Is there room for San Francisco in San Francisco?
A project by Bik Van der Pol
Commissioned by Public Knowledge at SFMOMA in partnership with San Francisco Public Library
This blog will be updated with the latest events as soon as more details are available. Scroll down for the latest events.
The city of San Francisco is a living form, constantly changing and evolving,: from its genesis as the country’s leading gold rush destination to its current status as the technology and information center of the world. Yet as the city increasingly becomes a hub for global capital, access to city services, infrastructure, and housing has drastically diminished for many people. Notions of civic participation and inclusion in San Francisco have also undergone profound changes, prompting questions around how to make and protect space for living.
Take Part seeks to create a shared public vision of the city by anchoring discussions about its past, present, and future, as well as its challenges and opportunities, to a tangible object—a thousand-square-foot scale model of San Francisco built in the late 1930s—at the city’s public libraries.
This model, a detailed wooden replica of the city of San Francisco at a scale of one inch to one hundred feet, was built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the late 1930s, under the New Deal. It was first displayed in sections in the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island in 1939. From 1940 to 1942, it was displayed in City Hall. The model was used as an urban planning tool by city agencies and departments through the 1960s. The downtown portion then became a research and planning tool in the Environmental Simulation Laboratory in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley. The model has not been on public view in its entirety since 1942.
Take Part will reimagine San Francisco by way of its people through public events and programs that will involve the participation of librarians, urban planners, cartographers, social geographers, historians, students, and—we hope—you! Take Part invites you to experience the model, reflect on your relationship to the city, and imagine the city’s possibilities.
The title of Take Part comes from “Taking Part,” a community planning workshop process created in the 1970s by Lawrence and Anna Halprin, a landscape architect and dancer/choreographer, respectively. The workshops encouraged “collective creativity,” or people working together in groups to solve complex problems. Collective creativity can be applied to a range of interactions, including personal communications, city planning, education, and community development.
Take Part encourages collective creativity by sharing ideas, soliciting advice and knowledge from across layers of society, involving a multitude of voices in discussions, and inviting participants from diverse backgrounds, skills, and ages to infuse the model with their perspectives.