The Tenderloin is one of the most diverse and dense neighborhoods in San Francisco. It is home to a significant population of immigrants, multigenerational families, and children. Rich in cultural wealth, it also is also a highly challenged neighborhood burdened by high rates of homelessness, drug use, and feelings of neglect by the City. These challenges became even more exacerbated during the pandemic. The streets of the Tenderloin, which are the most significant public space in the neighborhood, are also where these challenges are most visible. Studio O is working as a strategic collaborator to the local design firm Envelope A+D, Tenderloin Community Benefit District, and the City of San Francisco on a series of projects from quality-of-life research of residents to a popup park to a public space transformation toolkit. All have been part of an effort to catalyze an iterative process that transforms the spaces of the Tenderloin into tools that support a better quality of life rather than exist as a barrier to it.
The Tech is a family-friendly science and technology center that seeks to inspire the innovator in everyone. Leveraging hands-on activities, experimental labs and immersive STEAM education resources, they seek to develop the next generation of problem-solvers. As they reflected on the communities that they engage with and look to expand into a new space, Studio O worked with them to provide strategic advising around issues of spatial justice and how they intersect with the museum’s community engagement, physical design, and strategic visioning.
The India Basin Park redevelopment is an effort from a collaborative team, spearheaded by the City of San Francisco to address issues of park equity by transforming a shoreline park in the historically marginalized neighborhood of Bayview Hunters Point into an iconic, world-class public space. Recognizing that large-scale investment in neighborhoods like this often triggers gentrification and displacement, the project has also included an Equitable Development Plan (EDP) a relatively new process that seeks to ensure that projects like this not only result in great spaces but also increased capacity for existing residents to stay and thrive. Studio O provided early support in establishing a spatial justice framework to refine the park design and develop the EDP.
With one of the most prominent encyclopedic collections in the world and as part of its 150-year anniversary, the museum wanted to explore what does belonging mean for a major cultural institution. Studio O utilized a spatial justice lens to analyze and develop ideas around how an iconic building could creatively adapt to feel more welcoming and inclusive and how the museum could better hold itself accountable to being a place of belonging.