Pre-conference Tours

Pre-conference Tours

You should plan to arrive in San Francisco by 11am on Tuesday, October 9 if you want to take advantage of the pre-conference tours.

All tours will occur at the same time so please only register for one tour.

Tour #1: Arts, Innovation and Sustainability Tour of Central San Francisco

This 1.5 hour walking tour will be lead by James Hanusa, Green Economy Advisor for Stakeholder Forum and New Initiatives for Burning Man Project.

The tour will start at the award winning, newly built San Francisco Public Utilities Commission headquarters, key features include onsite clean energy generation, 100 percent waste water treated on site and advanced daylight harvesting.

The electric vehicle pilot project at City Hall will be the next stop with both car share and city vehicles in the program. We will walk through the planned Resource Conservation District at Civic Center on our way to UN Plaza passing the Federal Building, which is the first naturally ventilated office building on the West Coast since the invention of air conditioning. The building is also an example of how building design can help slash emissions of greenhouse gases.

We will proceed down the emerging arts and innovation district of Central Market Street visiting multiple local arts groups such as art and technology collective, Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, and cultural avant garde organization, Burning Man Project. The 5M innovation complex will be the next stop with short interviews with developer Forest City and leaders from resident organizationTechShopHub Soma and Intersection for the Arts. Our tour will continue through the Yuerba Buena Gardens area including the Center for the Arts, the SF Museum of Modern Art, including a quick chat with the W Hotel Manager about his building, which is one of the first LEED Silver for existing buildings in the world.

Our final stop is the gallery at the San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association‘s LEED Silver headquarters.

Tour #2: San Francisco Academy of Sciences Green Building and Living Roof Tour

The California Academy of Sciences is the only museum in the world to have an indoor rainforest, aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and research facility under the largest living roof in California.  It is also the only museum to have a Double Platinum LEED rating by the U.S. Green Building council.

On this Green Building and Living Roof Tour, you will explore this one of a kind institution and learn more about the Academy’s sustainable practices including renewable energy and energy savings, water filtration and water use, details about its double platinum LEED rating, materials used in building construction, its 2.5 acre living roof, and scientific research. Participants will also be able to see and discuss the solar cells used on the building and how the facility gets most of its electrical power.

Tour #3: Affordable Housing & the Future of the Heart of the City

Often overlooked in the larger picture of the city, the Tenderloin neighborhood forms the heart of San Francisco and houses a dense system of affordable housing and its related services and amenities. This two-hour tour will uncover the diversity of the neighborhood by examining the city’s affordable housing in its various forms, the residents its houses, and the future of their community.

The tour will meet at UN Plaza and weave its way through the Tenderloin, exploring a wide variety of affordable housing typologies, from single-room occupancy buildings to family and senior housing, and learn about the work that the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation does to provide safe, affordable housing and support services for low-income San Franciscans.

Attendees will be able to visit buildings such as the Aarti Hotel, a renovated hotel now used as apartments for transitional aged youth with mental health issues, and Curran House, a high-density family housing building. We will then look at the daily lives of neighborhood residents by visiting The Salvation Army’s Kroc Center, a state-of-the art recreation and educational center within the Tenderloin, local-serving businesses, and examine the public safety and community building components of the neighborhood through conversation with community leaders.

The tour will then conclude on Market Street, where redevelopment money, small business loans and a burgeoning arts district are beginning to revitalize the flagging neighborhood and transition it into San Francisco’s newest destination.

Tour #4: San Francisco’s Downtown: Past, Present, & Future

How did San Francisco develop one of North America’s densest, most walkable and transit-oriented downtowns?

This two-hour walking tour will explore urban design, zoning, transit investment and current economic trends and how they are playing out in San Francisco’s evolving downtown. The tour will begin with an understanding of the underlying grid, as well as the innovative zoning and policy concepts of the city’s landmark 1985 Downtown Plan that plan proposed a temporary resolution to the high-rise battles by focusing growth south of Market Street (SOMA), now the site of the majority of the downtown’s current development.

Our tour begins at the SPUR Urban Center on Mission Street and winds its way first through alleys, across Market Street and into the heart of the Financial District. We will head as far north as Jackson Square, where high-density zoning and modernist high-rises are quickly supplanted by lower-density, historically-preserved architecture. Along the way we will explore a number of Privately-Owned Public Open Spaces (POPOS), a key result of the 1985 Downtown Plan, and hear stories of the major planning and development battles from the 1970s through today.

The tour will then cross back over Market Street, the city’s transit spine, and into the heart of the new downtown in SOMA, where we will discuss the tradeoffs between housing and office space and see the intersection of a traditional central business district (CBD) with an emerging central social district.

Attendees will see the construction of San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center, the future site of the northern terminus of high-speed rail in California, and hear about the value capture strategies that are helping pay for the terminal. We will learn about the impact of the “dot com” and current tech booms and the emerging models of office space and urban workplace, and also look to the future areas of growth along the Central Corridor where San Francisco will open its first new subway in decades.

Meeting of the Minds is made possible by the generous support of these organizations: