Architecture for Humanity - SF
Saturday, March 20, 2004
Another profile of estudio in San Diego and Teddy Cruz’s posse:

“The work emerges out of a constant investigation and speculation about relationships between architecture and different aspects of contemporary life and the socio-cultural and political implications of constructing space.

Community engagement originates and shapes projects as a matter of social relations and their co-existence with the landscape they inhabit : Ideas and forms are drawn from existing physical and urban conditions and from patterns of spatial occupation and social interaction that can redefine the limits imposed by rigid zoning and planning laws.”

In PERSPECTA 34 there are some great articles by Gans & Jelacic, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Shigeru Ban / Kartikeya Shodhan, Roy Kozlovsky, and many others. The entire issue is dedicated to Temporary Architecture. It opens with an extract from Kobo Abe’s ‘The Box man’ which is a great crazy novel about a man who decides to live in a box in urban Japan, and the subsequent perceptions of him and their effect on the public, his own sense of body and place as an object of a sniper, a romantic possession, and a doctor's strange self-idealism to beocme a boxman himself. On of my favorite fictions from one of Japan’s greatest writers. You should check both of these reads out.

In light of these organizations, UN HABITAT, UN Refugee Agency, World Studio Foundation, Design for the World, there is TechnoCraft's HEMP HOUSE. A ½ scale model is built at the BAC for Shelter and Beyond , a conference on the East Coast.

And here is a great article on Community Development in Australia putting aside politics for a new inclusionary effort into helping the underserved.

“The leading candidates vying to become Australia's next prime minister, Peter Costello and Mark Latham, both want to champion the cause of building "social capital", so here is the challenge: instead of a "league-table" of disadvantage that stigmatizes communities and infuriates the vast majority of their hard-working families, let's have a Social Capital Index, to measure the progress made by partnerships between the three tiers of government, business big and small, and community groups to find solutions to local problems in these disadvantaged postcodes.

It's time to pursue creative, non-partisan solutions rather than continually describing the problems to families who already feel the political process has abandoned them.

The City of Hume, which stretches from Broad meadows' old housing commission estates to the grape-growing estates of Sunbury, is a case study of a community's determination to replace the symbols of the neglect of the past with landmarks of opportunity for the future.”

In the NY TIMES, there is a great article about landscape urbanist Walter Hood, who teaches at UC Berkeley, and talks about the role of the landscape architect in reshaping cities, noticing all the things most people would never pay attention to. "One thing I value about public work is that you can allow people to understand their predicament by making connections between the physical world and how they live. Then they can move forward. You don't get stuck in one place."

And here is some nice San Francisco work pushing scale and aesthetic in their Modular Dwellings.


Making the cover of the Examiner last week was our friend Jim Reid, who is nearing closer to eviction from his home and launching a homeless movement ever more in response. When we toured ‘the smallest house in America” it was amazing the level of organization and the amount of furnishing Jim was able to compact into the unit. But since his effort to get zoning approval from the city to build his little houses around town has failed, he ‘now plans to camp out across from City Hall after his eviction and is recruiting homeless people for a "Justice Army" of political activism.” Last he told me was he was intending an accumulative gather of homeless people across the nation towards an exodus camp on the White House lawn. That would be amazing.

“San Francisco has to do better than the status quo and any ideas that emanate from that quarter. Holding homeless people hostage to self-aggrandizement and self-righteous cupidity is a fine opening target for the first salvoes of a 10-year process that has an abolitionist intention." ... That's the quote Angela Alioto likes as a motto for her effort to pull together a 10-year plan for homelessness. With Mayor Newsom ultimately leading homeless policy, civil rights attorney Alioto is hard at work to wrangle some kind of unity out of homeless activists, businesspeople, service providers and bureaucrats, trying to make her 10-year plan more than just a federal funding document to shelve next to all the other homelessness studies. "I pray a lot. I do," she said.

Meanwhile homeless benefits cuts are prompting a law suit and a challenge to the city to make good on its revised Care Not Cash initiative, Real Housing, Real Care. “Attorney Oren Sellstrom, who helped file the suit in Superior Court, said the Real Housing, Real Care law passed by the city Board of Supervisors last summer as an alternative to Care Not Cash specifically forbids cutting general assistance checks in exchange for a shelter bed. The suit asks the court to permanently block any cuts pertaining to emergency shelters.”

And just down the road in Fresno, an encampment of 100 people is demolished and people are moved out of town, without the legal protection of retaining any of their property. Homeless persons' rights to retain personal property was a law SF lawmakers failed to pas not too long ago.

These are all worthwhile articles regarding the SF Housing Crisis:

Beyond Gentrification: Strategies For Managing Community Change, by Jill Slater (SF Planning dept)
Elberling on the Legacy of Brown era Affordable Housing
Redevelopment back in the Supes hands?
Affordability in Nob Hill?
Tenderloin Park Revival
More Feng Shui?
Gonzlaez Wants Say in Newsom’s Probe of Dept of Building Inspections
De-regulating condo-conversion in Oakland
The Bay Area Housing Market

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