Western Neighborhoods Project is dedicated to the history of San Francisco's Richmond, Sunset, OMI and West of Twin Peaks districts.   read more ...

Western Neighborhoods Project & San Francisco Planning

Western Neighborhoods Project (WNP) is thrilled to assist the San Francisco Planning Department with outreach efforts in the Richmond District in 2024. We’ll be helping this critical city agency spread the word about west side-related features of the SF Survey, specifically the Chinese American and Russian American Historic Context Statements.

Background

The San Francisco Citywide Cultural Resources Survey (SF Survey) is a multi-year program to identify and document places and resources of cultural, historical, and architectural importance to San Francisco’s diverse communities. The SF Survey brings together interconnected efforts that inform the Planning Department’s work on land-use decisions, landmark designations, and cultural heritage initiatives. These efforts are guided by collaborations with community partners, historic preservation peers, culture bearers, and community members, to ensure knowledge of what is meaningful to communities guides the work of the Planning Department.

SF Survey helps us plan for our shared futures. San Francisco is a culturally layered and dynamic place. Preservation efforts like SF Survey help communities hold conversations on how to navigate change while keeping what is meaningful for the benefit of existing and future generations. SF Survey also helps us to acknowledge the past. The Planning Department and the historic preservation profession have been responsible for assessing the cultural and historical “value” of places. In the past, these “expert” driven evaluations and processes have excluded American Indian, Black, and other communities of color, resulting in a narrow and incomplete approach to the interpretation and preservation of what is collectively valued and protected. SF Survey is an effort to expand our collective sense of belonging and understanding of the City’s history by better reflecting the diverse histories and values of San Francisco’s communities.

You can learn more about SF Survey on the Planning Department’s website.

How is WNP Helping?

The first collaboration we worked on with the Planning Department this year is Episode #530 of the “Outside Lands San Francisco” podcast. Rich Sucre, Deputy Director of Current Planning for San Francisco, joined us to chat about how their work informs historic preservation efforts in the city.

WNP has contributed to the Planning Department’s efforts before, specifically in the compilation of Historic Context Statements (HCS). These Statements create the foundation for SF Survey by providing a comprehensive framework for identifying and evaluating San Francisco's historic and cultural resources. Since WNP was founded in 1999, we’ve contributed to or supported many of these context statements, including: Gardens in the City - Residence Parks in San Francisco, 1906-1940 HCS (in progress); Oceanside HCS (adopted 2012); Oceanview, Merced Heights, and Ingleside HCS (adopted 2010); Sunset District Residential Builders, 1925-1950 HCS (adopted 2013); Earthquake Shacks Theme Document (adopted 2021); and the Inner Sunset HCS (adopted 2024).

Recently, the Draft Chinese American Historic Context Statement was created in collaboration with the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) and authored by historian Grant Din, with contributions from William Tran and former District Supervisor Eric Mar, as well as historic preservation consultants. Highlighting the community’s San Francisco origins in Chinatown, the report also follows the westward migration of Chinese Americans into the western neighborhoods – primarily the Sunset and Richmond Districts. See the Planning Department’s website for more information about the ongoing process of preparing this report for adoption by the Historic Preservation Commission.

The Draft Russian American Historic Context Statement is forthcoming, stay tuned for more info!

Clement & Funston

Upcoming Events

In addition to the podcast episode referenced above, WNP is helping the Planning Department to stage the following events in 2024:

Wednesday, June 5, 5-7pm: Community Forum at the Internet Archive

Join WNP and the Planning Department to learn more about SF Survey efforts in your neighborhood and ensure knowledge of what is meaningful to your community guides the work of the Planning Department. Refreshments, prizes, and a tour of the Internet Archive will be provided! This event is FREE. RSVP is appreciated but not required: https://sf-survey-community-forum.eventbrite.com/

DATE TBD: Community Workshop

DATE TBD: Chinese American HCS Focus Group

DATE TBD: Russian American HCS Focus Group

DATE TBD: Richmond District History Walk