Back in October 2015, we invited you to take a survey about needs in our neighborhood including housing, businesses, public facilities, public transportation, parks and more. The survey is part of Supervisor Mar’s Office and the San Francisco Planning Department Richmond District Strategy initiative:
This process will provide a comprehensive understanding of the District’s current trends, needs, and opportunities. The goal is to create a vision for the future of District 1 to ensure a sustainable and high quality of life for current and future generations who live, work and visit District 1.
As you’ll see from the findings, this effort is mostly tied to the future of housing and housing development in the Richmond District. Many of the conditions reported on, and questions asked in the needs assessment survey focus housing needs, and assessing residents’ desires for different development types and affordability levels.
Existing Conditions Report
- For the past 30 years, District 1’s population has grown at about half the rate of the City overall. In this same time period, the Asian population has doubled, growing from 21 percent to 42 percent, replacing a decreasing Caucasian population.
- ??District 1 hosts a disproportionally low share of the City’s new housing development (1 percent) and also a low share of below market rate units (2.4 percent).
- District 1 is also home to more families than the City overall: 50 percent of households are family households in District 1 compared to 44 percent citywide.
- The majority of District 1 residents are renters (64 percent), with a higher prevalence in the Inner Richmond than the Outer Richmond. Despite rents being lower than other neighborhoods, only one-third of families in the District can afford the current asking rent, which requires a family to earn $120,000 a year.
- District 1’s major parks and open spaces make up about 20 percent of the City’s total park space.
- Considerably more residents work from home but at the same time there has been over a 50
percent increase in the number of residents who commute an hour or more to/from work. Residents rely heavily on public transit for their daily commute.
Community Needs Assessment Survey
The project recently published their findings from the Community Needs Assessment Survey. The Survey asked people to respond to questions about their needs and opinions on the following topics: housing, development, transportation and streetscape, local commercial areas, parks and open spaces, and community facilities. They received 1,413 responses, 84% were residents of District 1.
According to the survey summary, “The survey overrepresents the white population, people with higher income (earning more than $150,000 annually), homeowners, families, and single-family home residents. However, households earning between $45,000 and $150,000 annually, as well as seniors are well represented.”
Here are some of the key findings from the survey:
- More than 80 percent of respondents expressed that they do not believe Richmond has sufficient housing. The most common needs expressed were: housing for families and larger households and housing for households with income between $45,000 to $80,000. Renters and people of lower income expressed the need for these housing types at a much higher rate than owners and people of higher income.
- Overall, as income decreased, interest in development increased at higher heights and higher
affordability levels. Similarly, renters were interested in development at higher heights and higher affordability levels: 51 percent of renters found 6 or 7 story projects with higher affordability rates desirable while only 24 percent of owners expressed desire for this development type.
- In order to receive improved transit service, an overwhelming majority of respondents indicated that they are willing to walk an additional block or two in exchange for better service. Even among seniors, a 60 percent majority also welcomed this idea.
- Respondents who live in the Richmond visit shops in the Richmond mostly for daily needs, restaurants, and bars, while majority of them leave the Richmond for entertainment services.
- The intersections most frequently mentioned as unsafe were along Geary Blvd between 12th Avenue and 26th Avenue. Responses also indicated an interest in pedestrian safety along Fulton Street at the north edge of the park.
- Libraries were the most commonly used facilities among the respondents, along with the museums in Golden Gate Park. Respondents also indicated a significant need for sporting facilities – courts and fields- as well as swimming pools in the neighborhood.
These findings will be interesting in light of the upcoming District 1 Supervisor election in November where housing is a hot-button topic for candidates. Everybody wants more housing, and wants it to be affordable, but at what cost?
Most of the findings in the survey support the somewhat controversial Affordable Housing Bonus Program (AHBP) which calls for increased approvals for denser developments, and much taller buildings.
The Planning Commission has approved AHBP; next it goes to the Land Use Committee of the Board of Supervisors, then the full Board of Supervisors, and finally to the Mayor’s desk pending Board approval.
For more information on the Richmond District Strategy project, including the next phase where the actual recommended strategy will be published (target: January 2017), visit the project page.