By Jared Brey, Next City, September 11, 2020
“After years of protest and debate, developers have agreed to sell the so-called ‘Monster in the Mission,’ a proposed apartment building in San Francisco, as part of a deal that will create around 330 new affordable apartments, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The original proposal for the site would have established around 300 market-rate units with a small number of affordable apartments, according to the report, but a group of residents objected to the proposal because they feared it would accelerate gentrification in the area. Now, the group that has agreed to buy the land, plans to donate it to the city for affordable housing to fulfill its affordability requirements in conjunction with a separate project of nearly 1,000 units, the Chronicle reported.
“The deal came out of years of community organizing by the Plaza 16 Coalition, Causa Justa:Just Cause, and others, according to 48 Hills, a San Francisco news site. Those groups had already claimed victory earlier this year, when the original proposal for the site was officially canceled, Curbed San Francisco reported at the time.
“San Francisco Mayor London Breed welcomed the news of the new deal, according to the Chronicle, which wrote that ‘if finalized, the deal would be the latest example of community pressure helping push forward an affordable housing project.’”
By Jonathan Schuppert, AICP, September 17, 2020
The theme for this year’s APA California Conference — State of Change — reminded me how adaptable and resilient planners are. It also called to mind the importance of our profession and our responsibilities as planners.
Our state is physically changing. Many of us have photos of the sky in very unnatural colors to prove it. We’re also seeing minds change around equity and racial justice, conditions and issues that have been ignored or brushed aside for far too long.
We planners are continually adapting to environmental, societal, economic, and other changes. Adaptation doesn’t come easily and it doesn’t happen by promoting the status quo. Daniel Burnham said, “Make no little plans.” APA California told us to —
Make no little conversation
A major focus of this year’s conference was the inclusion of three “big conversations” around racism and bias in planning, housing, and planning for the future. We’re still very much at the beginning of conversations that will help us better understand our role in helping to solve these major issues.
Some of my takeaways:
- Talking about racism and confronting it are like going to the gym: The less you go, the more it hurts when you do; so don’t just show up for a new year resolution and expect change.
- We need to humanize our work: kindness is core to us as a species.
- Many systems in place discourage housing diversity and affordability, despite good intentions behind the policies and practices.
- Building relationships, listening, and providing more equitable solutions are essential if we are to move forward.
I was inspired by statements that the future belongs to the problem solvers, for we planners are problem solvers. As problem solvers, we’re responsible for educating ourselves on the issues, thinking critically about potential solutions and their impacts, and working together to implement the changes needed for a brighter future.
Our APA California President, Julia Lave Johnston, challenged us to identify five things we can do as leaders. I’ve committed to:
- Listening with an open mind and learning how I can be part of the solution.
- Funding and finding resources for bias training and other educational opportunities for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Continuing and expanding our Northern Section distance education efforts to make our great events accessible to a larger audience.
- Expanding our outreach to students, and offering mentorship opportunities, especially in these troubled times.
- Being open to trying new things — and learning from our mistakes and failures, because they offer opportunities for improvement.
- Challenging everyone reading this to list five things YOU can do as leaders, to share that list with others, and to challenge others to do the same.
Now is the time for us to continue these big conversations, put on our problem-solving hats, and make meaningful contributions to shaping better lives for future generations.
Vote, planners, vote!
Election season is upon us. Northern Section will hold elections for Director Elect and Administrative Director and is calling for nominations (details in this section of Northern News).
As for national, state, and local government elections, things will be very different this year. Make sure your voice will be heard. Check your registration status or register to vote. Stay up-to-date here. Keep informed, be safe, and vote!
Launching SAVI GIStalks with SJSU’s Provost and Mr. Ensheng (Frank) Dong, developer of the Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 Dashboard
By Prof. Ahoura Zandiatashbar, San Jose State University, September 13, 2020
The Spatial Analytics and Visualization (SAVI) Center at San Jose State University is housed in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, College of Social Sciences. The SAVI Center uses the power of geography and Geographic Information Science (GIS) to produce impactful research and professional services to serve our university departments, neighborhood organizations, public agencies and private sector entities in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area.
SJSU Provost and Professor Vincent (Vin) J. Del Casino will kick off this inaugural event to launch SAVI GIStalks and provide some opening remarks. SAVI GIStalks are designed to engage and educate a broad audience about how GIS can be deployed to address societal and environmental challenges.
Our presenter is Ensheng (Frank) Dong, PhD candidate and lead developer of the Johns Hopkins University’s (JHU) Covid-19 Dashboard. The dashboard demonstrates how GIS technology and data visualization are leading efforts across the U.S. in mitigating the spread of the Covid-19 virus and managing the pandemic.
If you would like to attend, please RSVP here through Eventbrite.
This event will be live on the SJSU’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning Facebook page as well.
This event is sponsored by the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science.
For further information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
AICP | CM 1.5 Credits (Pending)
By Carly Graf, SF Examiner, August 26, 2020
City officials expect downtown and SoMa congestion will return to last year’s record levels.
“Residents can participate in a town hall or complete surveys in four different languages to learn more about the research and give their opinion.
“Low-income communities and people of color are especially hurt by congestion. They’re more likely to be transit-dependent and disproportionately affected by delays, and they tend to live and work in zones with higher rates of traffic collisions.
“Advocates for congestion pricing say a pricing scheme that discourages personal and rideshare drivers from traveling downtown during peak hours won’t keep them out … altogether [but] will encourage [residents] to use public transit or alternative transportation options.
“The scenario being tested includes a $10-$12 fee for drivers entering the congestion zone during rush hour with … plans to [charge] very low-income [drivers only half] the fee by and [exempt] low-income drivers.
“A study recommendation is expected to be presented to the SFCTA board by next year. If approved, it would need an additional two years for implementation to secure funding, complete the design, and lobby for local and state legislative approval.”
The city previously studied congestion pricing in 2012.
By Sarah Allen, AICP, and Della Acosta, AICP, September 17, 2020
While November typically brings us together for a holiday celebration, this year we will be connecting in a different way for our annual gathering. Northern Section will be hosting a multi-media campaign (think photos, videos, short stories, articles, tweets, posts, memes) across our sites, social media accounts, and newsletters, all connected by a single hashtag where participants can submit entries for positive, wholesome, radically amazing, or just plain good planning-related events, experiences, projects, or ideas that occurred in 2020.
We will bring to light the good in our lives to share with others and spread the joy we still know exists in the world. Keep a lookout for more information in the coming weeks and start thinking about what good you’ve seen and experienced this year that you would like to share with or spread to others! We look forward to celebrating YOU and the good work you do.
Key dates are October 16, November 2, and November 21
The terms of two elected Board positions, Director-Elect and Administrative Director, end December 31, 2020. A nominating committee overseen by Director-Elect Florentina Craciun was formed to solicit and review applications, with the election scheduled for November 2020. Each Board position is for a two-year term, commencing January 1, 2021. The current Director-Elect will assume the Director position on January 1, 2021.
Duties of Director-Elect
- Preside at all meetings and represent the Section in the absence of the Section Director and organize the annual Board Retreat;
- Act as Section Director should the Section Director be unable to serve, as authorized by the Section Board;
- Be responsible for keeping the Bylaws in order, appointing the Nomination Committee, and organizing elections; and
- Additionally, candidates running for Director-Elect shall have served on the Northern Section Board for at least one (1) year in the past five (5) years.
Duties of Administrative Director
- Maintain the Section records, and make such records available for members;
- Conduct the correspondence of the Section under the Section Director and the Section Board;
- Prepare and distribute the records of actions resulting from Section Board meetings;
- Work with Board members to publicize professional development activities and networking events and maintain a calendar of such activities;
- Work closely with the Communications Director to prepare the eNews; and,
- Inform APA California of section activities of interest to other APA members.
Interested Northern Section members in good standing (including incumbent Board members) must submit a complete nomination petition by October 16, 2020, that includes the following: Name, address of membership, email, work or daytime phone number, signatures of support from at least five current Northern Section members, and a brief statement of candidacy (not to exceed 500 words) to the APA California Northern Nomination Committee at email@example.com.
Electronic ballots will be sent to the Northern Section membership on November 2, 2020, and will be due November 21, 2020. The Nomination Committee will publish qualifying candidate statements in the October 27 edition of the eNews and will include on the election ballot all candidates who meet the minimum qualifications as described in the APA California Northern Bylaws (Section 4.2.2). The Bylaws can be found on the Northern Section website at http://bit.ly/O0dLMo. Please submit completed nomination petitions to the Nomination Committee Chair, Florentina Craciun, AICP, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Alex Hinds, September 11, 2020
In small towns and villages across North America, downtown post offices are much beloved greeting, gathering, and pick-up-your-mail places.
Our post office in Inverness, California (pop. 1300), is my all-time favorite. Since home delivery in the boondocks is no longer standard, such post offices are essential for getting your letters and packages, but they also are great places to see your neighbors. The staff greets you by first name, and will retrieve your mail from your gilded P.O. box no matter how many times you forget your keys, and without ever complaining.
When the threat of Covid-19 spread in the spring, our local postal crew valiantly hung what looked like repurposed Saran Wrap at their front counter. Community members spontaneously passed the hat to install a protective Plexiglas barrier to protect our postmistress, her staff, and the public.
Don’t mess with our post office!
Alex Hinds lives in Inverness, Marin County, California. He was a university lecturer and a senior consultant for the center for sustainable communities at Sonoma State University from 2009-2019, community development agency director for Marin County, 1999-2008, planning and building director for San Luis Obispo County, 1990-1999, and Lake County planning director, 1984-1990.
Go here for more on how people use the post office — this time in Brooklyn 11215. Thirteen interviews and sketches, comic book style.
The City of Livermore promoted Andy Ross from associate planner to Senior Planner. Before joining Livermore as an assistant planner in 2014, Ross was a project manager for Tri-Valley Conservancy. He holds a master of urban planning from San Jose State University and a BS in parks and natural resources management from California State University Chico.
Assembled by associate editor Sajuti Rahman Haque, September 10, 2020
Check out what our readers are saying about Northern News:
Keep up the great work. The issues this year have been great, and I look forward to the new Northern News emails every month.
—Karl Sveinsson, AICP, Oakland
YES! That last edition of NN was amazing and jam packed with content!
—Andrea Ouse, AICP, Concord
Very readable, and useful. I already sent an article from it to a planner in Santa Barbara County. Looking forward to the next issue.
—Bill Siembieda, AICP, San Luis Obispo
Wow…this is impressive!!!
—Jeffrey Lambert, Oxnard
I like what I read and see here, and in these difficult times I have a lot of time to read and contemplate.
—Gary J. Schoennauer, FAICP, San Jose
Ah, another Dr. Seuss fan, as am I and other planners I know. Maybe it is that very storybook that draws us. And I’ll take this moment to say thanks for all you do and have done for APA and our profession.
—Kevin Riley, Los Gatos