New San Francisco Planning Department Guidelines Make a Statement About San Franciscans

The San Francisco Planning Department released a revised list of 24 guidelines for site design, architecture, and public spaces. The list (below) is adorned with words that incite egalitarianism and deference. To name a few:

  • “harmonize”
  • “respect”
  • “integrate”
  • “protect”
  • “modulate”
  • sustainable

Is it possible that a city’s planning method, in itself, displays the collective opinion of the group of people living there? Can a city’s design principles create a physical and visual representation of the way its people govern and interact?

Find out for yourself and see how these guidelines are made by attending the 2nd community meeting for the “final draft of the proposed urban design guidelines” HERE on January 3rd at 6pm.

Here is the list of the new guidelines, and feel free to read more about it at 24 New Design Guidelines Hope to Establish Future Look of San Francisco

Establish Relationships and Logic

  • S1. Recognize and respond to urban patterns
  • A1. Express a clear organizing architectural idea
  • P1. Design public open spaces to connect with and complement the streetscape

Respond to Context:

  • S2. Harmonize relationships between buildings, streets, and open spaces
  • A2. Modulate buildings vertically and horizontally
  • P2. Locate and design open spaces to maximize physical comfort and visual access

Enhance Unique Neighborhoods:

  • S3. Recognize and enhance unique conditions
  • A3. Harmonize building designs with neighboring scale and materials
  • P3. Express neighborhood character in open space designs

Engage Larger Viewpoints and Systems:

  • S4. Create, protect, and support view corridors
  • A4. Design buildings from multiple vantage points
  • A5. Shape the roofs of buildings
  • P4. Support public transportation and bicycling

Design the Building Interface with the Public Realm:

  • S5. Create a defined and active streetwall
  • A6. Render building facades with texture and depth
  • A7. Coordinate building elements
  • P5. Design sidewalks to enhance the pedestrian experience

Use Program to Support the Urban Experience

  • S6. Organize uses to complement the public environment
  • A8. Design active building fronts
  • P6. Program public open spaces to encourage social activity, play, and rest

Support Sustainability:

  • S7. Integrate common open space and landscape with architecture
  • S8. Respect and exhibit natural systems and features architecture
  • A9. Employ sustainable principles and practices in building design
  • P7. Integrate sustainable practices into the landscape


Featured Image Courtesy: Travis Tunney