hours walking and exploring its intricacies, meeting friends, and talking to shop keepers over and over again. But, it wasn’t until we created the Santana Row District, that I began to dig deeper into why places like Noe Valley continue to attract people for years. I now realize that while these places are focused on commercial content, the fact is one’s attraction to these places is not about shopping. At its core Noe Valley’s main street is about connections. It’s about the random engagements, social interaction, its street rhythm, and encounters with culture and art that turn streets of commerce into compelling anchors of humanity. These commercial hubs are the enabling infrastructure for connection.
We believe that great cities, have one thing in common, great neighborhoods, and its main street is at the heart of its success. The question is what are the elements of a great main street? First, they are built on a foundation of walkable streets and with little interruption. The best serve as “third places” with active edges and an unbroken rhythm of interaction. They urge patronage, and promote physical, emotional and intellectual connection to place. They allure curiosity, interaction, fluidity and exploration, all vital elements for social connection. With this dynamic we have witnessed the achievement of a troika in economic sustainability – attracting more people, who come more frequently, and stay longer, year after year, after year.
For over 30 years, I continue to enjoy visiting Noe Valley’s main street. It still maintains its allure. Along with my work on Santana Row, and now scores of other districts world-wide, their attributes continue to demonstrate the connection between meaningful places and good economics.
We continue to explore trends globally and evolve our thinking to make our work more meaningful to people. We thoroughly understand, that by taking care of people first, you also take care of the investor.