Community Benefits:

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A Complete Neighborhood

A compact community with neighborhood serving services and amenities within a short walking distance, helping residents reduce dependence on cars, and encouraging people to walk or bike around town.

The “social heart” of the neighborhood will include a grocery store, coffee and sandwich shops, restaurants, dry cleaners, a hardware store, clothing shops, and other small businesses as well as office space for professional services such as medical and dental practices. All within a short five-minute walk of most of the homes. There will also be a childcare facility, and preschool and elementary school within a half mile of all residents in addition to the numerous existing middle and high schools within a mile.

Short blocks, frequent intersections and a variety of engaging pedestrian routes will form a neighborhood pattern of streets. This increases pedestrian options and interest, which increases the likelihood of walking and directly benefits the overall health, well-being and social vitality of our community.


“At Parkmerced, we’re taking an existing community and tripling the density without using any more power or water. It’s a vision for what can happen in communities across the world.” – Paul Schwer

All buildings and infrastructure will work in tandem with nature to capture sunlight, prevent strong winds, allow rainwater to filter naturally back to its original watershed and reduce consumption. The landscape will include usable green spaces for gathering, recreation and the management of restorative ecosystems for indigenous wildlife. The buildings will not only conserve resources but also have the potential to produce clean energy themselves. And by reducing cars, we will produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.


Restoration of the Watershed

We will disconnect from San Francisco’s waste water system and restore the natural Lake Merced watershed.

Right now, storm water runoff goes straight into the city’s combined sewer system where it ends up at the coastal water treatment plant to be cleaned and dumped into the ocean. Disconnecting storm water from this system entirely and building our own transformative infrastructure consisting of bioswales, biogutters, ponds, rain-gardens and other low impact measures, like permeable paving, all designed to retain, filter and carry runoff water to the underlying aquifer and back into Lake Merced, will allow us to restore an original wetland at the southeast corner of the site. These natural systems will not only save millions of gallons of water a year but also restore biodiversity, improve air quality and enhance community spaces while minimizing overload of the City’s sewage treatment system during heavy storms or floods.

In addition to treating storm water onsite, we will also install ultra-low flow water fixtures to reduce water consumption and lower the demand on the water supply. We will provide infrastructure for recycled water sources to further reduce the demand for irrigation, toilet flushing and ultimately laundry.

We will reduce energy consumption, promote renewable energy production, and adapt to future energy sources to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality.

Rooftop solar cells and wind turbines when installed could generate a portion of the site’s overall electrical demand. Domestic hot water could be heated from cogeneration – a process in which heat is produced as a by-product from an engine creating electricity. Fueled by natural gas, cogeneration systems can generate electricity more cleanly than the conventional power plants providing electricity to the grid and with less transmission loss.

Improved Transportation

We will reroute the Muni light rail from 19th Avenue through Parkmerced.

The reconfiguration will replace the most dangerous and overcrowded transit stop in the middle of Highway 1 to a new transit plaza to a shorter, safer walk for thousands of daily riders and include new stops in the “social heart” of the neighborhood. This will improve safety, encourage usage and increase accessibility, placing transit stops within a short five-minute walk of residents.

We’ll also provide free, low-emissions shuttle services around the entire neighborhood to connect Parkmerced residents with BART, regional transit options and local shopping destinations. This will further reduce the number of car trips taken and works to minimize the neighborhood’s overall carbon footprint.

There will also be a network of bicycle routes with bike share libraries and secure bike parking in all new buildings and other amenities for cyclists, such as showers and changing areas for bike commuters.

Protected Open Spaces

“Parkmerced, being where it is, in the climate that it is, could be stitched together into a larger park that makes the whole neighborhood, not just your building, a place that people remember, and will live in.” – Peter Walker

We will integrate a network of positive open spaces within comfortable walking distance of all residents that support a variety of activities to promote 
a healthy, active lifestyle at Parkmerced, create productive landscapes, and enrich the social life of the neighborhood.

Private open space for individual homes will be provided in various ways. For example, a generous setback zone will transition into semi-private courtyards to foster relationships between neighbors. Larger neighborhood commons will be conveniently located within a very short walk of all homes to provide places for people to gather, such as cafes, shops, playgrounds, shared work spaces and flexible spaces for recreation or gatherings. Larger dedicated public open spaces will include playing fields, cycling and nature paths. There will also be a series of community gardens spread throughout the neighborhood.

An End to Sprawl

“Parkmerced is almost like a test bed, a way of thinking about how we build cities in the future.” – Leo Chow

By constructing new housing within an existing urban environment, we will decrease the demand for new, sprawling, suburban development and the destruction of natural habitats associated with those developments.

The benefit to traffic on 19th Avenue could also be considerable. Parkmerced residents will be able to rely on the existing urban infrastructure, including the city’s and region’s robust public transportation system, and as a result will take cars out of the system, producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions than their suburban counterparts.

Also, because Parkmerced will contain mixed-use and multifamily buildings and connects to existing utility networks, the project requires less construction than a new suburban development project would while providing the same number of dwelling units closer to major job centers.

Housing for All

“Parkmerced is a moving, growing thing – both literally and figuratively.” – Peter Walker

Our current residents are a living breathing part of the neighborhood. And we shall protect their rights, too. We will provide all residents in rent-controlled apartments for as long as they choose to live at Parkmerced. In addition, if our plan involves replacement of existing buildings, any existing resident who lives in a building needing replacement will be provided a brand new rental home. The new apartment home will be rented at the then same rent-controlled rate as their existing apartment prior to demolition, and also subject to the protections against rent increases of the San Francisco Rent Control Ordinance. All new rental homes will be of the same size or greater than their existing, new construction and with more amenities, such as in-home washer/dryers and dishwashers.

Affordable Housing

Parkmerced will also provide new affordable housing options for the net new homes through a variety of options, ultimately leading to the production of over 850 affordable homes, either at Parkmerced or funded by Parkmerced.