The Chinatown Community Urban Institute is a youth empowerment and professional development program offered by the Chinatown Community Development Center (Chinatown CDC). The mission of the Chinatown Community Urban Institute is to educate and empower San Francisco’s emerging youth leaders and young professionals to understand and take action on urban planning issues, using San Francisco’s Chinatown as a living and breathing laboratory for knowledge. Through an inquiry-based approach, Community Fellows will learn the history, skills, and practical applications of the plannin g profession as a tool for social justice and advocacy. Biweekly sessions feature seminars, walking (or bike) tours and interactive fieldwork components to give the participants hands-on experience in grassroots community planning.
As the culminating final project, the Urban Fellows participate in the Chinatown Block Study in which teams choose and study a block in Chinatown of their choice. Fellows are expected to understand the existing conditions of the block and propose an alternative vision. In the process, Fellows explore a variety of research methods, including archival research, the collection of Census information and zoning maps from the San Francisco Planning Department, as well as the execution of oral histories and fieldwork observations of their chosen block. Fellows produce a written report and are invited to present their block study in a public forum.
The CCUI serves to institutionalize decades of knowledge within Chinatown CDC and establish a forum in which to disseminate the organization’s culture of teaching and shared leadership. The program has a strong professional development focus in that it aims to create a pipeline of advocacy planners who are committed and passionate about making Chinatown a great place to live and work. The Chinatown Block Study creates layers of historical data that will be collected over time as ensuing cohorts of the program undertake this study, filling out the various blocks in the neighborhood while adding depth to each subsequent year’s worth of data. The block study has direct relevance to CCDC’s planning and land use work, allowing the Fellows to continue their research as potential interns if they are interested in pursuing the planning profession.
Summer 2011 Program Information
The program will last for 8 weeks from June 6 until July 29. Meetings and trainings will last for about two hours and will take place on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings throughout the first 5 weeks. Fellows are expected to commit about 10-15 hours per week for the trainings, readings, and assignments. The structure for the first 5 weeks will focus on building the Urban Fellows’ knowledge of planning issues in Chinatown and San Francisco, broken down into various categories such as housing, transportation, open space, and economic development. The final 3 weeks will allow Urban Fellows to creatively apply their planning knowledge through the final project, the Chinatown Block Study.
Week 1 | Orientation & Planning 101 (Week of June 6th)
Week 2 | Housing (Week of June 13th)
Week 3 | Safe & Healthy / Open Space & Alleyways (Week of June 20th)
Week 4 | Economic Development (Week of June 27th)
Week 5 | Transportation Justice (Week of July 4th)
Week 6 | Work Sessions: Research (Week of July 11th)
Week 7 | Work Sessions: Written Report Due (Week of July 18th)
Week 8 | Presentation & Graduation Ceremony! (Week of July 25th)