What is the Japantown Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy (JCHESS)?
Vision, Goals, and Objectives
It is one of the only three remaining Japantowns in the United States. It has excellent access to city and regional public transportation and offers a good variety of commercial streets that provide access to daily needs. It continuesto be one of the major San Francisco tourist attractions.
The Japantown Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy (JCHESS) is the first document in San Francisco to focus specifically on how to preserve and promote a neighborhood's cultural heritage. The vision of the JCHESS is that Japantown Japantown will thrive as a culturally rich, authentic, and economically vibrant neighborhood, which will serve as the cultural heart of the Japanese and Japanese American communities for generations to come. Specifically it will:
Secure Japantown’s future as the historical and cultural heart of Japanese and Japanese American Community.
Secure Japantown’s future as a thriving commercial and retail district.
Secure Japantown’s future as a home to residents and community-based institutions.
Secure Japantown’s future as a physically attractive and vibrant environment.
Areas of Concern
The JCHESS includes an assessment of the existing conditions in Japantown, and identifies particular "areas of concern" with regard to cultural heritage and economic sustainability, as follows:
Areas of Concern related to Japantown's land
Utilization of developable parcels
Areas of Concern related to Japantown's buildings
Compatibility of architectural style
Lack of pedestrian scale
Preservation of historic buildings and structures
Areas of Concern related to Japantown's organizations and institutions
Capacity challenges for community-serving organizations and institutions
Lack of permanent space for existing organization
Areas of Concern related to Japantown's businesses
Business ownership transitions
Finding culturally appropriate businesses
Attractiveness of the shopping district
Potential business displacement
The future of the Japan Center
The future of the Japan Center Parking Garage
Areas of Concern related to Japantown's cultural activities and events
Limited space for community activities
Costs of Acquiring permits for festivals
Areas of Concern related to Japantown's public realm
Peace Plaza design
Buchanan Mall design
Streetscape maintenance o Landscaping
To address these areas of concern, the JCHESS includes a series of recommendations that are considered by the City and community as having the best potential to fulfill the vision of the JCHESS. Given the range of concerns, there is no single tool that could fulfill this vision. It is more likely that a series of recommendations will need to be implemented in a complementary and coordinated manner to ensure maximum benefit to Japantown, including a combination of existing tools and proposed strategies.
Utilize Tools for Preservation of Historic Buildings and Structures
Leverage the Japantown Special Use District to Cultivate and Attract New Businesses Appropriate to Japantown
Utilize the City's Design Guidelines
Implement Streetscape and Pedestrian Improvements per the Better Streets Plan
Implement Proposed Transportation Improvements
Market the Neighborhood through SFTravel
Create a Community Development Corporation
Create a Community Land Trust
Implement Invest in Neighborhoods
Negotiate Community Benefits Agreements with Major New Developments
Create a Community Benefits District
Implement a Mello-Roos Community Facilities District
Utilize Funds from the San Francisco Grants for the Arts
Utilize Japan Center Garages' Capital Improvement Funds
Create a Japantown Neighborhood Commercial District
Create Japantown-Specific Design Guidelines
Implement Improvements to Peace Plaza
Implement Improvements to Buchanan Mall
Develop a Strategic Plan for the Japan Center Malls
To view or save the full JCHESS document, Download it here.
To get more in-depth information on the JCHESS, visit the Japantown SF Planning Website here.
If you have any comments regarding the JCHESS, please call Steve Wertheim at the SF Planning Department at 415.558.6625 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We need each and every person who lives in, works in, shops in or cares about Japantown to get involved in the process. Please keep watching this site for more information about how to get involved. In the meantime, please make sure we have your mailing address and email address so we can keep you informed. Contact us by phone at 415.346.1239 or email email@example.com
to join the mailing list.
To download a full sized copy of the proposed project