The Renaissance of Hunters Point
On Saturday I attended the 2011 Stanford Black Law Student Association’s Conference called The Evolving City. The morning session consisted of a presentation on the revitalization of the Hunters Point Shipyard which struck me as a vision for economic development that stands in contrast to the situation Gerad described earlier this week. While he mentioned that Chile’s increasing prosperity has replaced historical buildings with world-class skyscrapers and shopping malls, the Hunters Point plan promises to pay homage to its cultural roots. Kofi Bonner, Regional Vice President of Lennar Urban, the developer of the community’s master plan, highlighted their commitment to current residents by rebuilding of Alice Griffith Public Housing with no displacement of current residents, making 32 percent of its housing below-market rate, and incorporating an international-themed African Marketplace.
But how much of the final plan will actually benefit the residents? Lennar is negotiating with the 49ers, who are considering a stadium site in the master plan. Current designs also include over 3 million square feet of R&D space targeting green-tech and clean-tech businesses. The $1 billion for transportation and public infrastructure will certainly Hunters Point residents much needed access to other parts of the city, but it will also make it more feasible of a location for the city’s ever-expanding white-collar population. But in the end, might gentrification be a good thing for the neighborhood, to some extent? This is the problem that seems to plague planners, community organizers, developers, and politicians alike. This project stands a better chance than most in protecting current residents, as far as I can tell, because of the incredible involvement from the Citizens Advisory Committee spearheaded by Veronica Hunnicutt, one of the panelists. In all, the project seems to be well-implemented and planned.
What also impressed me was the level of cooperation between groups that seem to have inherent tension: community, military, and development. With one representative from each sector, the panelists walked through Hunters Point’s story as a military base, industrial shipping area, and opportunity site for the current project. Lennar has provided for an astounding number of community benefits including workforce development, scholarship funds, and homeownership assistance.
Continue here to view the urban design plans for the Candlestick Park (stadium) alternative and learn more about the project.