Issue 508

What's Next for Big Planning?

San Francisco adopted two major plans this year. Will we see more of these in the future?

WHAT HAPPENED Two major projects—Treasure Island and Parkmerced—were adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2011. Collectively these projects will lead to the creation of more than 13,000 new units of housing.WHAT IT MEANS While the passage of Treasure Island and Parkmerced represent a great accomplishment for the city, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for “megaprojects” like this left in the city. At…

The Rise of Tactical Urbanism

How a temporary project turned a series of vacant lots into a destination for food, art and culture.

How a temporary project turned a series of vacant lots into a destination for food, art and culture.

Urban Ag Goes Legit

New legislation makes it legal to grow and sell produce in San Francisco and Oakland

Both San Francisco and Oakland passed legislation this year making it legal to grow and sell produce within city limits. Selling homegrown fruits and vegetables was previously illegal in both cities.

Ranked Choice Voting

How ranked-choice voting affected San Francisco's municipal elections in 2011.

WHAT HAPPENEDSan Francisco’s first competitive mayoral election using ranked-choice voting is on the books, and by most objective measures the system held up rather well: The election results were clear and uncontroversial, individual ballots contained fewer errors than in past contests and most voters chose to participate fully by ranking their first-, second- and third-choice candidates. WHAT IT MEANSDespite these results…

Prioritizing Neighborhood Schools

Has San Francisco finally gotten its student-assignment system right?

WHAT HAPPENEDThe San Francisco Board of Education adopted a new policy for the 2011–12 school year that again attempts to address community concerns and the academic needs of students. The new system gives greater weight to those applying to a neighborhood school, with priority given to students living in census tracts with low academic performance to provide increased opportunity. WHAT IT MEANSEven…

Urban Field Notes: Five PG&E Substations Celebrate Light and Sculpture

Shortly after moving to San Francisco, I was wandering the many neighborhoods and streetscapes of the city, trying to get my bearings. One building in particular struck me — it was massive, with an outward Brutalist thrust. The style reminded me of some of the historic Fascist architecture of Italy. Along its base I found an engraving: the Pacific Gas and Electric Embarcadero Substation.