The new SF Public Utilities Commission Headquarters, located at 525 Golden Gate Avenue, is possibly the greenest office building in America. Applying evolving water and power technologies with new light management and computer controlled environment, the SFPUC has created a building which looks towards the future of environmental building construction, and reaches for the ultimate green engineering accolade, the LEED rating of “Platinum”.

In the late Summer of 2012, a group of communityleaders came together in the Outer Sunset, also known as “La Playa”, neighborhood.  Comprised of a diverse group of folks such as merchants, neighborhood emergency response team members, neighborhood watch members, environmental and transportation advocates, the group determined that while the neighborhood has seen many improvements over time, there was still a for a stronger sense of community amongst the many diverse communities which reside in the area.

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The group determined that the best way to bring folks together was to identify a project that would appeal to the largest portion of residents despite their social background.  The group ultimately selected the challenge of beautifying the area best known as the N Judah Turnaround.

Thus the N Judah Turnaround Beautification Project was born and a diverse stakeholders from both within and outside the community was convened to support, and participate, in a results oriented conversation regarding ways to enhance the physical, and cultural, environment in and around the N Judah Turnaround.  The program team ultimately included:

  • The La Playa Neighborhood Association
  • The La Playa Neighborhood Watch
  • The Judah Merchant Association
  • The Outer Sunset NERT
  • The Office of Supervisor Carmen Chu
  • The City Administrator’s Office
  • The Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services
  • The San Francisco Planning Department
  • The Department of Public Works
  • The Metropolitan Transportation Administration
  • The City Hall Fellows
  • Neighborland and Crowdbrite
The phases of the outreach plan were:

  1. Raise Awareness of the Program
  2. Generate Ideas and Prioritize
  3. Convene in a Structured Process to Finalize Action Plan
  4. Implement

1. Awareness Phase – The project team partnered with local ideation company Neighborland to publicize the conversation going on regarding the beautification of the N Judah and the need for everyone’s input.  Posters were displayed strategically throughout the community educating residents about the upcoming idea capture event at the local coffee shop as well as about the opportunity to text in their ideas directly to Neighborland at any time.  The project team also created a website that became the online hub for the program.

2. Ideas and Prioritization Phase – On a Saturday, November 18th the project team and Neighborland convened in front of the Java Beach Coffee Shop and set up a large billboard that allowed people to answer the question “I want BLANK at the N Judah Turnaround”.  For four hours residents gathered around the billboard and shared their ideas, goals and dreams for an area long considered a let down by the people who visited there every day.  The Neighborhood Empowerment Network media team captured the activities on video.

The ideas captured in person were then transcribed up on the Neighborland site dedicated to this project and residents have been voting on which ones they feel are the most important.


3. Convene in a Structured Process to Finalize Action Plan – The next phase of the project occurred on Saturday, December 15th where residents convened at a local elementary school auditorium and conduct a traditional neighborhood planning session using the innovative methods of Crowdbrite, a locally owned company which is revolutionizing how communities discuss land use opportunities.

4. Implement – Once the community planning and prioritization process has ended the projects will be evaluated for possible funding and implementation by the agencies responsible for that project area.

As of the drafting of this blog, the project was entering into phase three of its engagement plan.  The community has been thrilled by its experience to date and is eager to move to the next step in the process and find out what the final strategy will be for the Turnaround.  We encourage all Outer Sunset community members to attend the Community-Led Workshop in Saturday, December 15th at 10am at the Francis Scott Key Elementary Auditorium located at 1530 43rd Ave. at Kirkham.

For more information – visit www.njudahproject .org


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