The corner of 15th and Valencia viewed from the rooftop of Valencia Gardens, in a scene from “3000 Stories.”
Changing neighborhood spurs community organizations, city government to draft gentrification solutions
The cultural diversity of San Francisco’s Mission District dates back hundreds of years. As a working class neighborhood since the early 19th century, the Mission has always been populated by largely low-to-moderate income households. Now, the Bay Area housing crisis has made the Mission District a last bastion of affordable housing. The area is attracting an influx of high income home owners and renters willing and able to pay market rate, which has ignited a flurry of market rate development. This hot real estate market threatens to remake the Mission. Families and small businesses are being displaced. The demographics of the neighborhood are changing, in a phenomenon known as “gentrification.”
Now, there is a plan to help curb gentrification of the Mission.
Collaboration leads to plan of action
Over several years, a coalition of community organizations and nonprofits, including Mission Housing Development Corporation, met monthly with city planners to grind out an extensive list of possible solutions and strategies. The result: “Mission Action Plan 2020.”
A draft version of the plan, also known as “MAP2020” was released for public review and comment on January 31, 2017.
The stated purpose of the Mission Action Plan: To retain low- to moderate-income residents, community-serving businesses, artists, and nonprofits in order to strengthen and preserve the socioeconomic diversity of the Mission neighborhood.
The plan focuses on several objectives, which, if fulfilled, could slow the displacement caused by the rapid changes in the Mission.
Since the boon of market rate development is only one of many factors propelling displacement, the authors of the plan acknowledge an “all of the above” approach is needed to effectively stem the tide of change overcoming the neighborhood.
Chirag Bhakta, Community Engagement Coordinator for Mission Housing, told missionlocal.org, “We might not agree on market rate development ever, but we might agree that we need certain protections from what gentrification does. If they’re willing to work on the solutions with us, then we are also willing to work on the solutions with them.”
Public comment on the draft of Mission Action Plan 2020 expires February 19 at 6 pm. The Planning Commission endorsement hearing on MAP2020 is on Thursday, March 2.
Information from missionlocal.org and sfplanning.org contributed to this post
RELATED: Mission Action Plan 2020