PROXY SF, Here for Now, and NOW Hunters Point:
Research, Strategy, and Organizational Development
I have been involved with envelope a+d’s evolving portfolio of creative placemaking and culturally engage planning projects since 2011. Our partnership began with envelope a+d’s participation in the Architecture and the City Festival and companion exhibition, the Architecture of Consequence, which featured the firm’s project PROXY SF. PROXY SF is an emerging model of ‘flexible urbanism’ that demonstrates how underused urban areas can be transformed into thriving centers of creative expression, economic opportunity, participatory planning, and social exchange. PROXY’s content evolves in dialogue with the community and includes platforms for cultural engagement, education, and micro-storefronts for emerging local enterprises.
In 2011, I conceived and oversaw the Architecture and the City Festival and cental exhibition the Architecture of Consequence which were designed as an experimental form of participatory research. A wide variety events held across San Francisco and Marin County demonstrated ways progressive design, participatory planning, and creative problem solving can reshape contemporary cities and culture. The festival featured forty different programs offered across the Bay Area, over the course of one month. As part of the festival we presented a public debate that featured a cross-section of leadership from San Francisco’s municipal planning and building agencies, members Hayes Valley neighborhood association, and envelope a+d. This panel was convened to discuss the merits and weaknesses of current municipal planning policies and building codes, with a focus on understanding their efficacy in creating enabling environments for creative placemaking practices.
PROXY SF was featured in the US Pavilion of the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale, and can be seen at MoMA NY in the exhibition Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanism for Expanding Megacities. PROXY SF’s underlying strategy of integrating the arts, culture, and public creativity has been written about widely and is featured in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s March, 2015 issue of Evidence Matters. Building upon insights harvested throughout the PROXY SF experience, envelope a+d continues to integrate the arts with participatory planning and development practices in historically marginalized parts of the city.
Since 2011, I have supported envelope a+d with project specific management strategy, research, and organizational development services. I am currently providing research and organizational development support for the project NOW Hunters Point.
This project created to help revitalize the site of a former PG&E power plant in the Bayview–Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. envelope a+d devised a strategy that utilizes live prototyping, not only to test objects — like the listening booth used to record neighborhood narratives — but to establish a way of engaging community members that is reciprocal, respectful, and responsive. The first element of this larger project, Listening NOW Hunters Point, brought the national oral history nonprofit StoryCorps to the neighborhood to capture the histories of the people who make up this vibrant community and begin a conversation about their vision for the future. These narratives subsequently inform the shape, scale, and content of design and development interventions in the neighborhood.
Inspired by this work and the concept of flexible urbanism more broadly, we recently created HERE FOR NOW, a nonprofit organization that promotes cultural vibrancy, education, engagement, and delight through temporary interventions focused on art and design. I currently serve as secretary on HERE FOR NOW’s Board of Directors.