Architecture for Humanity - SF
Saturday, March 06, 2004

Well, after a long hard opposition campaign Prop J has been successfully vetoed by the voters , and a new message is sent to Mayor Newsom. Even amidst his gay marriage heroism and national upstart glory-days for his role in the future of the Democratic party, the public saw Prop J as yet another giveaway to profiteering developers, an insult to community process, and a pure scam on affordability. So, the same old question stares this city in the face, what’s the housing plan from here? San Francisco is the only city in the nation that has no depreciation in land value within its 49 square miles of landlocked peninsula. However, right now prices have stabilized some compared to Fresno ) and other surrounding California Real Estate. Yet the affordability wars still wage on in the Mission. And while Supervisor McGoldrick proposes his strict legislation on Public Benefits to incentivize developers, some critics claim they only back up SF’s reputation for being anti-development. And Newsom finally responds to Supervisor Daly’s anti-demolition ordinance. After Chris sent this letter to Newsom’s office, and a vigil was held by the Trinity Plaza tenants on the step of City Hall pleading with the mayor to not allow the demolition of their homes and the loss of further rent-controlled housing stock in this city, Mayor Newsom , to no surprise, vetoed the legislation claiming it was too broad, and would "stifle our ability to build new affordable housing.'' READ FULL MAYOR CORRESPONDENCE WITH TENANTS AND GONZALEZ HERE.


This time Randy Shaw writes a great piece for the Guardian debunking the Chronicle’s Lies, Newsom’s reputation and claims regarding the homeless.

“IT'S BAD ENOUGH when the media parrot the Bush administration's ongoing mistruths about homelessness. It's even worse when the San Francisco Chronicle aggressively promotes such lies, first to elect Mayor Gavin Newsom and now to portray him as an unparalleled leader on the issue.”

And CHANCE Martin returns with this article, 'Rambling through the CHANGES' and articulates clearly the invasion of privacy, and the inventorizing of homeless people.

“Call it the commodification of people - another "free market solution" for social control. Human beings are the inventory - at least, those humans who for whatever reason can¹t actually participate in our economy as active consumers. Under today's global economic prerogatives, if you're deemed unlikely to represent potential value as a consumer of products (read: poor), you are frequently assigned a role as a "consumer" of government-funded and regulated "services." These can range from welfare-to-work, a subsidized room, a shelter bed, case management, a prison cell, etc.

These consumers' value to the economy, and by extension their identity, is governed by the potential reimbursement they represent to providers and regulating agencies of these government-funded services. Thus people in custody and economic wards of the state in turn become the state's inventory. As a result, our increasingly privatized social institutions have become increasingly alienating and dehumanizing for the people they are supposed to serve.”

This federal report offers 7 lessons from the most innovative strategies around the nation proving successful at solving homelessness. SF pays close attention.

"Moving people into permanent housing -- with "wraparound counseling services" on site -- is exactly the direction San Francisco is headed. In fact, the city already hosts innovative programs of its own. The city-run Direct Access to Housing project, for instance, has persuaded hundreds of indigents with acute substance abuse and mental problems to live inside, and the Brinton Homeless Project sends counselors all over the city to find the most mentally ill people sleeping on the sidewalks and steer them toward services."

"San Francisco has components that work very well, and the challenge is to stitch the components together into a comprehensive system that will show that the whole is greater than the parts," said Larry Bush, spokesman for HUD's San Francisco office. "

· Coalition on Homelessness Benefit. March 17. Slim's. (On sale now.) (415) 255-0333.


Check out the portfolio of Archeworks, some interesting approaches and definitely pushing the social relevance factor in their work.

Another proposal I am exploring now with the SF Bicycle Coalition is possible plan for various Bicycle garages , a la Europe.

And check out this man, Jesse Salcedo, who is a carpenter/developer by trade, but has dedicated a huge portion of his energy to placing the structures of his Apache heritage, the tepeeall around California. The ideal summer home?

And this man, Krystof Wodicszo is who got me interested in architecture to begin with. Some of his work : Homeless Cart , QT on his book Critical Vehicles

In the same vein, the Orta Intervention.

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