Reimagining San Francisco for the Post-COVID Era

A San Francisco nonprofit is developing a set of recommendations for making downtown neighborhoods more flexible and welcoming to a more diverse set of users.

1 minute read

November 30, 2021, 8:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

San Francisco Street

welcomia / Shutterstock

A San Francisco nonprofit is working on a plan to redesign the city's streets to address the changes wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic and find ways to adjust to the post-COVID future, reports Jason Plautz.

The city hopes to revitalize areas that have seen a decline in users as remote work and other changes alter traditional commuting patterns and affect business for restaurants, shops, and other downtown services that historically relied on office workers. Around the country, once-bustling central cities emptied out as office workers shifted to remote work and businesses shuttered. According to Robbie Silver, executive director of Downtown Community Benefit District (CBD), the organization leading this initiative, San Francisco's Financial District "is a prime example of an urban space that suffered in the pandemic."

Downtown CBD has tasked SITELAB urban studio with conducting public outreach and developing a set of recommendations for how the city can make downtown neighborhoods "more inviting and flexible" for a wider variety of users. The article quotes Laura Crescimano, co-founder and principal at SITELAB: "If you look at European downtowns and other cities with vibrant downtowns, they serve more a multi-function, multi-purpose role." Figuring out what those multiple functions are for San Francisco, says Crescimano, is one of the major questions the project seeks to answer.

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