What’s the Future for State Street’s Promenade?

Santa Barbara Architects Ask Community for Thoughts on Downtown

Customers enjoy their drinks and food on the sidewalk Friday May 22, 2020, as some businesses reopen and allow outdoor seating. | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss

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A consortium of Santa Barbara architects is gathering their thoughts on downtown Santa Barbara and the new promenade along State Street, and they are interested in hearing from the community as they reimagine the downtown corridor.

A survey in English and in Spanish — put together by the Santa Barbara chapter of the American Institute of Architects — asks the community to share their thoughts about downtown and what they’d like to see in the future, including whether they feel State Street should be more geared toward pedestrians and cyclists rather than vehicle traffic.


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In a gathering called the 2020 Design Charrette, volunteer architects, landscape architects, planners, engineers, and other experts will convene with the goal of finding ways to “reinvigorate, reinvent, reimagine, and repurpose our downtown with housing, energy and life,” according to a press release from the S.B. AIA. The plans are specifically aimed at the region of downtown spanning from Sola Street to the freeway and from Chapala Street to Anacapa Street, but they will place emphasis on the State Street promenade.

One of the design team’s additional focuses is making housing more accessible through the reuse and restructuring of existing buildings, as well as determining which new structures and public open spaces hold opportunity as potential housing sites.

Community members should fill out the survey by August 2. According to a timeline on the AIA website, the design team will present their findings to the Santa Barbara City Council on August 18 and will look to finalize the plans shortly thereafter.


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