Green Alleys SF: Eco-Neighborhood Innovations

Spring 2016
April 30  from 10am-6pm
Concept Car
May 1 in San Francisco, 10am-6pm

This class explores the role of design thinking in supporting and mobilizing neighborhood-driven sustainability initiatives. The project will take place in collaboration with members of the Green Alleys project (, a community-led initiative based in San Francisco. The aim of the Green Alleys project is to transform underused public spaces of the Ames and Quane Alleys in the Noe Valley neighborhood into a model of vibrant, sustainable urban living. The project arose from community concerns about periodic flooding and public safety, and from a history of local advocacy work.

You will be working in interdisciplinary teams (including local residents and city-experts) to develop concepts, recommendations and prototypes for Green Alleys. Your job is not to redesign the alleys. Your job is to empower the residents to transform their alley. In doing so, you will be setting out to comprehensively capture and join-up different aspects of the alleys, including, for example, the alleys’ biodiversity, heritage, stormwater/drought management, community/ social justice needs, potential family/community gathering space, walkability, beauty, and education potential.

The class will focus on developing skills in facilitation through preparing for and participating in a real-life community design workshop. You will be working at the and onsite in San Francisco. Along with practicing active listening and capturing local knowledge, you will be experimenting with forms of visualizing, mapping and prototyping concepts. These might include, for example, curating tours, physical map-making, videoing local stories and drawing up action plans. This class is for you if you want to experience an immersive, collaborative design encounter with members of a local neighborhood in San Francisco, developing bottom-up solutions for sustainable civic futures.

Accepting 12-15 students. All students encouraged to apply.
Application Closed

Teaching Team
Hannah Jones, teaching fellow
Kevin Hsu, Lecturer in Urban Studies
with guest participants including Avi Asherov (city planner), Janie and Bob Frank (local residents and community advocates), Keith Martin (Green Alleys co-ordinator), and Nihir Shah ( teaching fellow)


Green Alleys SF: Eco-Neighborhood Innovations