Cindy Wu, Chinatown Community Development Center, 415.984.2740, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Cole Krawitz, The San Francisco Foundation, 415.531.5588, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

November 20, 2014

Chinatown Community Development Center Launches New Initiative to Keep Chinatown Affordable and Sustainable for Years to Come

Sustainable Chinatown Initiative will create opportunity for over 14,500 low-income San Franciscans

SAN FRANCISCO, CA October 15, 2014—Chinatown Community Development Center’s (CCDC) Executive Director, Rev. Norman Fong, today announced the launch of the Sustainable Chinatown Initiative in collaboration with the San Francisco Department of the Environment, San Francisco Planning Department, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. (Enterprise) and The San Francisco Foundation. The Sustainable Chinatown Initiative’s overall goal is to conserve energy and resources, improve public health, and preserve housing affordability in Chinatown.

The Initiative is funded by Partners for Places—a project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities, Enterprise, and The San Francisco Foundation. “The Sustainable Chinatown Initiative is a unique opportunity to build relationships with the philanthropic sector and the city of San Francisco to create measureable and sustainable development benefits,” said Cindy Wu, Planning Manager at Chinatown Community Development Center. “This Initiative is based on the Eco-District framework, which advances sustainability through green building, smart infrastructure, and behavior change. The results are reduced environmental impacts, a strengthened economy, and a stronger sense of place and community. It also provides a framework for people to come together to set goals, define projects, engage in collaborative efforts, and raise the bar for sustainable practices.”

The Sustainable Chinatown Initiative will engage immigrant and monolingual communities to identify strategies that sustain Chinatown’s unique culture and affordability while increasing its environmental performance. “The Sustainable Chinatown Initiative is bringing environmental stewardship to the lives of Chinatown residents in a culturally-appropriate, inclusive way,” said Debbie Raphael, director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment. “By pairing sustainability with social, cultural, and economic factors, the initiative is integrating sustainability into the fabric of Chinatown.”

San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the last affordable neighborhoods in an increasingly expensive city. Among Chinatown’s assets are its incredible density and its role as an immigrant gateway, cultural mecca, and tourist destination. It is also home to a severely disadvantaged community of low-income and foreign born residents who face a high risk of displacement due to aging infrastructure and a building stock that has not seen significant improvement since construction following the 1906 earthquake.

The San Francisco Foundation is thrilled to partner on the Sustainable Chinatown Initiative, said Francesca Vietor, Program Director for Environment, Public Policy and Civic Engagement at The San Francisco Foundation. The Chinatown Eco-district project will help preserve Chinatown's scarce affordable housing, build climate resilience through increased energy and water efficiency, and protect Chinatown's cultural identity. We look forward to advancing these multiple goals of economic opportunity, community resiliency, and improved environmental health.

The neighborhood requires planning for its long-term sustainability at all levels – social, cultural, economic, and environmental. The Initiative will ultimately support the health and wellbeing of Chinatown’s residents by
- Greening the neighborhood’s public housing to create healthier homes;
- Engaging property owners in building-scale approaches for energywater efficiency to lower energy bills for residents;
- Identifying greening strategies for already-scheduled public improvements; and
- Reaching out to the majority monolingual population to improve resource conservation and environmental stewardship.

“The Planning Department is excited to work with the Chinatown community to advance urban revitalization and sustainability in San Francisco,” said John Rahaim, director of the San Francisco Planning Department. “The Sustainable Chinatown Initiative will work to secure a more equitable and resilient future for the neighborhood and its residents by improving Chinatown’s overall environmental performance.”

Chinatown Community Development Center is a place-based community development organization serving primarily the Chinatown neighborhood. Founded in 1977, Chinatown CDC serves as neighborhood advocate, community organizer, developer and manager of affordable housing. It has developed 24 affordable housing buildings, serving over 2,400 low-income seniors, formerly homeless adults, and families.
The San Francisco Foundation (TSFF) is the community foundation serving the Bay Area since 1948, granting more than $808 million over the past ten years. Through the generosity and vision of our donors, both past and present, TSFF granted $86.8 million in fiscal year 2013. TSFF brings together donors and builds on community assets through grantmaking, leveraging, public policy, advocacy, and leadership development to make a greater impact in our community. By focusing on people, organizations, neighborhoods, and policy, advocacy and organizing, the Foundation addresses community needs in the areas of community health, education, arts and culture, community development, and the environment. In response to the economic downturn, TSFF is also focusing funding on safety net partners, job creation and training, and mortgage foreclosure relief and neighborhood preservation. The San Francisco Foundation serves San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, and San Mateo Counties.

Copyright © 1977-2021 Chinatown Community Development Center
Tel: (415) 984-1450 | E-mail: