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Old 01-17-2011, 07:16 PM
4,741 posts, read 5,891,401 times
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The Huffman Dingbats are so bad that they're retro good, not really.
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:42 PM
Location: South Park, San Diego
4,428 posts, read 6,754,967 times
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Originally Posted by kettlepot View Post
Huffman Hovels

Or to put it more broadly, the bad land planning decisions of the past.

As one example, imagine if on canyon ridges, the canyon side of the street had been left unbuilt so pedestrians and drivers could have had a view corridor out onto the canyon vistas beyond.

Imagine if Mission Valley had been left as agricultural land. Yes, I-8 probably needed to have been built through the area, but not all of the auto-oriented shopping centers that flood regularly. That would have prevented the commercial decline of Downtown and North Park.

Imagine if downtown had better architecture in its high rise buildings. The buildings of the 90s and 00 are much better than those built in the 60s and 70s and early 80s, but they are is still room for improvement Downtown. For example, tall buildings along the waterfront like the Marriott hotels are a mistake. Tall buildings should be set back further from the waterfront to protect view corridors.

But mostly, I hate the Huffmans. They knew they were wrong when they were building them, and now they are practically impossible to get rid off.
I totally agree- the Huffmans are primarily in North Park and a few surrounding communities - the zoning (now since downzoned in many areas)
allowed for seven units in the typical 50' x 100' lots of the exsiting bungalows and Huffman came up with a shoebox design and crammed in 100s of them wherever he could. Awful!
Had Mission Valley been saved as an agricultural zone- with the beneficial flooding that such zones need, man what a treasure that would be today to still have that.
Also up right up there with egregious planning decisions was Balboa Naval Hospital in friggin' Balboa Park. Yeah, the original small schoolhouse-like building was there but why the f*ck put a huge hospital complex in the middle of the park? It was supposed to go by the Costco off 94- a perfectly reasonable and central place just begging for some good development. What a crock that decision was.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:23 PM
1,649 posts, read 3,037,218 times
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Huffman Hovels are common all over University City/North Park/PB etc. They're on a plot of land that seems like it should be for a house. They're ugly, rectangular shaped boxes that look like they should be SFR, but are sectioned into 4--8 apartments.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:26 PM
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Just way to many people.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by cl723 View Post
Just way to many people.
There are quite a few larger metropolitan areas which are even more populous, and if you really, really, don't like people, don't move to a city. Just a thought.
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:47 AM
Location: East Fallowfield, PA
2,296 posts, read 3,891,396 times
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That it's there and I'm here!
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:49 AM
Location: Tijuana Exurbs
3,784 posts, read 9,884,697 times
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Originally Posted by shmoov_groovzsd View Post
I think kettlepot coined the term "Huffman Hovel". Is that correct kp?
Yes SG, I coined the "Hovel" part of the term "Huffman Hovel". Thank you for giving me credit. However, the "Huffman" part is well known to people within the development and land use community of San Diego.

The design was popularized by Ray Huffman, a San Diego developer of the Mid Century period. Ray Huffman himself, has been made infamous, notorious even, because of what he wrought on our city's urban landscape.

What you will find is that in North Park Huffman's are mostly located on north/south streets such as (Texas, Hamilton, Oregon, 35th) rather than east/west streets (Meade, Monroe). The lots on the east/west radials were slightly smaller than the 50x100 plots going north/south so the Huffman 8-pack design couldn't legally be built on the east/west roads. This protected those houses from being bulldozed, but still decimated the core of the neighborhoods of North Park, University Heights, Hillcrest, Normal Heights, City Heights, and parts of Kensington, Talmadge and Mission Hills.

As for the Dingbats, they are a Los Angeles design, and while the Huffmans are very similar, there are differences. Mostly, what I've noticed is that San Diego's Huffman's have no front 'overhang' over the parking in the front easement. If you see enough of the two different types, you will see that there are points of difference.

Besides their cheap, shoddy construction, Huffman's denuded the urban landscape of vegetation by paving over front yards and putting in curb cuts from lot line to lot line. This created an auto-centered, pedestrian unfriendly urban streetscape that encouraged street crime by taking eyes off the street and facing windows into the apartment side courtyard.

Also, Huffman's lacked adequate parking to accommodate the people that lived there. A common 8-pack, or 7-pack with a laundry room, would have 7 (8) apartments, 14 (16) bedrooms, and probably generated 14 (16) or possibly more cars. There would be 5 spots in back, 5 spots in front, and a curb cut that eliminated all parking in front of the building. The extra 4 cars, and any visitors had to find parking on the street, along with all of the other surplus cars from all of the other Huffman style buildings.

Another consequence of Huffmanization was that the powers-that-be assumed only young, childless adults would live in them. Therefore, neighborhoods that were Huffmanized for decades didn't build adequate schools and parks to accommodate all of the children from low income families which now grow up in them. At one point, nearly 40% of the children living in City Heights had to be bused elsewhere in the city for lack of school space. In the early 2000s, at least 2 elementary schools were built in City Heights alone to accommodate the population that the Huffman's squeezed into the area. City Heights is the most densely populated area in San Diego.

In regards to park land, the solution back when the city had some money, was bulldoze entire blocks of buildings (probably the remaining single family homes) so land could be acquired for park space (Colina Del Sol Park).

And finally, the owners of Huffman's are some of the most negligent apartment owners in the city. These 8 pack complexes usually aren't big enough to support on-site apartment management so that when graffiti occurs it isn't removed, when trash in dumpsters spills out, alleys are littered, and when food falls out of bags placed in dumpsters the detritus becomes an incubator for hordes of flies. These areas in the summer time are positively 3rd World.

So I proudly proclaim myself to be progenitor of the term "Huffman Hovel!"

Ray Huffman - wear your Blighted Badge of Courage proudly!

- end rant -
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:32 AM
Location: Near Graham WA
1,254 posts, read 2,342,314 times
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Thank you, kettlepot, for that great explanation! I had never heard about Huffman or his creations, but I've certainly observed many of these ugly buildings over the years.
Very interesting!
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:47 AM
Location: East Fallowfield, PA
2,296 posts, read 3,891,396 times
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Kettlepot, good history lesson and info on some of the architectural and city planning faux paus.
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:55 AM
Location: San Diego, California Republic
16,012 posts, read 20,813,220 times
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Originally Posted by BacktoBlue View Post
LOL I knew Gentoo would be here lightning fast.
haha but I have nothing to add to this thread that I haven't already said so no worries
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