Just got back from a trip to NorCal, during which I drove through San Francisco twice.
Could not stop staring at the buildings, which are generally built all the way to the lot lines in the front and on the sides of the parcels.
It’s just shocking how much better a city looks with no front and side setbacks.
With no empty space in the front and no way for intruders to get around the sides of the buildings, you can dispense with the fencing… don’t think I saw a single chain link the whole time I was there.
Also, with no front and side yards, SF must be consuming far, far less water per acre, since there’s no temptation to try to recreate New England by planting water-hungry grass.
I know this type of dense, urban development isn’t right for the whole city of LA. You wouldn’t want people to suddenly start building to the lot lines in a residential neighborhood.
But I don’t see why we can’t encourage this kind of building on our main commercial streets. Everyone wants walkability and this is how you give it to them.