Federation for
Housing and

IFHP Travel Squad reports from San Francisco

San Francisco - ‘America’s center of planning innovation’ – is often referred to as a green, data-driven, people-centered and multicultural city with a high degree of ‘DIY urbanism’.

Photo: San Francisco CBD. Courtesy: MomentsForZen, Creative Commons

How does this seemingly innovative approach affect housing and urban planning in the Bay Area? The IFHP Travel Squad will visit San Francisco in October to report on insights and best practice from The City by the Bay.

Open communication and data sharing
Innovative solutions and entrepreneurial thinking has been an intrinsic part of the San Francisco Bay Area for decades. With its proximity to Silicon Valley the city has had the opportunity to be at the forefront of the digital development, setting new standards for data sharing and communication. The travel squad will look at the city’s take on creative co-operation and open communication between city government and citizens. Is the city benefitting from the abundant technological possibilities? And do we see local solutions to global challenges?

Social and physical infrastructure
As a vibrant, multi-cultural metropolis with a challenging physical environment, prone to both earthquakes and climate related disasters, San Francisco faces tangible and potential infrastructural challenges. The city is in the midst of transforming public spaces, transit systems and public participation infrastructure to create a truly livable city. Through blogs and visual storytelling the task force will report on how the city is planning and working on meeting the demands of the urban population now and in the future.

Photos: Better Market Street. Courtesy: CMG landscape architecture

Transforming the central backbone
Central in the process of regenerating and revitalizing the urban realm lays the recognition that the iconic Market Street, connecting the bay with the hills, downtown businesses, cultural facilities and recreation, should make a positive contribution to public life in the city. With the intention of transforming the main street from a public transport corridor to a boulevard where visitors and residents like to live and spend time, the San Francisco government hired Gehl Architects in 2011 to lead the design work to change the priorities of Market Street's public spaces.

The work led to the development of ‘Living Innovation Zones’ - a new form of privately funded publicly accessible spaces on ten key locations along Market Street. The question is how these public-private partnerships are working out? The travel squad will report on the first ever Living Innovation Zone opening this October.

Stay tuned
The IFHP Travel Squad will be in San Francisco October 6 - 13, 2013, bringing you a dose of San Francisco both during and after the visit. So stay tuned.

Read the previous blogs on San Francisco
San Francisco at a glance with IFHP
Living Innovation Zones - a tool to improve public space
San Francisco innovating through data sharing
San Francisco – green and growing
San Francisco - City of High and Low
Parklets - claiming back the streets
San Francisco - City of Tranparency and Innovation