Hunters Point Parklands: A Marriage of Environmental Justice and Design

Standing proud along the San Francisco Bay, the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood of southeastern San Francisco is home to a diverse and deserving community, and host to the historic Hunters Point Shipyard \” until 1991 an active and thriving US Navy base employing thousands of people. Comprised mainly of low-income households and people of color BVHP is home to over 100 brownfield sites and is disproportionately affected by cumulative air, land, and water pollution, much of it rooted in a history of industrial uses on the Hunters Point site.The Shipyard property is slated to be transferred to the City and County of San Francisco for redevelopment, but must be cleaned to safety standards before reuse. Cleanup of portions of this Superfund site is currently underway, with initial focus on residential re-development zones. Recent master planning efforts have focused additional attention on the programmatic potential and cleanup needs of the southern waterfront portion of the site \” an area with great potential for re-imagination as an environmental and open space resource. This area, known as Parcel E, presents opportunities for creating contiguous recreational and habitat open space with adjacent areas of the bay and has strong potential to emerge as a driver for additional residential, commercial, and institutional development on the larger shipyard site. It also presents intense remedial and environmental challenges with significant toxic deposits and a severely degraded shoreline condition. Together, these opportunities and challenges constitute an exciting charge to utilize open space design as a tool for environmental justice and community reinvigoration. In concert with the non-profit, public interest organization Arc Ecology (founded on the principal of bringing open spaces to the underprivileged), this studio will confront the economic and ecological drivers of redevelopment in this district. Acting on behalf of the adjacent underprivileged neighborhoods and working with the open palette of this made, remade, and abused urban waterfront site, studio participants will engage in the design of public open spaces at several sites around the Shipyard. These design studies will be pursued in the context of an extensive re-envisioning of the site as a large-scale major-league sports venue – a new urban waterfront home for San Francisco\'s 49ers.Recent efforts to find the National Football League\'s San Francisco 49ers a home for a new $800M stadium in California by 2012 have led to negotiations and assessment studies at a number of sites. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, in a strong bid to keep the 49ers in the Bay Area, has recently put the Hunters Point Shipyard on the table as a potential stadium location. Studio participants will explore the feasibility of this option by delving into the economic, environmental, and design challenges and benefits of this opportunity.Studio participants will begin the semester with an evaluation and re-framing of the existing Hunters Point Shipyard Parcel E Master Plan. This short project will re-cast master plan strategies and forms to incorporate the potential new sports program, including stadium and training venues, commercial partnerships, parking and service support, and vehicular, pedestrian, and public transport networks to serve the new 49ers campus. It is hoped that this process will delve into innovative approaches to the layering of large-scale event-intensive program with open space and community-scaled and day-to-day activity opportunities. This exercise will also ask studio participants to determine specific points of connection between open space sites within the campus and dynamic systems of the larger shipyard and bay, and to clarify or modify conceptual master planning principles relative to individual design objectives. Embracing a design scale of 40-60 acre sites, students will then select individual sites