Author: Naphtali Knox

SFUFF is coming soon, and some events are free

SFUFF is coming soon, and some events are free

By Fay Darmawi

SF Urban Film Fest’s mission is to leverage the power of storytelling to spark discussion and civic engagement around urban issues. We focus on what it means to live together in a city and make urban planning more equitable and inclusive.

For its 6th annual festival, the SF Urban Film Fest presents thought provoking films, panel discussions, and storytelling workshops around the theme of “Place and the Populist Revolt.”  In our most ambitious program yet, we investigate how cities are ground zero for the struggle to hold onto — or finding — a place, both for those already there and for the newly arrived. To help us collectively process these changes and challenges, we follow each film-screening with a discussion that is framed to develop community-centered solutions to ground us in the spirit of place. To help facilitate holistic discussions, the panels intentionally comprise a balance of storytellers, filmmakers, and artists, as well as policy subject experts and practitioners. 

During the week of February 2-9, 2020, events will be held at six important cultural and civic venues throughout San Francisco including SPUR, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Bayanihan Community Center, the Lab, and the Roxie Theater. Details on programs and tickets can be found on our website.

At the end of the festival, on February 9, we feature two storytelling workshops at SPUR, developed specifically for planners. The best place to start is Level 1 Workshop: How to Use Storytelling in Transportation Planning where you will learn storytelling basics in an hour and a half. Next, apply what you learned in Level 1 to storyboard with the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) at Level 2 Workshop: Make a Bad Video Better: SFCTA Congestion Pricing Study. Registration fees are $10 for Level 1 and $15 for Level 2.  If you register for both Level 1 and Level 2 the combined fee is $20. CM credits are pending for both workshops. 


The SF Urban Film Fest was founded by Fay Darmawi in 2014 to raise awareness of potential urban planning solutions to the housing crisis. It is curated and produced by a cross-disciplinary team representing academia, urban planning, housing finance, multi-media production, and independent film. Fay’s formal urbanist training is from M.I.T., where she earned her master’s in city planning, and the University of Pennsylvania (B.A., urban studies), but her love of cities is from her childhood, growing up in Jakarta, Indonesia. (Photo by Michael Axtell)

Will reuse developer exit the Concord Naval Weapons Station?

By Annie Sciacca, Bay Area News Group, January 8, 2020

“One day after the Concord City Council decided not to step in to settle their dispute with local labor over how much of the $6 billion redevelopment of old Navy land should be done by union workers, developer Lennar Concord LLC and Five Point declined to say or speculate what its next move will be.

“The proposed development would be the biggest in Concord’s history and one of the largest in the region, slated to cover 2,300 acres with 13,000 housing units and millions of square feet of office, retail and campus space.

“When both Lennar and the Contra Costa Building Trades Council indicated they were at an impasse over union labor, the council was asked to step in and decide whether the labor agreement offered by Lennar satisfies city-approved terms.

“On Wednesday, the council instead instructed both sides to keep negotiating and established non-binding guidelines that include hiring a certain number of local workers, running an apprenticeship program, offering assistance and workforce placement/training to veterans, and maintaining a prevailing wage standard. The unions had suggested most of those guidelines.

“ ‘I’m not sure this gives us guidance to get out of impasse,’ Lennar executive Kofi Bonner told the council at the end of Wednesday’s meeting. ‘One wonders how one goes forward.’

“Although Lennar representatives wouldn’t say what will happen next, a city staff report suggests the company might walk away from the project if forced to use more union labor.”

Read more here.

If you care about California’s housing crisis, give SB50 a chance this time

By Kerry Cavanaugh, editorial writer, LA Times, Jan 7, 2019

“Whatever you think of SB 50, it’s pretty much the only serious proposal on the table that deals with the root causes of the state’s housing shortage, including the decades-long failure to construct enough homes to keep up with population growth and the zoning restrictions that dramatically limit the number of homes that can be built. If the bill fails to leave the Senate, then California’s most ambitious effort to spur housing construction will be dead, again, for another year.

“[Wiener’s] amendments to SB 50 [aim to] alleviate … the … criticisms … that … the bill robs well-intentioned communities of the opportunity to accommodate denser and more affordable housing near transit on their own terms. … Now SB 50 allows cities two years to adopt their own plans to … increase the amount of market-rate and affordable housing built near transit and job centers.”

Read more here.

Meanwhile, in Palo Alto, “Councilwoman Lydia Kou refused to vote for new Mayor Adrian Fine — a proponent of SB 50 — on the grounds of his support for the proposed legislation. Reiterating earlier criticisms, Kou called the bill ‘one-size-fits-all’ and said any amendments would be ‘lipstick on a pig.’ On Monday, Fine said he plans to make housing one of his top priorities as mayor. ‘We’ve been averaging about 50 to 60 (new homes) per year,’ Fine said. ‘In my opinion, that’s not good enough.’ ” Fine, age 33, holds an MCP from UPenn.

In memoriam: Pioneering equity planner Norman Krumholz, FAICP

In memoriam: Pioneering equity planner Norman Krumholz, FAICP

Said equity planning was not radical

By Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer, December 21, 2019

“Former Cleveland city planning director Norman Krumholz, one of the nation’s most respected and progressive city planners, died December 21, 2019, in Rockville, Maryland. He was 92.

Norman Krumholz, FAICP. APA file photo

“Krumholz was part of a generation of urban thinkers who reacted against federally-funded Urban Renewal projects that displaced low income and minority residents.

“As planning director and later as a professor at Cleveland State University, Krumholz became a widely known advocate for equity planning, holding that planners should work to improve life for the city’s poorest residents rather than serve powerful interests in big development projects.

“Krumholz put his philosophy to work as Cleveland’s city planning director from 1969 to 1979, during the administration of Carl Stokes, the first black mayor of a major American city.

“Instead of producing a traditional plan for the physical development of Cleveland, Krumholz led the formulation of the city’s ‘Policy Planning Report’ — which the American Planning Association (APA) later called “a pioneering work that is the first example of equity planning being broadly applied in an American city.” APA designated the report a National Planning Landmark in 2003.

“The report stated that, ‘in a context of limited resources and pervasive inequalities, priority must be given to promoting a wider range of choices for those who have few, if any, choices.’ ” It was no accident, then, that the notion of “equity planning” began appearing in APA publications in the 1970s.

“Krumholz said equity planning was not radical in nature, calling it instead an appropriate way to address the ‘inherently exploitative nature’ of urban development, which sorts people by social class and consigns ‘the poorest and darkest to the central city or first-ring suburbs.’ ”

Norman Krumholz received his master’s degree in city and regional planning from Cornell University in 1965. He became assistant director of the Pittsburgh City Planning Commission, a post he held until moving to Cleveland in 1969. After 10 years as Cleveland’s planning director, and then leading the Cleveland Center for Neighborhood Development (1979-1984), he became a professor in the College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University. He also served on the Cleveland City Planning Commission, 2006-2014.

A longstanding member of APA, Krumholz served as APA president, 1986-1987, was a member of the APA Board, 2002-2005, and was president of AICP, 1999-2001. He received the APA Award for Distinguished Leadership in 1990.

He was the coauthor of several books, including, with John Forester, “Making Equity Planning Work,” 1990. The book is considered a classic, and APA listed it as one of the 100 Essential Books of Planning in the 20th century. The Cleveland Foundation recently funded a follow-up volume, “Advancing Equity Planning Now” (Cornell, 2018). Krumholz edited the volume and wrote the introduction. In 1999, with Dennis Keating, Krumholz co-authored “Revitalizing Urban Neighborhoods.”

In 2003, Krumholz was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners, which recognized him as “a developer of equity planning, an educator to thousands, and an author who inspired a nation of planners.”

In an October 2019 article, “Bringing equity to the forefront of urban planning,” Benjamin Schneider wrote, “Since Krumholz’s tenure in Cleveland, many of his efforts were rolled back, and few other planners even attempted the depth of reforms he advocated. ‘Our model, after all, asked city planners to be what few public administrators are: activist, risk-taking in style, and redistributive in objective,’ Krumholz wrote. Today, the word equity appears on nearly every urban planning document.”

You can read the full obituary in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer here.

“City Dreamers,” doc film on women architects who built 20th century cities

By Anne-Marie Bissada, RFI, December 13, 2019

“Thanks to the vision and expertise of four trailblazing female architects, some of North America’s iconic cities evolved to ensure a balance between modernism and human urbanism.

“The last major push for urban planners to create new city spaces was after World War II, when towns were expanding rapidly to create a new modern era of suburban living, cars, and highways.

“Among those urban planners were four women — all architects. They are the focus of the documentary City Dreamers by Montreal-based director Joseph Hillel.

“Through rare film clips of the women and the work they did throughout the 20th century, he pieces together the legacy they left — each with her own theory, vision, or approach to urban landscaping and planning.”

Read the article and see a trailer here.

Northern News December 2019-January 2020

Northern News December 2019-January 2020 Featured

Northern News


A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

December 2019-January 2020

An American planner in Canada

“Logistically, crossing the border to the north and working as a planner couldn’t have been easier. The position of urban planner is one of 25 recognized under the NAFTA (and soon USMCA) trade agreements that allow an accelerated and simplified immigration process into Canada. All I needed was a job offer letter, copies of my résumé and planning degree, and a simple application form submitted at the border.”

New state law helps kids and communities thrive, while relieving zoning headaches

SB 234 (Skinner), signed by Governor Newsom on September 5, 2019, makes every licensed large-family child care home a permitted use by right, just like small-family child care homes. Although the new law will go into effect January 1, 2020, some local planning departments are already getting a head start to support their communities. (Article by Julia Frudden and Andrew Mogensen, AICP.)

Meet a local planner – Danielle DeRuiter-Williams

Catarina Kidd, AICP, interviews Danielle DeRuiter-Williams, Co-Founder and Head of Growth and Expansion at The Justice Collective in Oakland, a women-of-color-led social impact consultancy. Ms. DeRuiter-Williams recently spoke at the two-session Chapter President’s panel, “Cultural and Implicit Bias Training for Planners,” at the APA California 2019 conference in Santa Barbara. In this interview, Ms. Kidd asks what The Justice Collective was intended to accomplish, and what challenges Danielle DeRuiter-Williams has faced and is facing.

Getting downtowns moving with convenient and sustainable access

More than 30 local residents, stakeholders, and policymakers attended and participated in a spirited discussion around the opportunities for — and constraints around — accessing busy downtowns through more sustainable modes, the role parking management plays in increasing access and mitigating congestion, and the idea that building affordable housing near job centers is a TDM measure.

A community engagement project: Toward a Vision for the Alum Rock Community of San Jose

“The goal of this graduate student ‘capstone’ project was to assist San Jose’s Alum Rock community in creating a vision for future development in the area, focusing on and incorporating community engagement. To that end, we interviewed area residents, businesses, and community leaders to help understand the assets and issues they prioritized. Our engagement with local residents included two phases: community assessment (data collection and analysis) and a collaborative community engagement event.” Illustrated.

Where in the world?

Tap for the answer

Northern Section announcements

Databases updated for California’s protected areas

The California Protected Areas Database and the California Conservation Easement Database have just been updated and are available for free download. CPAD and CCED are California’s authoritative parks and open space databases. They cover more than 15,000 parks and other protected areas, held by 1,000 agencies and nonprofits.

Northern Section election result

In a Section-wide election held in November, Michael P. Cass was elected to continue as Northern Section’s Treasurer for a two-year term, commencing January 1, 2020. He had been appointed Treasurer in March 2019 to fill a vacancy.

Libby Tyler, FAICP, is a 2020 Dale Prize Winner

The $5,000 prize recognizes excellence in urban and regional planning. Two prizes will be awarded at Cal Poly Pomona March 5 and 6, 2020.

Last chance to register for the May 2020 AICP EXAM

Our spring workshops are an excellent way to start studying for the May 2020 exam. Those who attend receive hundreds of multiple choice practice test questions, with answers and rationales, plus study materials such as a summary of the classic planning texts and our unique “Tips on the AICP Exam.”

Houston is calling: NPC Member-only registration through January 8

If you plan on going to Houston April 25–28, register now. Through January 8, you will have exclusive access to claim tickets for mobile workshops, orientation tours, and other popular activities.

Who’s where

In this segment, we cover three new appointments to the Northern Section Board and four job changes from the Peninsula to the North Bay: Della Acosta, AICP; Curtis Banks, AICP; Leslie Carmichael, AICP; Zachary Dahl, AICP; Veronica Flores; Gillian Hayes; and Edgar Maravilla. Congratulations all!

Northern Section Holiday Party kicks off the Season

Photos by Northern Section Webmaster Tom Holub. Some 100+ attended the Nov. 22 event at La Peña Cultural Center, a longtime Berkeley institution.


We publish 10 times each year as a forum for the exchange of planning ideas and information. Entirely the effort of volunteers, Northern News is written and produced by and for urban planners in northern California.

Planning news roundup

“City Dreamers,” doc film on women architects who built 20th century cities

Through rare clips, the film pieces together the legacy these four women left — each with her own theory, vision, or approach to urban landscaping and planning.

Improving road safety in Oakland with equity

“When we ride out, we ride down the middle of the-street,” one resident told OakDOT. To center equity within its work, the City of Oakland created a Department of Race and Equity in 2019 to embed racial equity practices throughout city agencies, and developed a data-driven approach to equity that can help the agency hold itself accountable.”

Special Mobile Home zoning OK’d to save affordable housing

“Advocates said they hope to prevent conversions at a time when owners could be tempted to redevelop the properties to capitalize on rising housing and land costs. Such conversions have occurred in high-cost areas elsewhere in California, where mobile home parks are one of the few remaining sources of unsubsidized affordable housing, county officials said.”

San Diego looks to scrap residential density limits, use FAR instead

“San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is opening another salvo in his administration’s efforts to address the city’s housing affordability crisis by proposing the ‘Complete Communities Housing Solutions Initiative,’ a scheme that looks beyond simply building new housing to embrace holistic urban development. The proposal [would] refocus the zoning code to incentivize the development of smaller units and allow housing developers to offer community amenities that are decoupled from auto-oriented uses.”

San Diego city council strengthens inclusionary requirements

The new law requires developers to make 10 percent of the homes they build available to low-income renters — those earning 60 percent of Area Median Income — or pay an in lieu fee of $25 per square foot to opt out of the inclusionary requirement.

Worth a look: SF’s most underrated buildings

Curbed San Francisco readers reveal the local unpraised buildings they love most.

Court: California charter cities must prioritize Affordable Housing on Public Land

“Writing for the panel, Justice Eugene Premo [wrote] … ‘We find that the state can require a charter city to prioritize surplus city-owned land for affordable housing development and subject a charter city to restrictions in the manner of disposal of that land, because the shortage of sites available for affordable housing development is a matter of statewide concern.’ ”

What SF crane watch does and doesn’t tell us

From an article by Sarah Holder, CityLab, September 24, 2019.

“Rider Levett Bucknall, a construction project management company, [conducts] a semi-annual international Crane Count.

“As dots on a map, all cranes may look the same. But their impact isn’t indiscriminate. Are they harbingers of displacement, or agents of much-needed supply?

“Two things can be true: San Francisco’s crane count is almost half that of Seattle, and its affordability crisis is more severe. The average rent for a Golden Gate one-bedroom reached $3,700 this year, while in Seattle that figure is $2,130. [And] 78 percent of Seattle cranes were building mixed-use and residential projects in January, while in San Francisco, only 35 percent were involved in housing.

“RLB doesn’t factor affordability into their analysis, but most of the luxury housing being sold on the San Francisco market is part of existing housing stock, not new apartments, according to a 2017 analysis by the Urban Institute. At least some of this crane-related activity is easing, not exacerbating, the city’s housing crisis.

“The last count found cranes concentrated in South of Market (SOMA) and Portrero Hill, where multifamily projects have been rising. Construction was also active in Parnassus Heights, where UCSF’s Medical Center was growing.

“When the final count was released in July, North America’s overall crane count had jumped yet again, for the fourth consecutive year. But San Francisco’s count had again decreased, one of only three cities to see slumps. The decrease was probably due to the completion of two major projects, the new Chase Arena and the UCSF medical center.

“Counting tower cranes might not be the best way to track the real momentum of a city’s construction scene: Sorely needed missing-middle housing, like duplexes and fourplexes, don’t require the same construction gear. But for now, it’s the best RLB’s got.”

Read the full article here.



FEATURED ARTICLES: Meet a local planner — Leah Greenblat • Can a sports arena be a mixed-use, multiplex, urban park? • Reclaiming Downtown for People • WHERE IN THE WORLD • NORTHERN SECTION ANNOUNCEMENTS: Get your AICP | CM credits for Ethics and Law • Nominations for Treasurer, APA California – Northern • State, federal funds awarded to California’s smaller jurisdictions • Emeryville’s Miroo Desai elected to APA California office • Who’s where • Sign up for mentoring • CPF wants YOU • Call for Nominations, East Bay Innovation Awards • About Northern News • PLANNING NEWS ROUNDUP, six articles excerpted and linked.

Northern News October 2019
Above photo of the San Francisco skyline, looking south from Tiburon, is by George Osner. "Meet a local planner" returns in this issue.

Northern News October 2019

Northern News


A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

Where in the world?

Tap for the answer

Northern Section announcements

Get your AICP | CM credits for Ethics and Law

Get your mandatory “AICP CM” credits on Ethics and Planning Law via Northern Section’s webcast on APA’s “Ethics Case of the Year” Oct. 25, 2019, and a Planning Law webcast Nov. 15 on cannabis, SB 35, and streamlining statutes. BOTH FREE.

Nominations for Treasurer, APA California – Northern Section

The term of Treasurer, an elected APA California – Northern Section Board position, will end on December 31, 2019. A Nominations Committee is soliciting and will review applications. The Treasurer will serve a two-year term commencing January 1, 2020.

State, federal funds awarded to California’s smaller jurisdictions

14 California cities (four in Northern Section) got a total of $3.15 million in SB 2 planning grants, and CDBG funds totaling $21.7 million were awarded to 18 of California’s smaller cities and counties, including five in Northern Section.

Emeryville’s Miroo Desai elected to APA California office

This was the first election in which the new board position of Vice President for Diversity and Equity was on the ballot.

Who’s where

Diana Benitez is the new Planners4Health Coordinator, Northern Section. Izanie Love, Student Representative to the Northern Section Board from San Jose State University. Amy Lyle, new North Bay Regional Activity Coordinator (RAC). See their photos and brief bios.


APA California – Northern is recruiting its 2019-2020 Mentorship Class, a career development initiative that offers one-on-one matching between young planners and experienced professionals who serve as mentors. JOIN BY OCTOBER 18, 2019.

The California Planning Foundation wants YOU

CPF is recruiting APA California members to run for elected CPF Board positions. Here’s the Schedule: Nominations Submittal Deadline, October 21, 2019. Slate Approval and Voting by Email Ballot, November 4 through December 2, 2019.

Call for Nominations, East Bay Innovation Awards

The East Bay Economic Development Alliance, serving Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, awards companies and organizations that contribute to the East Bay’s legacy of innovation. Now nominate for “Built Environment,” a category added for the 2020 awards.


We publish 10 times each year as a forum for the exchange of planning ideas and information. Entirely the effort of volunteers, Northern News is written and produced by and for urban planners in northern California.

Planning news roundup

What SF crane watch does and doesn’t tell us

By Sarah Holder, CityLab, September 24, 2019. “As dots on a map, all cranes may look the same. But their impact isn’t indiscriminate. Are they harbingers of displacement, or agents of much-needed supply?”

Bay Area employment tops 4.1 million jobs for first time

Excerpts from a Mercury News article by George Avalos, September 21, 2019. The Bay Area’s job market growth has outpaced the state and the nation. For the first time, the Bay Area has more than 4.1 million non-farm payroll jobs, and the newest jobs pay more.

Vancouver may be able to pull off ride-hailing as a complement to public transit

Excerpts from an article in CityLab by Laura Bliss, September 17, 2019. Fifty-three percent of Vancouverites manage to get to work by means other than driving. One thing is conspicuously missing from this urbanist dreamscape: ride-hailing: Uber tried but couldn’t get its way into Vancouver in 2012. But applications to operate a TNC in British Columbia opened on September 3, and B.C. transportation leaders are cautiously optimistic about being a last-adopter.

“Accept the Era of the Ministerial”

“Cities around California are beginning to feel tremendous pressure from the state to accommodate new housing rather than just plan for it. And there’s a growing feeling among planners around California that the cities they work for had better be more proactive on the housing issue so that the state doesn’t step in with even more onerous requirements.” —Bill Fulton, remarking on CP&DR about a panel at the recent APA California conference in Santa Barbara.

Less disruptive passenger pick-ups and drop-offs for ride-hail apps

Univ of Washington press release, Sept 5, 2019. Creating a designated space for passenger loading (PLZ) can discourage double-parking and reduce traffic conflicts, with geofencing used to increase driver compliance.

SB 330 has passed the California Legislature and is on the governor’s desk

The new law will spur development of affordable housing, limit fees on affordable housing, prohibit demolition of affordable and rent-controlled units unless they’re replaced, and give existing tenants first right of return. The bill was enrolled and presented to the Governor at 2 pm on September 17th.

Main-Street Modern: How Columbus, Indiana, became a design capital

From an article by Kriston Capps, CityLab, with eight large color photos, Sept. 3, 2019. “Just 45 minutes south of Indianapolis, Columbus is in most respects a quaint Hoosier town brimming with main-street appeal. But in one vital way, it is unlike any other place in the country. It is a mecca for Modernism, a repository of mid-century architecture. As unlikely as it sounds, Columbus, Indiana, is a citadel of design.”

Bay Area employment tops 4.1 million jobs for first time

Excerpts from a Mercury News article by George Avalos, September 21, 2019

“The Bay Area added 5,100 [non-farm payroll] jobs during August. The upswing was led by the region’s three major employment hubs, the South Bay, East Bay, and San Francisco-San Mateo region, the state’s Employment Development Department reported. Mark Vitner, senior economist with San Francisco-based Wells Fargo Bank, said ‘The region continues to be on a roll because the tech sector is the fastest growing part of the economy.’

“The Bay Area’s job market growth has outpaced the state and the nation. Over the one-year period that ended in August, job totals grew by 2.5 percent in the Bay Area [even with job losses of 1,900 in Sonoma, Napa, and Marin Counties. That compares to a 1.4 percent gain nationally and 1.8 percent in California.]

“[This is] the first time, the Bay Area has had more than 4.1 million non-farm payroll jobs. The last time the nine-county region suffered a job loss was in October 2018, EDD statistics show.

“Plus, the types of jobs appearing in the South Bay and San Mateo regions are well-paying tech positions. It appears the tech sector has yet to cool off in the Bay Area, said Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. ‘The job growth in these areas is fantastically positive in terms of income gains,’ Levy said. ‘They are information jobs, professional, scientific, and technical positions, tech jobs, categories that are higher-paying and faster-growing.’ ”

Read the full article here.