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The uptown and downtown neighborhoods of San Diego will be grouped together in one powerful City Council district after the next election. Soon the city’s core influential LGBT community and the downtown business community will share a council representative. Some existing District 3 neighborhoods, including Hillcrest, North Park and South Park, University Heights, Normal Heights and more, will be joined by neighboring Bankers Hill, Mission Hills, the Gaslamp, Little Italy and East Village.

I spent a week immersed with people who live and work in these neighborhoods. They’ve all got nuanced lists of ways they’re different from the neighborhood next door, but acknowledge they’ve got lots in common: Aging infrastructure, battles for historic preservation, homelessness, transportation and safety challenges.

Here’s a guide to our coverage of District 3:

• It’s a frequent refrain in uptown and downtown: Just because we’re living in an urban center doesn’t mean we’re not a residential neighborhood. Needs for non-car infrastructure came up in multiple neighborhoods. In Mission Hills, residents want to be able to walk or bike down Washington Street without fear of being hit by a car. Bankers Hill fought for several years to get stop signs installed to make their streets safer to cross.

• Striking the right mix of density, safe parks and transit arose as common planning challenges in Little Italy, Hillcrest and Bankers Hill and North Park. A revitalizing North Park seeks city help to bring balance to its various pockets.

• Over the past decade the city agreed to let developers build thousands of high-rise condos in East Village, and now many condo residents live distressed about the juxtaposition of their nascent neighborhood and longtime concentration of homeless people the living in the neighborhood. As downtown grows to absorb more people, those who spend their days and nights in East Village say the city has to step in stronger to lessen homelessness.

• I took those concerns to City Councilman Todd Gloria, who’s running unopposed for re-election in District 3. He argued the city has made major progress in dealing with its budget, and begun chipping away at a major maintenance backlog — his biggest accomplishments so far in office, he told me.

His priorities for his next four years in office:

• Keep the city from funding long-term costs with short-term money.

• Continue focusing on infrastructure.

• Help coordinate several initiatives in Balboa Park, including the massive party to celebrate the Panama-California Exposition’s centennial in 2015.

Read our guide to Gloria and what he wants to do about some of those issues we found in his district here.

I’m Kelly Bennett, reporter for Voice of San Diego. You can reach me directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0531.

And follow Behind the Scene on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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