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Collection Description

National City is a highly urban community of about 60,000 residents in south San Diego County. It is the second oldest city in the county and boasts a rich history, a diverse community, and is known as one of the most walkable cities in San Diego County. Located just south of downtown San Diego and just north of the US-Mexico border, the city is flanked by freeways and is home to large-scale industries. National City is a mid-size city that faces big city challenges, and, like many municipalities, the city is challenged to meet community needs and new demands of sustainability.

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Addressing Homelessness in National City
The proposals in this report reflect students’ attempts to address aspects of the growing homeless population in National City using both tested methods and novel approaches. This report is comprised of summaries which detail the components of policy programs as well as the political and fiscal feasibility of each. They are grouped by policy area; these areas are: housing, prevention and partnership, mental health, and infrastructure based recommendations. While each recommendation attempts to address the city’s concerns related to homelessness, both cost and political feasibility must be taken into account. Cost is an obvious concern for a small, local government entity, and political feasibility, or the likelihood that there will be community support for the tools, is an important factor to consider. At present, it may be that only a few policy tools are feasible for the city to pursue, however other tools may become more feasible over time. This report acknowledges the challenges associated with each tool, but should the city have the means and motivation, these tools are a logical starting point. Recommendations most feasible for National City, at the current time, are both the municipal shower program and the extension of the ARTS partnership. These tools take into account existing city resources, rely on nonprofit collaboration, and encourage the city to take an active role in addressing homelessness. The municipal shower program would incorporate public safety personnel and community volunteers in providing open shower times for homeless individuals. The program would rely heavily on community donations for shower supplies. It is a novel approach to the issue of pollution in the waterways and in providing essential or basic services to the homeless in the city. The ARTS partnership has the potential to result in both the beautification of the community and the provision of services to youth experiencing homelessness in National City., San Diego State University
Air Quality in National City
Four air quality course projects were completed by San Diego State University (SDSU) graduate students in collaboration with National City and the Sage Project in winter 2015. The intent of this partnership was to achieve the city’s goal to quantify fine particulate matter air pollution concentrations in residential, commercial, and industrial areas near roadways/freeways in National City. Professor Zohir Chowdhury was the instructor for Public Health 632, Air Quality, and designed studies relevant and appropriate to the hypothesized air quality issues which may arise in National City. Students were trained on instrumentation, relevant software, and some statistical measures for data analysis. These four projects were carried out in a variety of sampling locations: industrial and residential areas, hot spots, parks, and the public library. This study included both spatial and temporal components of air pollution in National City. Students working on all four projects sampled particulate matter of different sizes to compare with National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and World Health Organization (WHO) standards in order to check if they exceeded the standard levels. After sampling was done, the data collected by each group was analyzed and described. The results of these four projects are summarized in this report. Across all of the experiments, it was observed that the level of particulate matter (PM) in the industrial area was higher than the residential area. This is due to PM emissions from industrial processes and car fuel combustion from the nearby highway, Interstate 5 (I–5), and large work trucks in the industrial area. Also, the PM2.5 concentration was found to be higher on the eastern side of the city, between the I–5 and Interstate 805 (I–805) freeways. Furthermore, the average PM2.5 concentrations were higher in the afternoon than in the morning, while the average black carbon concentrations were higher in the morning than in the afternoon. In addition to the aforementioned findings, the mean center park PM concentrations were found to be significantly different. After sample collection, observation, and analysis, it was concluded that PM2.5 concentrations in National City met NAAQS and WHO regulatory standards. Although not exceeding the standards, there were stronger concentrations on weekdays during rush hour. In addition, although studies indicate that at high penetration rate, ultrafine particles have the capability of adverse health effects, there are no standards regulating its concentration and emission levels. However, measuring the presence in conjunction with analyzing public health statistics in the area may provide insight into the exposure of potential irritants affecting the population. In addition to the results of these analyses, students provided varied mitigation strategies that could help improve air quality in National City and reduce the level of air pollutants. For instance, they recommend that the city employ stationary continuous monitoring stations to determine whether or not NAAQS regulations are being met. In addition, environmental policies could help to reduce PM concentration levels in vulnerable areas. For example, restrictions could be placed on the construction of parks, schools, and public recreational facilities near freeways, and construction and roadwork could be limited to off–peak hours when children are attending school or otherwise less likely to be present in outdoor recreational areas. Using baghouses and electrostatic precipitators could also help reduce automobile emissions and minimize air pollution. Moreover, vegetation barriers, green roofs, and urban tree planting are other ways to improve air quality and sequester CO2. Sweeping or water flushing treatments are another recommended and effective method to reduce ambient PM2.5 concentrations. Finally, National City can participate in grant programs to incentivize California business owners to reduce emissions from stationary and mobile sources., San Diego State University
Analysis of National City’s Neighborhoods and Functional Zones
This report presents the results of a semester-long analysis of the diverse neighborhoods and functional zones within National City; the report results can be used to support other projects undertaken as part of the Sage Project as well as other project undertaken by city officials and community organizations. This research was completed by two sections of Geography 354: The Geography of Cities at San Diego State University under the direction of Drs. Thomas Herman and Zia Salim, respectively. The desired objectives of this project were to combine data from the Census Bureau, qualitative studies and observations, and surveys and mapping to identify functional zones/neighborhoods and their characteristics, and investigate the legibility of National City’s urban landscape as perceived by its residents and visitors. According to Kevin Lynch, an author and planner of urban settings, five elements contribute to the legibility of cities – edges, paths, districts, nodes, and landmarks. These elements help people easily identify their surroundings. The three research questions were: 1. Are the neighborhoods, functional zones, and their characteristics identifiable? 2. Is National City legible, or easy to navigate through? 3. What are the perceptions of National City according to those that visit, work, and live there?, San Diego State University
Application of Science and Technology to National City’s Disaster Preparedness and Response
By working with officials from National City, the Homeland Security Graduate Program embarked on an effort to use the city as a semester project in which the application of Science and Technology in Homeland Security (HSEC 602) could be used to provide a test bed for similar efforts in other cities. Much of what was done was simply to try to study the challenges and provide appropriate solutions that could be helpful and immediately done with available resources. To this end, much of what was suggested and constructed recognizes the professionalism of National City’s emergency management personnel like firefighters and police, but also the community nature of the city with its focus on schools, churches, and neighborhoods. Overall, the major insight from the study is that much can be done to assist National City by recognizing its unique location near the US-Mexico border and its role as a family community linking two countries. By building the Emergency Response capabilities around the community identity of Spanish-speaking and English-speaking people focused on families, schools, and churches, it is possible for National City to be much more prepared for disasters and other Homeland Security events than most cities. Using the same tools to also build up the city including social media, internet perception, collaboration and training with other cities (e.g., focusing on liquefaction and potential disruption of firefighting capabilities) are all solutions suggested by the graduate class., San Diego State University
Bayshore Bikeway Brand Standards
Branding designs for the Bayshore Bikeway., San Diego State University
Big B Market & Deli Retail Marketing Plan
Big B has partnered with the Sage Project in order to create a new retail marketing plan. The main goal is to provide the local community with healthy food options. To begin, secondary research was conducted on prior corner store conversions to understand how Big B can make a transition towards selling healthy foods. The two major areas for a successful corner store conversion are implementation and promotion. A strategic selection and handling of perishable items is necessary to ensure financial success. In addition, advertisements and promotions of the new changes are essential for successful corner store conversion. Primary research was then conducted on two of Big B’s competitors to understand how the corner store can gain a competitive advantage. The two competitors that were analyzed are Cozines Liquor Market & Deli and Big Ben Market. Both stores are located near Big B. Cozines is five blocks (0.2 miles) northwest of Big B, and it is also considered a corner store. Big Ben is a grocery store and it is located 0.8 miles northeast of Big B. Based on the research, recommendations are made for a new marketing plan., San Diego State University
Civic Center Microgrid Feasibility Study
This feasibility study commissioned by the City of National City identifies energy cost saving methods for the Civic Center complex. The subject buildings included for this study are: Arts Center, City Hall, Fire Station 34, Library, Kimball Park, MLK Community Center, Police Station and Senior Center. The results provided from our report are based on our research and analysis. Based on the client’s available funding, we have provided different system implementation options. Our recommendation is for the initial photovoltaic system to be installed on the Arts Center and to wait to install secondary systems as the cost of photovoltaic decreases in the future and as more funding becomes available. Once secondary systems have been installed, Net Energy Metering can assist in cost efficiency., San Diego State University
Clearing up the Haze: Towards a Comprehensive View of the National City Air Quality Picture
The data contained in this report were generated during collaboration between National City, the Sage project, and San Diego State University’s Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) in the spring of 2014. Fourteen students from the Environmental Health division of the GSPH who were enrolled in a course entitled ‘Air Quality’, taught by Professor Zohir Chowdhury, designed and implemented studies pertinent to the hypothesized Air Quality issues which may arise in National City. Dr. Chowdhury guided and directed the implementation of the studies, and instructed on ways to optimize the study designs. In total, four studies were conducted, with students choosing to focus on various spatial and temporal components of air pollution, as well as demographics of interest within the city. This included a fixed-site, continuous monitoring study, a ‘hot-spot’ or multiple site monitoring study, a study focused on exposure to school-aged children, and an occupational exposure study. As part of the course, students were trained on relevant instrumentation, as well as rel- evant software and statistical measures to employ in the analysis of the collected data. Each study was summarized and written up in the style of a peer-reviewed journal publi- cation, and the results of each study are summarized in this report. The conclusion offers some suggestions for possible remediation steps to limit residents’ exposure to pollut- ants, as well as ideas for the scope and direction of future research efforts in the city. The scope of this project as a whole can be considered that of an exploratory pilot study. The data sampling was extensive, but by no means should it be considered an exhaus- tive or final summary of pollutant dynamics throughout the city. Rather, this project rep- resents an important first step and primary assessment of the city’s pollutant levels. The data collected provide valuable baseline information to direct further studies which can in turn paint a more complete picture of the city’s air quality., San Diego State University
Designing National City
Five teams of graduate students in the Urban Design and Land Use Planning Studio class at San Diego State University prepared design concepts for various project sites around National City, California. In this project, students and faculty collaborated with city representatives to identify core areas of potential “smart growth” development opportunities within National City. The paper provides a description of existing conditions within National City, including land use and socio–economic conditions. These data were analyzed as part of the design process, along with input from National City personnel and design professionals. The designs generated in this class were intended to provide a vision of what existing areas of the city could look like in the future with funding initiatives and correctly implemented smart growth development techniques. Several key themes emerged while preparing the designs for each site, including the importance of National City’s need for historic preservation of important sites and roadway, a lack of affordable and available housing for all population demographics, a lack of employment opportunities within the city, safety issues associated with auto–dominated roadways and underutilized public transportation, and a lack of parks and green space for residents and visitors. Ten major design recommendations are provided, based on an analysis of the five groups’ project site designs. These recommendations include the creation of transit–oriented–development sites, affordable housing units, green streets and park spaces, pedestrian corridors, and pedestrian paseos. Similarly, designs advocate for the creation of a lifestyle center, access and activity to civic and historic areas, and redesigns of several roadways and intersections. The designs also stress the importance of natural resource restoration to attract residents and visitors to the city. A brief discussion describes funding mechanisms for smart growth initiatives, and an analysis of existing and underutilized resources within National City. Specific funding alternatives, such as a military private–public partnership, smart growth grants, and Low Income Investment Funds are described. The paper concludes with a section that contains feedback from the design jury panel with their specific recommendations for the student projects and development opportunities within National City., San Diego State University
Downtown Green Streets in National City
Capstone design proposal for the Downtown Green Streets National City project, San Diego State University
El Toyon Bicycle Route
Capstone design proposal for the El Toyon bicycle route, San Diego State University
Emergency Operations Policy Research and Planning for National City’s Disaster Preparedness and Response
This report represents a body of student research and recommendations developed by the graduate students of the Master’s of Science in Homeland Security Program at San Diego State University specifically to address a request by National City. The project is in response to a request from National City to develop six annexes to National City’s base Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). The six requested annexes are Debris Management, Donations Management, Mass Medicine Distribution, Continuity of Operations, Access and Functional Needs, and Climate Change. As part of Homeland Security Course 603, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Spring semester 2015, the students formed groups of between five and eight students to produce each annex. The students referenced federal, state, and county laws, plans and administrative guidance. When available, the students relied on other municipalities’ plans as templates for their work. A summer team of three volunteer students undertook the task of turning the class produced annexes into products ready for staffing to all National City Departments for review and approval, and ultimate incorporation as annexes to the base EOP. The summer team held a series of weekly meetings on site with National City’s Homeland Security Manager. Additionally, the summer team generated series of clarifying questions, decisions, and input requests for National City. The inputs provided by National City resolved most of the outstanding recommendations and assumptions within the annexes. Any outstanding issues will be listed in the recommendation sections of each annex below. For each of the twenty-four recommendations, this report then specifies the expected outcomes anticipated from the successful implementation of the recommendation. While not an exhaustive implementation roadmap, this report provides a general description of the process necessary to implement each recommendation., San Diego State University