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Freedom West Homes in San Francisco. A GIF of the 4 proposed multistory buildings pop up in yellow over the site
Freedom West Homes

Renewed Urban Housing in San Francisco

Client

MacFarlane Partners

Project Location

San Francisco, CA

Homes

2,000

Services

Planning, architecture, engagement

We were commissioned to reimagine and enhance the historic Freedom West Homes in San Francisco. The project encompasses four city blocks in the iconic metropolitan west coast city. Our design focuses on reestablishing the city grid by recreating the urban neighborhood character, rather than the forced suburban character it currently has. Its current state is a result of the city’s desire to drive down density; specifically, the density of the ethnic populations in the area.

Freedom West Homes is one of the largest and oldest cooperatives in the Western U.S. Started in the late 1960’s by Reverend AJ Hall of Bethel AME Church, Freedom West Homes was a direct response to the destruction caused by the city of San Francisco’s urban renewal process with the goal of providing home ownership in the rapidly changing city. While a grand vision by Reverend AJ Hall, the cooperative needed a bold new concept to ensure the health and success for the future of the cooperative. We joined to realize a new vision and design for the historic property with Landon Taylor of Legacy First Partners, the Board of Freedom West Homes, and MacFarlane Partners.

Legacy

Located in the historic Fillmore District of San Francisco’s Western Addition, the community started in the late 1960’s by Reverend AJ Hall of Bethel AME Church. A direct response to the destruction caused by the city of San Francisco’s urban renewal process, the Freedom West cooperative was created with the goal of providing home ownership in the rapidly changing city. Our project, dubbed by many as “Freedom West 2.0,” honors that mission while preparing the community for the future.



01
Engagement

Design Voice

We worked extensively with Legacy First Partners, the board of Freedom West Homes, and MacFarlane Partners during the early days of the Freedom West Homes project. These partnerships ensured that the guiding principles of the project and goals for the development were communicated early and often with the cooperative shareholders. We hosted visioning sessions to discuss the community’s goal in detail, and to collaboratively craft a plan to represent their answers on a design and masterplan. The board visited a representative project to ensure their project would deliver on the quality of new residential spaces for the shareholders. With the onset of the pandemic, there were weekly meetings with key team members to discuss issues related to the project, as well as seven-to-eight townhall sessions for shareholders to voice their concerns and to ask questions.

Dive into the engagement process.

02
Vision

Design Equity

Freedom West Homes marks a turning point for the city of San Francisco. We committed to the project’s goal of creating equity through design agency. With a commitment to elevate the human experience through design, we made a pledge to partner with local design firms that are certified small businesses and minority-owned. As a response to the city of San Francisco’s call to maintain equity as the bottom line for Freedom West homes, the design team believes that the project can only be an accurate reflection of equality if the team reflects a diverse group of minds. The Freedom West team is committed to embody the project itself – a monumental stride to reflect the community, uplift its members, and promote a thriving society for all citizens alike.

Ideas

Recommended Reads

Rendering of the proposed development in yellow overlaid on the current neighborhood. 4 buildings of different heights

A New Beginning for Freedom West Homes

Freedom West Homes is one of the largest and oldest cooperatives in the western U.S. After 50 years, it needed help to meet the needs of today's residents. Through a collaborative process, the historic community is finding new life.

Read More


Featured Video
Redefining Urban Planning Through Social Equity

The Freedom West team is committed to embodying the project itself – a monumental stride to reflect the community, uplift its members and promote a thriving society for all citizens alike.

In the Spotlight

Planning

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