To capture what can be wanted and loved by the community, we embraced an interactive community engagement process as the catalyst for the design. The neighborhood is incredibly diverse, containing a historical African-American community, a still active industrial workforce, an artist community, and a growing middle class community among others. Through early conversations with community members, it became clear that this is an area rich in stories but with too few outlets that honor and share them. Cognizant of this as well as seeking ways to support people to visualize a new future we created a space that allows for tangible acts of listening and visioning. In partnership with local organizations, and under the program NOW Hunters Point, the site has been designed to function as a space for interim placekeeping and placemaking. It serves as a platform for multiple programs that can test what can ultimately be on the site from collaborations with StoryCorps, a national storytelling project, to Circus Bella, a local community circus, to Question Bridge, a world renowned art project created by artist Chris Johnson. And during the pandemic, the project has shifted to rapid response work, providing food access (through partnerships with the SF Produce Market and the SF/Marin Food Bank), COVID testing (in partnership with the San Francisco Department of Health), and other needed resources.
In March 2017, the first permanent piece of the project, the Hunters Point Shoreline, a new public access shoreline trail – the design of which was guided by the conversations and activation that have occurred as part of NOW Hunters Point – opened to the public, providing direct access to the shoreline and a model of what a community-inspired and informed project could look like.
In 2022, Pacific Gas & Electric decided to end this phase of the project. In order to close the project with as much intention as had governed its existence, the team partnered with Bay Area choreographer Kristin Damrow and her dance company KDC as well as Bayview visual artist Malik Seneferu and choreographer Lilla Pittman and her youth girl dance troupe Feline Finesse to develop an intentional goodbye. That program, An Intentional Shift, was funded by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation and featured a series of community engagements to explore conversations at the intersection of grief, healing, and place. It culminated in a daylong performance that used the entire Hunters Point Shoreline as a stage and a Pamphlet for Action intended to support residents in continuing to be engaged in the future of the overall site.
From 10 years of dynamic programming to walking the shoreline, over 30,000 people have done something on the site that, we hope, has changed their relationship and charted better opportunities for the future.
PHOTO CREDIT: Tom Fitzgerald
PHOTO CREDIT: anne Hamersky
PHOTO CREDIT: envelope a+d
PHOTO CREDIT: anne Hamersky