Community Meeting - January 27, 2018

On Saturday, January 27, 2018, Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza hosted the first of a series of four Community Meetings. 

These meetings are intended to be a participatory process between community stakeholders and the architects through which the visions and inspiration from the community will translate into guiding principles for concept design. For the first meeting, it was important to provide background on the site, the project, the opportunity and the importance of community engagement in this process.


Presentation

Agenda

• Introductions
• A few words from Cleve Jones
• Brief History of the Site
• Castro & Market’s Significance
• Memorial Precedents
• Site Analysis
         • Site Successes
         • Site Limitations
• SFMTA Accessibility Project
• Stakeholders
• Brainstorming Charrette Activity
• Activity Listening Session


Brainstorming Charrette Activity

The participants were asked to arrange themselves at round tables of 6-10 people per table. Each table had pens, highlighters and an enlarged paper formatted for the brainstorming charrette activity. There were a total of four questions (see the questions below) and five minutes per question to discuss and rank the top three responses per question. 

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Brainstorming Charrette Questions

The four questions for discussion were related to the current site and future visions for Harvey Milk Plaza.


Were you unable to attend the January 27 meeting, but still want to voice your opinion on the issues discussed? If yes, then here is your chance to contribute your own responses to the same questions that were asked at the meeting:

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Brainstorming Charrette Table Notes

Each table synthesized their top responses for each question and one table designee presented to the whole room. The input contributed will help guide the architects from Perkins Eastman in translating these visions into concept design and schematics.

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Table notes transcribed 

Table Notes #1
SITE SUCCESSES
1. The photographs as visual record of the history of Harvey + the neighborhood.
2. The entrance facing Castro.
3. The ability to recognize the station as unique within the scope of the city – the flag, etc.

SITE LIMITATIONS
1. Very little of the plaza and station space is used or activated.
2. The separation of spaces by pedestrian and vehicle traffic.
3. Complete inaccessibility as a public usable space – no seating, tables – only a space to move through.
4. Working with the city – other stakeholders, to maintain the plaza.

FUTURE QUALITIES
1. A grand vision of accessible, connected space.
2. Incorporation of historical information + data throughout the space that is accessible to everyone.
3. Reference the lexicon of architecture in the Castro – make it look like part of the neighborhood.
4. Usable greenspace.
5. Well – lit.

MEMORIAL CONCEPT
1. Giant rainbow arch over Castro or Claes Oldenburg-style bullhorn.
2. Celebrate and mourn Harvey but the primary vision should be his legacy of activism.
3. Integrating Harvey + history with AIDS/80’s history across the street and Jane Warner Plaza, etc.

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Table Notes transcribed

Table Notes #2
SITE SUCCESSES
1. NONE
2. Jane Warner doesn’t work well in comparison.
3. The plaza has grown on me over the years.
4. Like the narrow path – it keeps people moving.
5. Visually like the green space.
6. Comfortable, easy to move through.
7. Great rendezvous place.
8. Like the colored lights.

SITE LIMITATIONS
1. Escalators have been broken for a year! First things first!
2. Green space is closed off.
3. Sunken level isn’t used at all.
4. The stairs are not working. They are too wet and have the same visual all the way to the bottom, and this makes them hard to navigate.
5. Crime and unhealthy things happening.
6. I was unimpressed by what is there to represent Harvey Milk. There is only a tiny plaque – no one knows where it is.
7. Noise and traffic.

FUTURE QUALITIES
1. Create a feeling of ‘presentation.’
2. A feeling of being protected.
3. Working elevators and escalators.
4. Minimal redesign.
5. Escalator should only happen/run when people are on it [with sensors].
6. Greenery that’s accessible and not behind gates.
7. Better lighting that looks nice and it’s overrun by tweekers.
8. Nervous that new qualities will have unintended consequences. There is a lot to like about the existing plaza!
9. Widening a sidewalk creates a place to sit!

MEMORIAL CONCEPT
1. A single memorial bust.
2. The idea that it has to become grand to honor Harvey Milk isn’t necessary.
3. Berlin Wall – subway stations have become museums…it’s alive; one of the best things about Berlin, but it’s still just a subway station.
4. Check out subway stations in Moscow.
5. Understated. We can honor Harvey with the current space. Keep it simple.
6. Simplicity is elegance.

 

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table notes transcribed

Table Notes #3
SITE SUCCESSES
1. Corner location.
2. Entrance toward Castro St.
3. Function
4. FLAG should be paramount, no obstructions.

SITE LIMITATIONS
1. Very active transit station.
2. traffic filled w/problems, not warm, pretty.
3. NO exit onto Collingwood.

FUTURE QUALITIES
1. Clean look.
2. Warmth protection.

MEMORIAL CONCEPT
1. Video screen.
2. A world figure.
3. To clean up the Castro as well as a system to do that.
4. Symbolic imagery, not a statue of Harvey.
5. Symbolic.

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table notes transcribed

Table Notes #4
SITE SUCCESSES
1. Good, transitional open space with plants and nature.
2. Accessible, wide grand staircase.
3. Outside escalator and rainbow lighting.

SITE LIMITATIONS
1. Drainage and slippery surfaces.
2. Poor lighting.
3. Narrow access from Market.
4. Noise from flagpole clanking.
5. Noise from MUNI announcements.

FUTURE QUALITIES
1. Integrated with Jane Warner Plaza.
2. Security and policing case.
3. Replace stairs and ramps, encourage movement, not static space.

MEMORIAL CONCEPT
1. Less Harvey Milk personal honor, and more for what he politically stood for.
2. Hero’s wall, connect to other activists and GLBT history. 

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table notes transcribed

Table Notes #5
SITE SUCCESSES
1. Cercis Canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’ [existing trees].
2. Rainbow lights on escalator.
3. Flag!! Gilbert’s flag

SITE LIMITATIONS
1. Different levels, a ‘maze’.
2. Stairs – trip on them.
3. Corner is not integrated with the area/plaza.
4. Lack of seating.
5. Pooling of water.

FUTURE QUALITIES
1. Consider revising the name of the place – to make it bigger, to include WP and HMP and Pink Triangle and Rename it.
2. Consider homeless camping and sleeping.
3. A bigger plaza/gathering place.
4. Glass floor/allows light to come down to concourse.
5. Emerging from station up onto Castro [not Collingwood].
6. Green wall/living wall.
7. Flowers and flower stand.
8. A bulletin board/Posting ‘post’.

MEMORIAL CONCEPT
1. LED screen/continue images of Harvey/history. DYNAMIC presentation of imagery.
2. Move GLBT museum to HMP [or temporary installations curated by…]?
3. An engagement with the space.
4. A cut out or statue where you pose with statues. Like the plaster people in Christopher St Park in NYC.
5. A place for ritual.
6. A timeline as you go up the escalator.
7. Place for memorials from the community/a place to grieve – a space like what people have created at BofA.
8. Diverse communities – women, other people of the movement.

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table notes transcribed

Table Notes #6
SITE SUCCESSES
1. Transit hub.
2. Open feel of entry/exit.

SITE LIMITATIONS
1. No Eastern station exit/entrance.
2. Too small.

FUTURE QUALITIES
1. To invest in other parts of the intersection [Chevron, Pottery Barn].
2. Maintained, safe, clean stewardship.
3. Openness, light, greener.

MEMORIAL CONCEPT
1. Guide to neighborhood memorials – cohesion between memorials that already exist in the neighborhood [Rainbow History Walk, Pink Triangle].
2. Something interactive – examples Who’s Queer Did You Know?
3. HOPE.

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table notes transcribed

Table Notes #7
SITE SUCCESSES
1. Mature landscaping, efficient entrance at Castro naturally attracts groups.
2. Serene interior, several preservationist, like natural light, breeze and seeing landscaping [needs help].
3. Gracious steps [strong].

SITE LIMITATIONS
1. Modify stairs, retail locations, not covered escalator, shape, location.
2. Emerging exit, egress, congregation, how to manage sitting.
3. Flag missing pedestrian interaction.

FUTURE QUALITIES
1. Moving memorial, plaza is wrong name [Harvey Milk/Castro Station].
2. Simplicity of design, elegant, dignified, rotating art exhibit [like SFO terminal], digital art, photography.

MEMORIAL CONCEPT
1. Not representational, the movement itself, life-size statue, designated, Harvey as Vet.
2. Art trail, 5 sculptures, Aspects of Harvey in interior of train station, camera shop, expand Rainbow Honor Walk, Historical Society narrative – help define way finding.

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Table notes transcribed

Table Notes #8
SITE SUCCESSES
1. Easy accessibility between MUNI and street.
2. Once upon a time, a good place for public speaking…not so much now.
3. Sometimes to sit and people watch.

SITE LIMITATIONS
1. Elevator on North side – need another elevator at south side.
2. Crazy car/vehicle traffic across Castro and across Market.
3. Too much height to fit an ADA-compliant ramp.

FUTURE QUALITIES
1. Welcoming gathering space.
2. Plantings – lots of it – NOT all hard steel, glass and concrete.
3. Not conducive to homeless encampments or drug use/needle disposal.

MEMORIAL CONCEPT
1. Mural like the one that used to be at the Harvey Milk Rec Center at Duboce Park.
2. Openness to the Castro.
3. Celebratory and simple.

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Table notes transcribed

 

 

Table Notes #9
SITE SUCCESSES
1. Delivers function.
2. Great location.

SITE LIMITATIONS
1. ADA compliance.
2. Plaza component under develop.

FUTURE QUALITIES
1. Iconic representation of what Harvey Milk represented.
2. Made to function better for accessibility.
3. Great train station.

MEMORIAL CONCEPT
1. Powerful, inspiring, moving.
2. Out and open, visible to all in a major transit hub.
3. Incorporate ideas from people who really knew Harvey Milk.

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Table notes transcribed

Table Notes #10
SITE SUCCESSES
1. Greenery – stability.
2. Facing open to Castro – Into the neighborhood.
3. Nod to Rainbow flag/Rainbow lights.
4. Access from both sides of Market [Street].

SITE LIMITATIONS
1. Absence of elevator on South side.
2. Elevator on North side poorly located.
3. Steps, poor distance and visibility.
4. Plaza is hidden/sunken.
5. Built in opportunity for antisocial violence.
6. No bus stop seating on the North side.

FUTURE QUALITIES
1. More openness – special.
2. Facing Castro [Street].
3. Street level.
4. Iconic presence.
5. Be and feel safe.

MEMORIAL CONCEPT
1. Communicate come out and have fun.
2. Hyde Park corner/Vox.
3. Bullhorn – Iconic presence.

Question Summaries

The following reports were generated by Perkins Eastman after the meeting, to summarize the community's conversation during the meeting.

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Synthesis of Community Meeting Feedback

The following report was generated by Perkins Eastman after the meeting, to summarize the conversation that occurred into themes.

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Next Step

Join us March 3, 2018 for the next stage of "participatory" concept design!

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