This year, the students in SWA’s Summer Program studied San Francisco’s Central Corridor and its potential to be developed as a unique eco-district. A key focus of this study was to create a “resilient city” by implementing a system that coordinates building development and public infrastructure to meet the city’s long term needs. Each week’s studio problem was directed by a principal from one of SWA’s offices, supported by an associate and staff member from San Francisco. Outside speakers contributed technical insights. Each week concluded with an afternoon presentation of student work, attended by a panel of experts and local stakeholders.

Unlike many developing areas, the Central Corridor is a functioning district within San Francisco with a rich cultural and urban history which designers want to preserve. The urban grid is intact, buildings are occupied, it is served by public transportation, has a rich cultural and architectural history, and the area has recent new developments and economic investments. So, how do we transform? What opportunities are there to work within an existing urban fabric?

Critical issues explored included: what role does landscape architecture, contemporary design, and craft play in developing and building an eco-district? How do we, as a profession, interface with our professional service consultant peers — architects, engineers, and lawyers? What challenges and opportunities arise in establishing an eco-district for San Francisco?