Take Part seeks to create a shared public vision of the city by anchoring discussions about its past, present and future, to the tangible: a 1000 square foot detailed wooden scale model of the city built in the late 1930s by the W.P.A. under the New Deal program. It was displayed in sections in 1939, and as a whole in 1940-1941 in City Hall. The model was used as an urban planning tool through the 1960s. In 1968, the downtown portion became a teaching and research tool at UC Berkeley. The model has not been on public view in its entirety, since 1941.
Take Part will reimagine San Francisco by way of its people through public events and programs that will involve the participation of librarians, urban planners, cartographers, social geographers, historians, students, and the many others to experience the model, reflect on their relationship to the city, and imagine the city’s possibilities.
Take Part unfolds in three phases.
1. Cleaning: last summer, the model was cleaned and assessed. Community members, librarians, city planners, writers, artists and friends took part in the cleaning process while discussing the character, changes and futures of neighborhoods and the city as a whole.
2. Bringing the neighborhood to the neighbourhood: from January-March 2019, the model will be exhibited in the 27 SFPublic Library branches, plus Main Branch and the Public Knowledge Library at SFMOMA. More than 100 events focus on publicness and civic participation, in informal gatherings and moderated readings, site-specific storytelling, town hall discussions, history nights, virtual tours, neighborhood walks, bike rides, mapmaking, and more.
3. Making Room For San Francisco aims to put the scale model on public display in its entirety, allowing for different audiences and participants to come together to imagine, perform, and participate in shaping, formulating, and speculating what living in this city could or should be.