Shine a Light: Innovative Methods and Tools
The built environment of downtown San Francisco reflects many historical layers of landscape and architecture. The San Francisco Civic Center Historic District includes a full spectrum of design, from the Beaux Arts City Hall to the post-modern plaza. This layered complexity occurs frequently in urban districts and requires specific knowledge about its cultural resources to develop sensitive solutions for a contemporary city.
We used a combination of digital GIS-based methods and traditional survey tools to develop a comprehensive and dynamic survey of all of the District’s extant features, available in both hard copy and GIS. It contains an array of information about each of the districts’ character-defining elements, including location, development history and contribution to the historic significance of the District. City agencies are using the survey to improve environmental management systems, develop design guidelines, inform the Public Realm Plan, and help developers understand which areas are feasible for change.
This project won a 2016 Preservation Design Award from the California Preservation Foundation.