NOW Hunters Point
Role:Designer, Strategist, Community Engagement Lead
This project asks the question of how to transform a former industrial site 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, Pacific Gas & Electric 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 a space that allows for tangible acts of listening and visioning. Working in partnership with local organizations, and under the program NOW Hunters Point, the site has been designed to function as an interim event space. It serves as a platform for multiple programs that can test what can ultimately be on the site from collaborations with StoryCorps, a national storytelling project, to Circus Bella, a local community circus. In March 2017, the first permanent piece of the project, a new public access shoreline trail – the design of which was inspired by the conversations and activation that have occurred as part of NOW Hunters Point – opened to the public, providing direct access to the shoreline and a model of what a community-inspired and informed project could look like. From four years of dynamic programming to walking the shoreline, over 12,000 people have done something on the site that, we hope, has changed their relationship and charted better opportunities for the future.