NOW Hunters Point
Role:Designer, Strategist, Community Engagement Lead
This project asks the question of how to transform a former industrial zone into a dynamic activity center that can be embraced and stewarded by the diverse local community. For much of its history, San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point has been home to many industrial uses, including a power plant. In 2006, community lobbying helped lead to the closure of the power plant and its owner, PG&E worked with the community to undertake a process of remediation. Now that process is nearly complete and it’s time to begin the next chapter in the story of this place. In an attempt to capture what can be wanted and loved by the community, the project team has embraced an interactive community engagement process as the catalyst for the design. The neighborhood is incredibly diverse, containing a historical African-American community, a still active industrial workforce, an artist community, and a growing middle class community among others. Through early conversations with community members, it became clear that this is an area rich in stories that mark the area’s history and diversity but which there have been few outlets to share and capture them. Cognizant of this as well as the fact that it was hard for people to visualize a future for the site without never having been able to step foot on it, the team created an early intervention space that allows for tangible acts of listening and visioning. The current temporary structure, which was constructed in collaboration with local labor and youth, is an event space that can serve as a platform for multiple programs that can test what can ultimately be on the site. Most recently, the project team collaborated with StoryCorps, a national storytelling project, and Circus Bella, a local community circus. Through these dynamic events, community members have been able to share stories of the past, successes and struggles of the present, and hopes for the future with the project team and with one another.