Civic Center Community Outreach

San Francisco, CA

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Image Credit: San Francisco Planning Department

Setting New Standards for City Engagement

The design and engagement approach to Civic Center’s public spaces supports community participation by encouraging discourse, interaction, and the sharing of ideas among constituents. CMG led a team of ten consultants on this inter-agency effort spearheaded by the Planning Department, which included eight City departments and engaged over sixty community organizations. The Plan set a new standard for City engagement by reaching traditionally under-represented communities, particularly bilingual and monolingual residents, and residents citywide through public workshops, intercept surveys, in-language and youth focus groups, meetings with organizations and stakeholders, online surveys, and on-site outreach. Participation by community and institutional stakeholders directly contributed to all aspects of the Vision. Previous outreach efforts for projects in and around the district were primarily in English. The team held focus groups with residents from neighboring Vietnamese, Latino, and Chinese and Youth (aged 13-17) communities. Neighborhood events distributed in-language intercept surveys.

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San Francisco Planning’s Groundplay Program, CMG, and Sheet Metal Alchemist developed a Mobile Outreach Station which is being deployed in the Civic Center. The Station is a playful interpretation of City Hall, Market Street, and the three public spaces, designed for on-site engagement. It consists of two large rolling display/chalk boards, a large-scale aerial map of the Civic Center public realm, and a City Hall suggestion box. People can walk on the map to place stickers of various public space amenities in locations where they’d like to see those amenities in the future.

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Civic Center is the largest public space in San Francisco that is in a low-income neighborhood inhabited by residents from diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. Through deep community engagement and analysis of historic assets, the vision will transform Civic Center into thriving social infrastructure, prioritizing public life and the needs of the local community.