The Mission Valley Community Plan Update has received the well regarded 2020 Comprehensive Plan: Large Jurisdiction Award from the San Diego Section of the American Planning Association. Big praises go out to the City of San Diego, Dyett & Bhatia, Chen Ryan Associates, and M.W. Steele Group for their hard work in putting together a high-quality plan that reenvisions the outdated 1985 comprehensive plan for the Mission Valley community. The updated plan will transform the mega blocks and auto-dependent uses into a more pedestrian-friendly, sustainable, mixed-use community with plans for multi-modal transportation and an abundance of housing.

Following an interview with the development project manager Nancy Graham, “the main priority for this plan is to provide more housing opportunities for people that work in Mission Valley”. The Land Use plan was designed to restore the community by adding over 28,000 housing units in place of large surface parking lots and commercial sites. With the added housing units, a more dense community will be created allowing for a mixed-use development which will lead to vibrant and pedestrian-oriented streets. With eight trolley stops along the San Diego River, this puts most of Mission Valley within a half a mile of high-frequency transit service. With help from data analysis, “we are able to determine where to add more housing, bus stops, etc.” says Graham. A lot of the new development will include buildings with retail space at street level with housing units on top in order to increase density.

To modernize the current Mission Valley community which serves primarily as a job and shopping center, the updated plan will turn the community into a place where residents can live, work, and play. In order to make that possible, the plan revolves around one of the community’s biggest natural assets, the San Diego River. The key components of the river are explained in the vision statement, “Wide, well-lit, tree-lined, pedestrian paseos will extend from the river’s edge to allow walkers, cyclists, and the like the ability to traverse Mission Valley safely as a more enjoyable alternative to the automobile. These meandering pathways will join with green streets that have enriched pedestrian spaces including linear parks and nodes of pedestrian-scale, visually stimulating developments that contain restaurants, retail, offices, and residences.”

The new and improved Mission Valley Community Plan showcases the planning principles of the future of urban planning, with multi-modal transportation networks, mixed-use development, and strong urban design guidance. The upcoming changes to this community will transform it into a more life-sized community that is no longer car-dependent, where walkability is encouraged, and people can live, work, and enjoy spending time. With that in mind, the Mission Valley Community plan is well on its way to accomplishing the City of San Diego’s planning strategy of a “city of villages”.