Downtown News and Blog

Urban Exploration: San Francisco - Day 2

May 23, 2016 Written by

Published in Downtown News and Blog

The Downtown Alliance can learn from the successes of other neighborhoods and downtowns throughout the country. The Urban Exploration program brings public and private sector leaders together to learn about the best practices of other cities. This is the third in a series of annual trips sponsored by the Downtown Alliance to build relationships and learn from the success of other communities.

The Urban Exploration program is a working trip focused on building relationships and inspiring innovation in downtown Salt Lake City. We are currently working to strategically select projects in the bay area that correlate to emerging initiatives and issues in downtown Salt Lake City. This year's urban exploration participants will learn about downtown San Francisco's startup scene and culture of entrepreneurship, food based economy, redevelopment projects and arts and cultural initiatives.

This is the third in a series of annual trips sponsored by the Downtown Alliance to build relationships and learn from the success of other communities: we visited New York in 2014 and Chicago in 2015.

Homelessness and Tech - Innovative Service Delivery for San Francisco's Needy. 
It's no secret that San Francisco has a homeless crisis. The reality of the homeless crisis lies at the street level - and for many San Francisco residents and tourists scenes of human misery can be routine. There are several reasons for this - a lack of affordable housing, social service providers and a long history of inadequate funding that began in the early 1980's when the Reagan Administration drastically cut section 8 housing benefits. Rather than throw up their hands and ignore the problem, many San Franciscans have dedicated their lives to helping these vulnerable populations and are working from the ground up to foster change. We had the opportunity to learn from two groups at the forefront of the homeless solution. Amy Golsong (Deputy Director of Resources, Project Homeless Connect) and Rose Broome (CEO and Founder, HandUp) joined us for a breakfast panel to discuss how the two organizations are leveraging technology and the power of human relationships to fight homelessness and urban poverty in San Francisco. 

Private Management of Public Spaces - Managing Dynamic Arts, Retail and Pedestrian Corridors. 
Our group explored the historic Union Square later on in the day to see how private management can effectively run and implement programs in public spaces. We were joined by Deputy Director Ben Horne and Services Manager Randall Scott for a walking tour on the "nuts and bolts" of public space management in Union Square. Highlights of this tour included activation of the plaza through concerts and lunchtime events to alleyway activation and a new subway line. For more information on Union Square please visit www.visitunionsquaresf.com

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Private Management of Public Spaces - Safety and Security Lunch Panel.
After the tour we were joined by the Union Square Business BID Executive Director Karen Flood and San Francisco Police Department Captain David Lazar for a lunch panel on the Union Square BID's efforts to create a safe and secure environment for the for the thousands of visitors that enter the Union Square neighborhood every week. Captain Lazar emphasized the importance of their new security camera system in the areas success. 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
We checked out the newly renovated San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The SFMOMA building closed temporarily in June 2013 for a two-and-a-half year expansion project but reopened on May 14th with brand new exhibits showcasing the finest of 20th and 21st century painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, design and mixed media arts.
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The Hall SF: A "Super Pop-Up" in Mid-Market.
We toured a formerly vacant 4,000 square foot billiards spot, the Hall SF is a bustling food and drink venue in the Mid Market neighborhood featuring seven different culinary venues under the same roof. At first glance the project seems to be a home run food hall concept but here's the catch: it's temporary. This "super pop-up" project is the brainchild of Developer Tidewater Capital's effort to solve a problem vexing San Francisco city officials trying to redevelop blocks of boarded-up, dirty buildings. We heard from Tidewater Capital Partner Craig Young about this great project. 

Closing Reception @ NEWBLK with Straight Up Technologies.
Our closing reception took place at NEWBLK, a great space that blends gallery with retail and studio collective to create context to stimulate and to engage. There, we had a lively presentation from Straight Up technologies who provides customized computer networking solutions and services for industry leaders in the technology, sports and entertainment sectors.