2018 National Planning Conference

Towers, Cranes—and Street Life

Saturday, April 13, 2019, 4:15 p.m. - Saturday, April 13, 2019, 5:30 p.m. PDT

CM | 1.25

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC198189

Location: 2006

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  • Envision how an activation or street life plan could benefit urban districts in their community.
  • Understand the growing role community benefit districts can play in planning for a high-quality public environment.
  • Understand more clearly how design and programming are linked and both needed to foster successful public spaces.


South Downtown San Francisco is rising, with the new Transbay Terminal and Salesforce Tower as its signature elements. As thousands of workers and residents move in, the need to create vibrant streets and public spaces has come into focus. Just to the west, the Yerba Buena Cultural District is vitally entwined with this change, while recognizing the opportunity to integrate its parts into a more memorable whole, with streets and public spaces as the glue.
The South Downtown Design + Activation Plan and the Yerba Buena Street Life Plan, both completed within the last year, represent a unique and exciting planning context and model. Both take place in a context where streets serve large traffic volumes but now need to become the framework for walkable, socially cohesive downtown neighborhoods. The plans move beyond familiar concerns of urban form and transportation to focus on the experience of place. And they show an emerging role for community benefit districts in placemaking. Hear about public art, rebalancing mobility, alley activation, the conversion of marginal land into new public spaces, and other initiatives that that will add vitality to San Francisco’s core. What lessons can be learned for other downtown neighborhoods across the country?

This course is approved to offer 1.25 LUs (AIA). This course is approved to offer 1.25 PDHs (ASLA).

Session Speakers

Constance Cavallas
Yerba Buena Community Benefit District
San Francisco, CA

Paul Chasan
San Francisco Planning Department
San Francisco, CA

James Stickley
San Francisco, CA

Lawrence Li
San Francsico