MISSION STATEMENT

The purpose of the Japantown Planning, Preservation and Development Task Force (JPPDTF) is to organize and direct the preparation of a comprehensive community assessment and planning document on the future of San Francisco’s Japantown. The New Japantown Plan will serve as a blueprint to guide the implementation of recommendations to help preserve and enhance the community.

BACKGROUND

The JPPDTF grew out of community concerns over the future of San Francisco’s Japantown. Arising from a community assessment funding proposal in mid-1998, the momentum quickly picked up to incorporate a number of interested individuals and community organizations. This interest culminated with a community forum on October 31, 1998 to identify issues relating to the preservation of Japantown.

The JPPDTF was initiated by an ad-hoc committee, which shaped the make-up of the Task Force. With cooperation from the Mayor’s Office and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, the Task Force has become a truly all-inclusive body—receiving input from all sectors of the community. The JPPDTF is composed of close to 50 members involved in an array of Japanese and Japanese American community organizations, and includes merchants, residents, seniors, younger generations, Japanese American media, the arts community, and members of the Korean American and African American communities. An advisory committee has also been established to include further perspectives.

The JPPDTF has sought and is in the process of receiving consultation from two experienced Asian American consulting teams—Chinatown Community Development Center and Asian Neighborhood Design—who will assist the Task Force in the preparation of the New Japantown Plan. This is an 18-month process, and input from all members of the community is highly encouraged.

TASK FORCE COMPOSITION

Task Force members include leaders of local community organizations and businesses. The following are officers of the Task Force: chair, Sandy Mori; secretary, Geri Handa; and treasurer, Neal Taniguchi. The Executive Committte of the Task Force is composed of the chair, secretary, treasurer and chairs of the four standing committees.

COMMITTEES

The Task Force has the following four standing committees, which also hold regular meetings:

Communications & Marketing (chair: Chris Hirano; vice chair: Seiko Fujimoto). The scope of the Japantown, outreach to other Japanese American communities, tourism and linking the wider community to Japan.

Economic & Community Development (chair: Caryl Ito; vice chair: Min Paek). The scope of the Economic and Community Development Committee includes the development of business opportunities for families, small businesses and the encouragement of new businesses. Future business opportunities should reflect the existing character of the community.

Environment (chair: Sara Ishikawa; vice chair: Kaz Naganuma). The scope of the Environment Committee includes urban design, physical beauty, signage, safety and security in the area, crime, maintenance and lighting. Also of concern are open space issues such as the Buchanan Mall and the Peace Plaza.

Real Estate and Land Use (chair: Gary Kitahata; vice chair: Doug Dawkins). The scope of the Real Estate and Land Use Committee is the preservation of community, housing, affordable housing, and land transfers. Includes new and ongoing community projects.

I. INTRODUCTION

The Japantown Planning, Preservation, and Development Task Force ("Task Force") is pleased to submit this Status Report to update the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (SFRA) and the SFRA Commission on the progress of our 18-month planning process to develop a New Japantown Community Plan. When completed, the Plan will serve as a blueprint to guide the implementation of recommendations to help preserve and enhance the Japantown community.

We are currently two-thirds near the end of our first six-month contract with the SFRA, in which SFRA has contributed $100,000 towards our planning efforts. We anticipate to continue our planning work through August 31, 2000, with an additional $200,000 from SFRA to effectively complete the planning process to develop the Plan.

Thus far, we have made an incredible amount of progress in these first 5 months, with the assistance of our Japantown Planning Consultant Team, consisting of two experienced local Asian American non-profit organizations Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) and Asian Neighborhood Design (AND).

This Status Report has been prepared by our Planning Consultants. The Status Report documents the work that has been completed during the period from March 1, 1999 to July 23, 1999, in accordance with our first six-month contract’s scope of services, set forth in Table I-1 below. We will submit a final report to the SFRA at the end of our six-month contract in August 31, 1999. We appreciate the SFRA’s continual support in our efforts to develop concrete strategies to preserve and enhance the future of our community.

Table I-1. Scope of Services (March 1, 1999-August 31, 1999)

Scope of Services

 

Status as of July 23, 1999

1. Define Community

 

* Compile and review existing data, studies, plans, and demographics to summarize and present to Task Force.

Completed, see Attachment IV-1

* Define "community" expansively for the purposes of the planning process to include businesses and residents of Japantown and adjacent areas.

Completed, see III-C-1. Community Definition

* Analyze different physical boundaries of Japantown and present the impacts of each alternative on the planning process.

Completed, see III-C-2. Physical Boundary Maps III-1& III-2

* Start land use surveys and building analysis.

Completed, see IV-C. Japantown Property & Land Use Profile, with accompanying maps and graphics

* Develop an outreach strategy for participation of community members.

Completed, see VII-A. Outreach Strategy

* Identify potential interns and volunteers to help with research, outreach, surveys, building inventory, business analysis, etc.

Completed, see Attachment III-1. Planning Consultant Team and Interns & Volunteers

* All work reports in connection with this task are to be submitted to the Agency.

Completed, work reports have been submitted

2. Vision and Identity

 

* Prepare statement of vision and identity for community as developed in previous community meetings.

Completed, see III-C-3. Vision/Identity

* Analyze and present issues of potential conflict and solutions.

To be completed by end of August 1999

* Define goals and objectives for the planning process.

Completed, see III-B. Goals & Objectives of Planning Process

3. Stakeholder Interviews and Focus Groups

 

* Begin to conduct Focus Groups and interviews with stakeholders

Currently, we are conducting stakeholder interviews and focus groups. We have completed over 11 focus groups/presentations and many interviews. Through these efforts, we have outreached directly to over 150 non-Task Force members. We also have conducted over 200 surveys.

* Analyze Focus Group concerns and conduct additional research.

To be completed by end of August 1999

* Synthesize data collected for presentation to Sub-Committees.

To be completed by end of August 1999

* Work with the Task Force to prioritize stakeholders' concerns.

To be completed by end of August 1999

* Refine Community Vision and Identity.

Community Vision and Identity has been developed and will be refined, if necessary.

* Present preliminary list of both stakeholders and focus group concerns to appropriate groups and individuals and shall be an ongoing work-in-progress.

On-going work-in progress.

* Begin process to result in a long-range plan.

We are 5 months into the process.

* Begin to identify goals and objectives.

Completed, see VI. Draft Goals & Objectives of Plan

* Begin the dialogue with City Departments, such as Department of City Planning, Mayor’s Office of Community Development and Department of Public Works, to identify public resources for improvements to the community.

The Task Force is sending a letter to the Mayor to request City Departments heads or their representatives to work with us in this process

* All work reports in connection with this task are to be submitted to the Agency.

To be completed at the end of August 1999

4. The work products that will result from the studies, analysis and meetings will include:

 

* Time Schedule for deliverables to be provided within four weeks of signing this Agreement.

Completed, the time schedule and work process, dated March 31, 1999 was submitted to SFRA staff. Since then, we have submitted a revision of the work process/schedule to SFRA. See Attachment III-2. Planning Process & Time Schedule

* Monthly reports on progress commencing on April 15, 1999.

We are up to date with monthly reports. Thus far, we have submitted 4 monthly reports, dated April 15, 1999, May 15, 1999, June 15, 1999, and July 15, 1999.

* Work Reports specified in each of the preceding tasks.

We provide work reports within our monthly reports.

* Vision Statement.

Completed, see III-C-3. Vision/Identity

* Draft preliminary analysis of stakeholder interviews and Focus Groups and shall be an ongoing work-in-progress.

On-going work-in progress.

* A description of the process that will result in a Plan to address the community's mission, goals and objectives.

Completed, see III-A. Overview of Planning Process, with Figures II-1 and II-2. Attachment III-2. Planning Process & Time Schedule

* Work products associated with the Defining the Community, Vision and Identity, and Preliminary list of stakeholder and focus group to be submitted within 6 months after this Agreement is signed.

To be completed by the end of August 31, 1999

II. OVERVIEW OF THE JAPANTOWN PLANNING, PRESERVATION, AND DEVELOPMENT TASK FORCE

A. Background

The Japantown Planning, Preservation, and Development Task Force ("Task Force") grew out of community concerns over the future of San Francisco's Japantown, one of only three Japantowns remaining in the United States. Arising from a community assessment funding proposal in mid-1998, the momentum quickly picked up to incorporate a number of interested individuals and community organizations. This interest culminated with a community forum on October 31, 1998 to discuss issues relating to the preservation of Japantown.

In December 1998, the Japantown Planning, Preservation, and Development Task Force was organized to address the need for a long term plan to ensure the future of San Francisco's Japantown community. Initiated by an ad-hoc committee, the Task Force is now composed of close to 50 members, consisting of a broad cross section of the Japantown. There are representatives from small and large businesses, social service agencies, arts and cultural groups, religious organizations, community newspapers, residents, senior citizens, youth, the Japanese speaking community and from the Korean American community. In addition to the seated members of the Task Force, an Advisory Council has been established to provide additional guidance and support for the Task Force. Currently there are 15 members on the Task Force's Advisory Council. The Task Force continues to outreach to, inform, and obtain input from the community at large.

With support from the Mayor's Office and funding provided by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (SFRA), the Task Force is undergoing an 18-month planning process, begun in March 1999, to develop a New Japantown Community Plan to preserve and enhance the Japantown community.

B. Mission Statement

The Japantown Planning, Preservation and Development Task Force's mission is to organize and direct the preparation of a comprehensive community assessment and planning document on the future of San Francisco's Japantown. The New Japantown Plan will serve as a blueprint to guide the implementation of recommendations to help preserve and enhance the community.

C. Task Force Composition and Meetings

The Task Force members include leaders of local community organizations and businesses and interested community members.

The following are officers of the Task Force: Sandy Mori, Chair; Geri Handa, Secretary; and Neal Taniguchi, Treasurer,. The Executive Committee of the Task Force is composed of the chair, secretary, treasurer and the chairs of the four standing committees.

The Task Force has the following four standing committees, which also hold regular meetings:

     Communications & Marketing (Chris Hirano, Chair and Seiko Fujimoto, Vice Chair): The scope of the Communications & Marketing Committee includes the coordination of community organizations within Japantown, outreach to other Japanese American communities, tourism and linking the wider community to Japan.

    Economic & Community Development (Caryl Ito, Chair and Min Peak, Vice Chair): The scope of the Economic and Community Committee includes the development of business opportunities for families, small businesses and the encouragement of new businesses.

         Environment (Sara Ishikawa, Chair and Kaz Naganuma, Vice Chair): The scope of the Environment Committee includes urban design, physical beauty, signage, safety and security in the area, maintenance and lighting. Also of concern are open space issues such as the Buchanan Mall and the Peace Plaza.

     Real Estate & Land Use (Gary Kitahata, Chair and Doug Dawkins, Vice Chair): The scope of the Real Estate & Land Use Committee is the preservation of community, affordable housing, and land transfers, and includes new and ongoing community projects.

III. OVERVIEW OF JAPANTOWN COMMUNITY PLANNING PROCESS

A. Overview of Planning Process

The Japantown Community Planning Process, spearheaded by the Japantown Planning, Preservation and Development Task Force, is an 18-month process. The general planning process that the Task Force will undertake is outlined in Figure II-1.

The Task Force is currently working with a joint planning consultant team of two local Asian American non-profits with extensive experience in community planning: Chinatown Community Development Center and Asian Neighborhood Design.

The planning process during the first six months is shown in Figure II-2. The specific work plan and schedule is shown in Attachment III-2.

B. Goals and Objectives of the Planning Process

The Task Force's goals and objectives of the planning process are as follows:

1. Build Community.

Bring community together to plan for the future of Japantown.

Galvanize community-wide participation and interest in planning for the future of Japantown.

Increase interaction, communication and networking between and among different segments of the community to work together.

Build community support for advocating for benefits for the Japantown community.

2. Develop Knowledge Base of the Community.

Collect base data on the community.

Create forum for information sharing and discussion about the Japantown community.

Provide information to community regarding current activities and developments that might impact the Japantown community.

3. Develop a Community Plan for the Preservation, Planning, and Development of Japantown that will be implemented.

Solicit community-wide input on developing the community plan.

Build community-wide consensus and support for the implementation of the goals, objectives, and specific projects that come out of the Community Plan.

Identify public policies, strategies, and specific projects to be implemented for the benefit of the Japantown community.

Identify resources and strategies to bring about implementation of the Plan.

4. Support selected existing and on-going projects in their implementation in Japantown.

C. Defining Community

1. Community Definition:

For the purpose of this planning process, "Community" is defined as people of Japanese ancestry in America, and people who support and have a vested interest in the development and preservation of San Francisco's Japantown.

2. Physical Boundary:

Setting the physical boundaries of the Japantown community was difficult given that there are historical, cultural, and psychological spheres of influences which impact the identity and definition of the Japantown community and its boundaries. For example, How do we know we are in Japantown? What is the internal and external definition of what it is to be “Japanese” living in America? How is it defined by the larger community surrounding us and outside of this community?

As a starting point, the Planning Consultants began gathering existing land use data around the area bounded by Bush, Geary, Steiner and Gough. Based on input from the committees, the Consultants broaden their data collection to a larger area, extending to California, O'Farrell, Pierce, and Franklin, at the same time, including other properties that are significant to the Japanese and Japanese-American community that might lie outside this general boundary. This information was presented to the Task Force members at their general meeting on April 14, 1999.

During that meeting, Task Force members discussed extensively about what they considered to be the physical boundaries of Japantown. Historically, Japantown extended to over 30 square blocks, with a large Japanese-American residential population, which has diminished and dispersed from the area due to two major actions by the government: The first was the Japanese internment during World War II, the second, the redevelopment of Western Addition A-2 area.

Today, Japantown's commercial core is concentrated along Buchanan and Post, on seven square blocks, three of which are taken up by the Japan Trade Center (Kintetsu and Kinokuniya buildings) and the Miyako Hotel and Mall. According to the 1990 U.S. Census, the Japanese and Japanese-American residential population make up only ten percent of the greater Japantown area (as defined by three main census tracts 0152, 0155, and 0159.)1 However, Japantown has maintained a strong base of community organizations and religious institutions which have historically and continue to address Japanese and Japanese-American needs and interests as well as serve the greater population. At the same time, many community organizations and religious institutions, considered as assets to the community, have located outside the immediate Japantown area.

1 The three census tracts over an area much greater than the Japantown Planning Study.

In order to facilitate our initial study of Japantown, the Task Force endorsed the following physical boundaries as the Japantown Planning Study Area, to be revisited and discussed at a later point in time:

For now, the physical boundaries set for our initial study would include both sides of Fillmore, Pine, Octavia, and O'Farrell.

3. Vision/Identity:

On May 19th, the Task Force endorsed the following vision statement:

The Vision of this Community Plan is to provide ideas and strategies to preserve and develop Japantown as a viable neighborhood by revitalizing its commercial and cultural district into a local, statewide, national, and international resource. We envision strengthening the ethnic diversity of San Francisco by bringing together the culture and history of the Nikkei community into the Japantown center for all to share, and to create an atmosphere of safety, beauty, and prosperity for the residents, organizations, and businesses all residing in the neighborhood for now and in the future.

IV. COMMUNITY PROFILE

A. Community Historical Context

San Francisco's Japantown or "Nihonmachi" evolved from several earlier Japanese American communities during the early 1900's. Due to immigration, social, economic and racial forces impacting the Japanese community at the time, early settlements existed in the South Park and Chinatown districts of San Francisco. As with many ethnic communities, the formation of Japantown provided support for the first generation of Japanese immigrants, or Issei, by providing services, language and housing at a time when they were not welcome in other parts of the City. Located near the shipping docks where many first arrived to this country, this early community provided a central base to Japanese Americans throughout Northern California.

After the 1906 earthquake, a shift in the Japanese American community began towards the Western Addition area that provided greater residential opportunities. The disruption caused by the start of construction of the Bay Bridge completed the relocation of the community away from South Park. With the relocation of the community came more Japanese businesses, shops, churches, schools, restaurants, hotels, and other organizations, which grew in the Western Addition and further supported the growth of the community. This growth continued through the 1920's and 1930's.

The start of World War II brought an abrupt end to the flourishing community. Executive Order 9066, issued by President Roosevelt in 1942, brought the evacuation of all persons of Japanese ancestry. Western Addition Isseis and their children, the Second Generation or Niseis, along with other Japanese throughout the West Coast, were evacuated first to local "Assembly Centers," then onto "Relocation Camps" located in isolated areas throughout the West. The impact of World War II to the Western Addition was the removal of Japanese Americans and the influx of a new African-American community primarily from the South who were recruited for shipyard work for war construction.

At the end of the War, many Japanese families returned to the Western Addition. However, the scale and quality of the pre-war community was never re-established. Many families never returned to the area. The Japanese American community scattered throughout the country. Due to the changing economics of the City, the movement towards the suburbs and the aging residential building stock which dated from before the earthquake making upkeep difficult, the post-war Japantown area deteriorated.

During the 1960's and 1970's, the area was placed under the control of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. Identified as an area characterized by "blight," the Redevelopment Plan for the Western Addition Redevelopment Project Area A-2 was instituted with the intent to "remedy" these conditions.

Large portions of the neighborhood building stock were removed to make room for newer developments such as the Japantown Trade Center and Miyako Hotel. Community opposition such as CANE (Committee Against Nihonmachi Eviction) sought to stop further demolition and relocation of housing and building stock. The Third Generation, or Sansei, protested this demolition to the neighborhood because it was resulting in the further dissemination of the Japanese American community. Through the activism and efforts of the Nisei and Sansei, many new community-based organizations arose during this period to address the community needs for seniors, children, youth, and others.

Efforts were made to both protect the cultural existence of Nihonmachi and to expand the spirit of the community to Japanese and Japanese Americans throughout the area. Events such as the annual Cherry Blossom Festival celebrate Japanese culture and bring elements of the Japanese American community together with those from Japan. The community-based Nihonmachi Street Fair celebrates Japanese American and Asian American values and spirit.

Changes in the neighborhood are on going with the continuing shifts in the Japanese American and newcomer Japanese populations, an evolving local Korean American community and businesses, and changes along the commercial Fillmore Street District.

Today San Francisco Nihonmachi is one of only three remaining major Japanese American communities in the United States. The others are in San Jose and Los Angeles.

B. Demographics of the Japantown Community

Japantown has historically been a mixed use neighborhood with residential, commercial and cultural establishments, serving both the neighborhood area as well as the broader Japanese American community in the Bay Area. Recognizing this, in examining the demographics of the community, we will look at both the demographics of the neighborhood as well as the demographics of the Japanese and Japanese American community, or the Nikkei population, of the greater Bay Area.

Japantown, the Neighborhood
Population: Who lives in the neighborhood?
A Closer look at the San Francisco and Bay Area Nikkei Population

1. Japantown, the Neighborhood

The Task Force identified the Japantown neighborhood, for working purposes, as being bounded by both sides of Pine Street and O'Farrell Street from the north and south, and Octavia Street to Fillmore Street to the East and West. While not exact, the Census Tracts which largely cover this area are 0152, 0155 and 0159, hereby, defined as the “greater Japantown neighborhood”.

2. Population: Who lives in the Neighborhood?

Ethnicity: Based on 1990 U.S. Census data, the greater Japantown neighborhood had a population of 9,324 residents, among whom over half (or 53%) were White, a quarter (or 26%) were Asian American, 19% African American, and 2% Hispanic. (See Figure IV-1.)

Source: 1990 U.S. Census

Among the Asian population in the neighborhood, 37% were Japanese, 29% Chinese, 22% Korean, 6% Filipino and 6% other Asian2. (See Figure IV-2.) Therefore, about 10% of the greater Japantown neighborhood is made up of Japanese and Japanese Americans3. Given that the Japanese and Japanese-American population makes up less than 2% of the City's overall population, the Japantown area is still considered to have a high concentration of Japanese and Japanese Americans living there. The Nikkei population residing in the greater Japantown neighborhood makes up 7.3% of the City's Nikkei population. (See Table IV-1)

Source: 1990 U.S. Census

 

2 In comparison to the overall Citywide population in which Japanese accounted for 12.3% of all Asian Americans.

3 37% of the Asian population in the area is Japanese, and the Asian population makes up 26% of all the overall area's population.

 

Age: As shown in Table IV-1, the greater Japantown area has an older population, with an average age of 45, in comparison with that of the City's average (38.8). In 1990, seniors aged 65 and over comprised nearly a quarter of the greater Japantown neighborhood, with young adults, aged 25 to 34, also making up nearly a quarter of the area's population. Less than 10% were children under 15. About 10% were youth, ages 15 to 24. (See Figure IV-3.)

Source: 1990 U.S. Census

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Neighborhood Comparison to the City and Region: The population residing in the greater Japantown area is about 1.3% of that of the City. As discussed above, the Japantown population is older, and has a higher per capita income than the City as a whole. However, it has a lower median household income, about 83% of the City's median household income, and 67% of that of the Bay Area. It also has a smaller average household size than the City's and that of the Bay Area. Median rent in that area in 1990 was also slightly lower than the City's and Bay Area's average. (See Table VI-1 below.)

Table IV-1. Neighborhood Comparisons to the City and Region

 

Japantown

(CT: 0152, 0155, 0159)

San Francisco

Bay Area

(CMSA)

Area

.35 sq. miles

46.7 sq. miles

7,374 sq. miles

Population

9,324

723,959

6,253,311

Average Age

45.0

38.8

 

Per Capita Income*

$16,356

$13,923

$15,355

Median Household Income*

$27,805

$33,414

$41,459

Average Household Size

1.7

2.4

2.7

Median Rent

$574

$653

$690

Japanese Population

932

12,047

81,504

Japanese Speakers

807

6,061

 

Source: 1990 U.S. Census (*Income figures are for 1989)

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3. A Closer look at the San Francisco and Bay Area Nikkei Population

In 1990, 12,047 people of Japanese descent were reported through the census for the City and County of San Francisco. Two thirds of the San Francisco Nikkei Population were American born, and about 30% were born in Japan.4 Nearly half (or 46.5%) of the City's Nikkei population were Japanese speaking. (Between 1980 and 1990, the total number of Japanese speakers (i.e., immigrants) in the United States increased by 27%.5)

4 Kobashigawa, Ben "Demographic Analysis of the San Francisco Bay Area Nikkei Population"

5 www.asiacentral.com/pop/demo/demo9.htm

Within San Francisco, the main areas of concentration of the Nikkei and related population are in Japantown, the Richmond and Sunset districts.6

6 Kobashigawa, Ben "Demographic Analysis of the S.F. Bay Area Nikkei Populations" 5/28/99 pg. 7

Newcomer and Visitor Population: In looking at Japanese immigration to the Bay Area, immigration data indicates that there were 5,877 Japanese immigrants in San Francisco with a green card in 1997. In addition, 4,713 Japanese visitors with visas indicated a stay of three months or more in San Francisco. When this number of Japanese immigrants and visitors is added to the existing Japanese population not included in the 1990 U.S. Census, the Japanese speaking population in San Francisco would be increased by 39%. This would make the Japanese newcomer and extended visitor population 50% of the total Japanese population in San Francisco and therefore, an important group to attract to Japantown to help the revitalization of its commercial center.

In addition, of the Japanese surveyed in the 1990 census, 33% were identified as being "linguistically isolated"7 and would benefit from services that are linguistically and culturally appropriate to this population.

7 www.asiacentral.com/ademo/fig4.htm

Nikkei Population Distribution in the Bay Area: Table VI-2 below shows nearly as many Japanese immigrants go to the South Bay as to San Francisco.

Table IV-2: Japanese Immigration to the Bay Area

 

San Francisco

Silicon Valley

Totals

Stay more than 3 months

4713

4582

9295

With green card

5877

5690

11567

Totals

10590

10272

20862

Source: 1997 Immigration data

 

Within the 9 county Bay Area region, over a third (35.3%) of the Nikkei population resides in Santa Clara County. Alameda County has the second largest percentage of Bay Area's Nikkei population (17.8%), with San Francisco, as third with 14.6%. In terms of the Japanese speaking population, again, Santa Clara County has the greatest percentage at 31.4%, but San Francisco is second with 19%, and San Mateo is third with 15.7%. (See Tables IV-3 & IV-4 and Map IV-2.)

Table IV-3. Bay Area Japanese Population Distribution by County

County

Total County Population

Distribution of Pop. In Bay Area By County (%)

Total Japanese Population

Distribution of Japanese Pop. In Bay Area By County (%)

Japanese as % of Total County Pop.

Alameda

1,279,182

21.2%

14,077

17.8%

1.1%

Contra Costa

803,732

13.3%

8,264

10.4%

1.0%

Marin

230,096

3.8%

1,855

2.3%

0.8%

Napa

110,765

1.8%

644

0.8%

0.6%

San Francisco

723,959

12%

11,591

14.6%

1.6%

San Mateo

649,623

10.8%

10,250

12.9%

1.6%

Santa Clara

1,497,577

24.9%

27,967

35.3%

1.9%

Solano

340,421

5.7%

2,923

3.7%

0.9%

Sonoma

388,222

6.4%

1,606

2.0%

0.4%

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bay Area

6,023,577

 

79,177

 

1.3%

Source: Asian Pacific Islander Health Forum

 

Table IV-4. Bay Area Japanese Speakers Population Distribution by County

County

Total Japanese Speakers

Distribution of Japanese Speakers In Bay Area By County (%)

Japanese Speakers as % of Japanese Population

Alameda

5,122

14.8%

36%

Contra Costa

3,096

8.9%

37%

Marin

787

2.3%

42%

Napa

396

1.1%

61%

San Francisco

6,600

19.0%

57%

San Mateo

5,442

15.7%

53%

Santa Clara

10,905

31.4%

39%

Solano

1,704

4.9%

58%

Sonoma

635

1.8%

40%

 

 

 

 

Bay Area

34,687

 

44%

Source: Asian Pacific Islander Health Forum

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C. Japantown Existing Property and Land Use Profile

1. Project Area: The Project Area or Planning Study area is defined by the Japantown Planning, Preservation and Development Task Force as an area roughly bounded by both sides of Pine, Octavia, O'Farrell, and Fillmore (see Map IV-3). The Project Area analysis includes the following blocks: 0649-0654, 0659-0664; 0673-0678; 0683-0688; 0697-0702; and 0707-0712.8

8 (Please note that partial land use information, primarily for lots facing Geary and Pine, is included in the land use analysis for the following blocks: 0649-0654 and 0707-0712)

2. Existing Zoning and Existing Height Limits: Map IV-4 shows the existing zoning for the Project Area. See Attachment IV-2 for a summary of the definitions of the different zoning types. Map IV-5 shows the existing height limits. Most of the area fall within the 50-X (up to 50 feet by right) allowed and 40-X (up to 40 fit by right) height limit. See Attachment IV-3 for definition of the height and bulk limits.

3. General Land Use Pattern: Map IV-6 identifies the general land use pattern of the area, according to commercial, institution, mixed use, open space, parking, residential, vacant, and no data. The definitions of these use types are given below.

Definitions:

·         Commercial Use is defined here to include office, retail, banks, and hotels.

·         Residential Use is defined as land use for residential or housing purposes only.

·         Mixed-Use is defined as a mix of commercial and residential uses.

·         Institutional Use includes churches, religious institutions, schools, hospitals and public and community related uses, including non-profits.

·         Open Space is defined as an area of land occupied for the purpose of outdoor use (for passive or active recreation).

·         Parking is defined here to include only surface parking lots within the Project Area.

·         Vacant Land includes parcels currently empty and not in use.

·         No Data is defined for this map as parcels where either data is not available or are not within the definition of commercial, residential, mixed-use, institutional use, open space, parking or vacant properties.

Below are some key conclusions draw from the General Land Use map and the Detailed Residential Use map.

Key Conclusions:

·         The majority of land within the Project Area is residential use.

·         Commercial and institutional uses combined are the second largest land uses within the Project Area. Although the number of commercial use parcels exceed institutional use (59 to 32), the total areas of the two are similar (see Figures IV-4 and IV-5).

·         Commercial use is primarily concentrated on the southern and western ends of the Project Area, at Post, Buchanan and Fillmore Streets, areas that occupy less than one-third of the Project Area.

·         There is one clear distinction between the commercial use on Post and Buchanan and the Fillmore Street areas. The commercial use on Post and Buchanan is primarily limited to mainly commercial use while the businesses on Fillmore Street employ a "mixed-use" of land more where commercial use is found along side residential within individual parcels. (For specific types of commercial use, see discussion on Detailed Commercial Use below).

·         As stated above, thirty-two parcels are occupied by institutional use in the Project Area. Of the total, more than half are occupied by churches or for religious purposes. The rest are community or non-profit related uses (see discussion on Type of Property Ownership below).

·         Few open space is available to the large residential community present for outdoor and recreation activities; there are only 4 parcels that could be defined as open space within the entire Project Area. Closest sizable open space to the Project Area is outside of the area. It is the Hamilton Fields and Recreation Center, which is located near Geary and Steiner.

·         There are 10 vacant parcels within the Project Area and they are primarily owned by public entities (see discussion of Type of Property Ownership below). Development opportunities are small within these vacant parcels since many are already spoken for or are currently under development.

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4. Detailed Commercial Use: A detailed breakdown of commercial uses by bank, hotel, office, retail, retail/office/bank, and no data is shown in Map IV-7 and Figure IV-6. Some key conclusions are summarized below.

Definitions:

·         No Data is defined for this map as parcels where either data is not available or are not within the definition of bank, hotel, office, or retail properties.

Key Conclusions:

·         The majority of the commercial use in the Project Area is retail, i.e. shops, clothing boutiques, cafes and restaurants. Of the total retail, restaurant use is the primary commercial activity. Other retail in the Project Area includes grocery stores, hair salons, dry cleaners, cosmetic stores, photo shops, book stores, pottery, art galleries and jewelry shops (see Figure IV-7).

·         There is a significant number of professional offices, i.e. accounting, architectural, real estate, insurance and law offices, within the Project Area (see Figure IV-7).

·         The commercial use within the Project Area is concentrated along two corridors as discussed above, Post & Buchanan and Fillmore, respectively covering blocks 675-676, 685-686, and 700-701, and 653-654, 659-60, 677-78,683-84, 702, and 707-708.

·         The Fillmore commercial corridor is primarily outdoor, whereas the Post and Buchanan commercial core includes mostly indoor locations, the primary use being the Japan Center that includes the Miyako and the Kintetsu Malls (see Figures IV-8 and IV-9).

·         There are two banks in the Project Area: one within the Miyako Mall and on Post.

·         There are five hotels in the area; two major ones, the Miyako Inn and the Miyako (Radisson) Hotel, are located in the Post and Buchanan commercial core.

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5. Detailed Residential Use: Map IV-8 and Figures IV-10 and IV-11 show a breakdown of the residential uses by single family, flat, apartment, condominium, single room occupancy, and no data. The definitions and key conclusions are provided below.

Definitions:

·         Single Family unit is defined as a single unit dwelling for single family occupancy.

·         A Flat is a unit that allows for more than one family occupancy; it typically has 2 to 4 units.

·         Apartments are defined here under three categories: large, medium and small. Small apartments are defined to include 2 to 12 units, and are typically larger than a flat. Medium size apartments hold approximately 13 to 100 units, and large apartments have 101 units or greater.

·         Condos are defined as dwellings that have been legally defined as condominiums or apartments with separate ownerships within a single building. Condos in the Project Area vary from 12 to 150 units.

·         Single Room Occupancy units or SROs are dwelling units containing one room only.

·         No Data is defined for this map as parcels where either data is not available or are not within the definition of single family, flat, apartment, condo or SRO properties.

Key Conclusions:

·         The majority of the parcels (approximately 49% of the total residential units or 34% of the total parcels) of the identified residential area within the Project Area, are used for small to medium sized apartments or flats (see Figures IV-10 and IV-11). Many of these units are located along the northern half of the Project Area above Sutter Street.

·         Very few single family units (3% of the total residential units) exist within the Project Area (see Figure VI-11).

·         Many flats and single family units in the Project Area are victorians, often renovated and were built before 1960 (see discussion of Building Built Date below).

·         Large sized apartments, although small in number (1% of total parcels), make a significant presence in the Project Area, as they contain large number of dwelling units (28% of total units) (see Figures IV-10 and IV-11). The building heights of large sized apartments can go up to 240 feet in a mostly 40-50 feet tall neighborhood (see Existing Height Limits Map IV-5). One large apartment building in the Project Area, the Sequoias, borders Geary Street.

·         Condos make up approximately 10% of the total residential units in the Project Area. Many are former single family or flat conversions and tend to be small (see Figure IV-11).

·         The residential units found within mixed-use parcels, which are defined as residential and commercial units in one lot (see General Land Use Pattern Map IV-6), the number of residential units found tend to be small; they tend to be flats, small apartments or condos.

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6. Date of Property Ownership: Map IV-9 and Figure IV-12 show property ownership by the following dates: Before 1960; 1961-1970; 1971-1980; 1981-1990; After 1991, and no data. Key conclusions are provided below:

Definitions:

·         No Data is defined for this map as parcels where data is not available.

Key Conclusions:

·         The majority of the property (66% of the total parcels) in the Project Area were purchased after 1991 (Figure IV-12). The parcels are mostly residential in use (see Detailed Residential Use Map IV-8), with the exception of the Post, Buchanan and Fillmore commercial areas (see Detailed Commercial Use Map IV-7).

·         Most other parcels (29% of the total parcels) have been owned since at least 1971 (see Figure IV-12).

·         Very few parcels (3 total) have ownerships before 1960.

·         The majority of the institutional uses obtained ownership between 1971-1980.

·         Churches in the Project Area generally obtained ownership between 1971-1980, although they were built earlier either in the early 1900's or in the early 1970's.

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7. Date Buildings Built: Map IV-10 and Figure IV-13 show the date buildings were built by the following: Before 1960; 1961-1970; 1971-1980; 1981-1990; After 1991, and no data. Key conclusions are provided below:

Definitions:

·         No Data is defined for this map as parcels where data is not available.

Key Conclusions:

·         Even though the property ownership in the Project Area is recent as discussed above, almost half (49%) of the buildings that currently exist in the area were built prior to 1960 (see Figure IV-13). Most of these buildings are small scale residential, flats or small apartments, located in the northern part of the Project Area.

·         Commercial units in the Project Area are more recent; many were built between 1971-1990, with the exception of the Japan Center, most of which was built between 1961-1970.

·         Few parcels (17%) in the Project Area were built (or retrofitted and obtained building permits) after 1991 (see Figure IV-13).

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8. Type of Property Ownership: Property ownership is shown in Map IV-11, broken down by the following types: Japanese surname, religious, public, non-profit, and no data. Definitions and key conclusions are provided below.

Definitions:

·         Japanese Surname ownership is identified by property owners with a Japanese last name. Note that this data set, since it is only identified by known Japanese last names, may not include all Japanese owners.

·         Religious ownership is defined as those properties owned currently by religious institutions or entities.

·         Public ownership includes the City and County of San Francisco and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency.

·         Non-profit ownership is defined as properties owned by non-profit entities.

·         No Data is defined for this map as parcels where either data is not available or are not within the definition of Japanese surname, religious, public or non-profit properties.

Key Conclusions:

·         Approximately one-third of the properties, about 97 parcels in the Project Area, are owned by those who have identifiable Japanese surnames. (Although the data does not distinguish Japanese (out-of-town owners) from Japanese Americans, it can be concluded from the Absentee Ownership Pattern (see below), that a number of large commercial properties with Japanese surnames are owned by absentee owners.)

·         Religious institutions or associations own 20 parcels within the Project Area, of which 8 are churches but others are primarily residential use.

·         There are 18 public owned parcels; the majority (11) of which are owned by the City and County of San Francisco and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency. Other public ownership includes the U.S. Postal Service and government agencies, i.e. the Chinese Consulate.

·         Non-profit ownership of land within the Project Area is minimal. There are 12 parcels under non-profit ownership, and of which three are YMCA and YWCA owned properties.

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9. Absentee Ownership: Map IV-12 shows absentee ownership pattern by owners absent, owner present and no data. Some key conclusions are shown below.

Definitions:

·         Owner Absent is defined as a parcel where the property owner's mailing address does not match the property's address.

·         Owner Present is defined as a parcel where the property owner's mailing address matches the property's address.

·         No Data is defined for this map as parcels where data is not available.

Key Conclusions:

·         The majority of the owner absentee parcels are commercial use.

·         The majority of the owner present parcels are residential use.

·         Generally, owners are present for institutional uses.

Data Source:

·         GIS map coordinates from the Department of Public Works, City and County of San Francisco9

·         Property and block/lot (parcel) data from the Department of City Planning, City and County of San Francisco

·         Land use data was field collected by the Chinatown Community Development Center (1999).


9 Reproduced with permission granted by the City and County of San Francisco. These maps are copyrighted by the City and County of San Francisco. It is unlawful to copy or reproduce all or any part thereof without prior written permission of the City and County of San Francisco. The City and County of San Francisco does not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or usefulness of any information. The City and County of San Francisco provides this information on "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, and assumes no responsibility for anyone's use of the information.

V. PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT OF COMMUNITY STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES, AND THREATS (SWOT)

In April, the Planning Consultants conducted the SWOT analysis with each of the four standing committees to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats on various issues.

·         At the Economic & Community Development Committee, the issues discussed were the following: Japantown as a Neighborhood, a Community Center, and a National/International Cultural and Historic Resource; and maintaining the "Cultural Authenticity," and the economic viability of Japantown’s commercial district.

·         The Environment Committee discussed Japantown’s Physical & Social Identity-Cultural Uniqueness, Urban Design/Neighborhood Character, Access Issues (visibility, transit, traffic, pedestrian), and the Beautification Projects in Development (i.e., Peace Plaza, Buchanan Mall).

·         At the Real Estate & Land Use Committee, issues included Existing Housing/Residential Use, Existing Commercial Use, Existing Institutional Use, Public Ownership, Absentee Ownership, Japanese Ownership, and Development Potentials.

·         The Communications & Marketing Committee focused on the Cherry Blossom Festival, Nihonmachi Street Fair, Tourism, and Involvement of Japanese speakers.

 

A. Economic & Community Development SWOT Analysis on Issues

Issue 1: Japantown as a viable community/neighborhood

Strengths:

·         Services and service organizations

·         Location has great access to public transit

·         Availability of parking

·         Shops

·         Pedestrian friendly

·         The Japan Center mall

·         Churches/religious institutions

Weaknesses:

·         Hours of business do not work for professionals not working in neighborhood

·         People have to plan to come here

·         Service organizations do not serve neighborhood

·         Security

·         Affordability of products

·         No place for to "hang out"

·         No performing arts center

·         Mix of stores

·         Loss of Japanese specialty stores (mochi, dry goods)

·         Not enough choices in basic needs/sundries - barber, dry cleaners, laundry, beauty shops

Opportunities:

·         Kintetsu Mall Tenants association (meets first Tuesday of every month)

·         Businesses and service organizations could expand client base to include the diversity of the neighborhood

·         The expiring uses of affordable housing around Japantown, and the opportunity to participate in the long term preservation of affordable housing.

Threats:

·         Changing demographics of the neighborhood

·         High rents and Limited Space availability makes it hard to attract a diversity of businesses

·         Fillmore District has more businesses/better mix

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Issue 2: Japantown as a regional cultural and community center

Strengths:

·         Organized Youth League Sports functions (JCCCNC gym) bring people to Japantown

·         Children's and Cultural Programs through Sokoji Temple

·         Summer Day Camp - JCYC

·         Ethnic Studies students working in community groups

·         Culture and Recreation activities/space for seniors through Kimochi & JCCCNC

Weaknesses:

·         Historically community services do not coordinate and communicate among themselves.

·         Ability of service organizations and sports leagues to be inclusive

·         Church congregations are San Francisco based

·         No performance space (kabuki doesn't count), young adults prefer live performances

·         Accessibility of resources

·         No gallery/exhibit space

·         Businesses tend not to be the kind that hire young professionals

·         Commercial Space is too expensive

·         No place to socialize and hold meetings (café's, bars on Fillmore better serve those needs)

Opportunities:

·         Expand Youth Sports League Events: Volley Ball (YBA) Bowling

·         National Organizations that are housed in Japantown serve as national draw for conferences, and to raise community's consciousness of Japantown as place of concentrated resource for community.

·         To identify other Asian allies that support the Japanese Community and Japantown organizations through shared client base, interest groups etc.

·         Creating relations with Japanese Growers (produce, flowers) to sell in Japantown as a regular Farmers Market/Street Market

·         Historical Resources a potential draw

·         Linkages with San Francisco State University, UC Berkeley, UCSF, Stanford, Catholic Health Care West, St Mary's, St. Francis

·         Planning Process as an organizing tool

·         Linkages with libraries, schools, museums - for off-site activities (films, books, art etc.) and marketing.

·         For organizations to deal with inclusion of both the multi ethnic needs of the neighborhood as well as the community

Threats:

·         If our service organizations continue to be ethnically focused, their continued funding may be threatened.

·         The expansion of services to other ethnicity's impacts on the community.

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Issue 3: Japantown as a place to share the Nikkei community's history and culture with the broader community and world.

Strengths:

·         Bookstore

·         Restaurants

·         Antique Shops

·         Historic Organizations

Weaknesses:

·         No longer a "showcase" for "innovative Japanese products

·         Loss of Consul General

·         Coordination and Visibility of historical resources

·         Japanese visitors don't come here anymore

·         We don't have anything for Japanese Tourists (What kind of tourists do we want to target?)

·         Hotels serve the overflow from Fisherman's Wharf and Downtown Hotels

Opportunity:

·         Higher income local residents

·         Jazz District

·         Asianesque Shops are popular in mainstream

·         Resource inventory of international contacts that are available to the community

Threats:

·         Lots of other tourist/family attractions in SF not located in Japantown Tea Garden, Asian Art Museum, Hard Rock Café

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Issue 4: Maintaining Japantown's "cultural authenticity"

Strengths:

·         The Bay Area has a large number of Asian artists in the country

·         San Francisco is a magnet to Asian artists

·         Martial arts, cultural arts, traditional arts (calligraphy, flower arranging, bell ringers)

·         JCCCNC Programs

Weaknesses:

·         No agreement on what authentic culture means? Pop, modern, traditional?

·         Traditional arts not relevant to young people

·         Artists not appreciated, supported, promoted

·         We don't appreciate the treasures among us

Opportunities:

·         How do we plan for an evolving culture which is inclusive of younger generations, not just as children but as community members and participants?

·         More collaboration between Asian Art Museum, SF MOMA, Asian Branch Library (Oakland), Western Addition Branch Library, and Japantown.

·         Gallery art display space functions - openings and related functions would support local businesses.

·         An Inclusive definition of "authentic culture" would broaden participation and attraction to place/sense of belonging.

Threats:

·         There are other places to go for "genuine" cultural teaching (ceramics studio in the East Bay, tea garden in Golden Gate park)

·         The concept of "Cultural Authenticity" is difficult for bi-racial people.

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Issue 5: Japantown as a thriving commercial district

Strengths:

·         Hotel and inn

·         Exhibit and convention space

·         AMC theater

·         Bowling Alley

·         Japanese Specialty Shops - Manju Shops, grocery stores, stationary/paper store bookstore, video store, bakeries,

·         Japanese Language Schools

Weaknesses:

·         Design of Japan Center - does not promote interaction with street

·         Hotel and inn, exhibit and convention space are not promoted as a convention space (used as spill over from the Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf venues)

·         Large Corporations not responsive to community

·         Non-profit services in ground floor commercial spaces

·         Not enough here to draw young adults and youth

·         Not enough Japanese specialty stores (dry goods store)

·         Quality of Japanese restaurants not good enough to draw Japanese patrons

·         Older businesses don't have the capital to “modernize”

·         Cost and availability of space

·         Not enough pedestrian traffic

Opportunities:

·         Japanese American produce/flower growers and their children want linkage with the city - create opportunity for families to sell in Japantown (farmers market)

·         National Society for Flower Arranging

·         What do people like/value about Japanese culture?

·         Asian High Tech industry and potential linkages

·         Market Hotel and Inn as convention space to bring people into the neighborhood

·         Need more stores with Japanese products.

·         Street window vendors

·         Working with Merchants Association through development of design guidelines, business analysis, and window display workshops may be a way of organizing businesses for increased Merchants Association participation

Threats:

·         Filmore Shopping District - Why do people stop in the Filmore?

·         Future of manju/grocery stores and other family owned businesses

·         Limited square footages of space available make it hard for larger more established corporations to locate here

·         Corporate management of their Japantown assets (buildings)

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B. Environment Committee SWOT Analysis on Issues

Issue 6: Physical & Social Identity-Cultural Uniqueness

Strengths:

·         Referring to the Buchanan Mall/Peace Plaza Picture in N.Y. Times (Sun. April 25th.): Japantown represents a positive image. Many cultural elements are present in the area, i.e. plum trees, the Pagoda Tower, and the modern tower on wood structures (announcing the Japan Center).

·         There is an identifiable center to Japantown —The Japan Center and the Buchanan Mall. The Mall offers a central open space for the community to gather.

·         There is a Japanese style architecture and design already present, partly in the Center and partly in the Buchanan Mall (abstracted building forms allude Japanese style).

·         The Pagoda Tower does give Japantown an identity, just as the Grant Ave. gates does for Chinatown.

·         The tori gate at the Buchanan Mall is another piece of strong identity (it used to be lit at night but now there is something wrong with the lights).

Weaknesses:

·         The Japan Center is internalized; it needs to open up for a better streetscape and Peace Plaza/Buchanan Mall connection.

·         Geary St. is a problem; it is right now a back side. The Japan Center should be more visible from Geary. At the Geary Street face of the Center, there is some visible signage but it is currently not regulated. The various retail signs could be more cohesive in design.

·         The cobblestone paving at the Buchanan Mall is not a pleasant surface to walk on…the fountains also need work (the fountain restoration work is already underway).

·         Businesses in the Buchanan Mall look rundown. There is no reason to go to the mall. The mall is an insider's kind of space right now. With some design changes (stores open up to the mall, with landscaping and lighting), it could be more of a gathering space.

·         Ficus trees on Sutter are not appropriate; their canopies are too dense and as a result, there is not enough lighting at the sidewalk/pedestrian level.

·         Cleanliness / maintenance in the Japantown area hasn't been successful. (The Merchants Association does have street/sidewalk cleaning program on a voluntary basis but need greater community participation.)

·         Need something to announce this place as Japantown.

·         Many of the existing street lights are badly damaged. The lantern style lights are hard to maintain. Property owners currently maintain them.

·         Need permanent light fixtures with a special look / design to signify Japantown. Pedestrian scale lights would be preferred over the tall cobra head lights.

Opportunities:

·         The Peace Plaza, after it is renovated, is potentially an asset. It is a gathering spot.

·         To address the issue of walled closures, the “fortress,” at the Japan Center, how about having display cases along the Japan Center walls (somewhat like a street gallery space)? (This would be appropriate especially along Post/Geary). We need to talk to Kintetsu.

·         The Buchanan Mall could be better connected to the Japan Center, i.e. carrying through similar design elements / themes (there are currently plans to carry through flowering plum trees currently found on the mall to the Peace Plaza entrance.)

·         The Merchant Association is spearheading an effort to place I.D. markers, banners, at various poles on Geary, Fillmore, Post, Buchanan and Sutter. The Association recently did a survey of the area and found approximately ( 50 poles available. Funds ((10,000 -$15,000) are already in place (merchant fees) but the design for the banners needs to be worked out.

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Issue 7: Urban Design/Neighborhood Character

Strengths:

·         Japantown does have a feeling of a neighborhood; there is a good mix of residential, commercial and institutional uses.

·         The existing community services and institutions bring people into the neighborhood. People, in turn, give the neighborhood a human scale, a neighborhood feeling. Example: people drop-off / pick-up children from facilities throughout the community and see / meet other people along the way.

·         The many neighborhood services that are present help to keep this neighborhood from being a strictly tourists’ center. And, these activities actually help tourist business because people come here to see a “neighborhood.”

Weaknesses:

·         Japantown has a run-down feeling; it is currently not inviting.

·         The Kintetsu Mall's scale is too large to deal with for an average person (it disturbs the otherwise fine-grain quality of the neighborhood).

·         When the bar (Kenzaki? Lounge) above Denny’s closed (when?), nobody comes to Japantown to hang out at night any more. (The bar used to attract a lot of Asians, not just Japanese.) Night-time activities today just consist of the Bowling Alley, the Kabuki Theater and karaoke clubs.

·         Japantown’s edges need to be addressed. The Geary/Fillmore edges are clean and clearly delineated but they are not complimentary to Japantown; it needs to relate better to J-town. Fillmore blocks J-town (it is a barrier) and J-town has its back to Geary. Laguna is an interesting edge; probably the most effective edge that draws people into Japantown. Unlike the other three sides, the northern edge to Japantown is currently not present.

·         Fillmore: A Japanese store instead of Goodwill would give that corner a good anchor and a good edge to J-town.

·         The area around the AMC theater is dirty; it is not well managed. There is a lot of panhandlers.

·         Japantown and its vicinity as existing does not have adequate outdoor recreation space, i.e. tot-lots, playgrounds, etc. (It was suggested that the consultants do a survey of existing youth, childcare agencies, etc. to find out whether there is a demand for siting such uses within the Japantown project area.)

Opportunities:

·         Street trees in the area could use more Japanese character. Horticulturalists in the past have told the community that Japanese maples would not work here due to windy conditions. Will other maple trees do? Yes...

·         We need more flowering trees, like plums.

·         A uniform street tree plan is needed. How about a plan for street trees?

·         A seasonal show of landscaping could work here in Japantown as it is done in Japan, as a way to attract visitors to the area.

·         Buchanan Mall is a perfect opportunity to do a major show of landscaping. Bamboos would also work there.

·         A Tea Garden concept, like the one in the Golden Gate Park, is a unique activity to bring into Japantown. (Someone mentioned that there used to be a tea shop a couple of blocks away, which did not survive and has since closed down.)

·         We need consistency in design, such as with exterior paint to the buildings.

·         The Buchanan Mall could be better connected to the Kintetsu Mall. By doing this, we might be able to solve the Kintetsu’s scale issue.

·         The Kinokuniya Building is trying to do something with new signage standards, especially for the Geary face. Additionally banners on Post are being considered. The Kinokuniya people plan to communicate with Kintetsu to provide some consistency in design/appearance.

·         Speaking of edges, the Kintetsu Mall needs to open up more to Geary Street (some of this is being accomplished through the Peace Plaza Project.) Additionally, the mall buildings could open up more to the Peace Plaza; a better pedestrian and visual connection is needed.

·         Pedestrian scale lighting (not the city-standard cobra head lights) could be used as a tool to define Japantown’s edges better.

·         Pedestrian walkways and bridges could also help to define Japantown’s edges. We should, for instance, pay attention to how the Fillmore covered bridge will be done.

·         At some point, management considered installing skylights inside the Japan Center but rejected the idea due to high cost.

·         For better street traffic, the stores at Buchanan Mall could open up to the street/the mall area more. In Japan, ground floor retail have better / a more direct connection to outdoor space.

·         In Japantown, at Buchanan Mall especially, we could use more sidewalk cafes (outdoor areas protected from weathering conditions).

·         We need better signage on the Webster Street median island.

·         How about kiosk type businesses at the AMC theater?

·         How about an open market concept for the Japan Center? This would bring in more foot traffic. It would be an economic driven concept where street vendors might be brought in??? (It might be difficult to screen quality street vendors. We need a tight control on such vendors.) (A retail consultant working on the Fillmore Project might be willing to do some pro-bono work for Japantown)

·         We need to look at sale figures for Japantown…(Café Hana…? Interviews with Kintetsu and Kinokuniya)

Threats:

·         The Japan Center could be looked upon as a “Castle” within the neighborhood, with a village, surrounding it. The Center is a “fortress” that has its walls to the community. How do we open up the fortress?

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Issue 8: Access Issues (Visibility, Transit, Traffic, Pedestrian)

Strengths:

·         Well served by public transit, especially on Geary, Fillmore and Sutter (3 buses on Sutter).

·         Good transit connections north-south and east-west.

·         Existing sidewalk space is somewhat adequate (average).

·         There is plentiful and inexpensive parking.

Weaknesses:

·         Crossing Geary Blvd. is a problem; the existing signal lights change too quickly, especially for seniors.

·         Post Street has serious traffic problems; delivery trucks tend to double-park there.

·         The cross-walk at Buchanan/Post is problematic; many drivers don't see the traffic light.

·         Webster Street is an impediment; it needs more form/function definition.

Opportunities:

·         Placing a surface pedestrian crossing on Geary Blvd. (where the existing pedestrian bridge is located) is supported by many, especially seniors. Safeway supports it. (Putting a pedestrian crossing/signal light at that intersection is opposed by MUNI for fear of slowing down busses.)

·         A yellow zone (a loading area) on Geary? will be put into place with the implementation of the Peace Plaza Project.

·         Street signs with Japanese character used to be here long ago; it wouldn't be bad to bring that concept back as a way to identify the Japantown core area.

·         Parking- Nihonmachi Parking Corp- Reevaluate the use of the parking areas. (Revenue of the parking currently goes to the maintenance of the Buchanan Mall)

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Issue 9: Beautification Projects in Development (Peace Plaza, Buchanan Mall)

·         The Kintetsu Corporation, in working with its tenants, has already started the interior renovation of the Japan Center to give the interior a new look. The new look will have a rock garden theme with bamboo plantings and rockscapes. This work is expected to be completed within months.

·         The Peace Plaza's in pending renovation will help open up the Japan Center to Geary. The newly renovated Peace Plaza is also expected to have more trees and spaces to gather/sit.

·         The Buchanan Mall work started 5 yrs. ago. Since it is also a fire lane, the design must accommodate fire (truck) access at all times.

Phase I — End of July/early August completion

·         Fountains

·         Once installed, the two fountain sculptures will become city property. The Arts Commission will apply weather/water resistant coating to the new bronze cast fountains.

·         The Merchant Association would still be responsible for the maintenance of the subsurface work, i.e. the mechanical parts including the pumps.

·         The renovation work will address existing problems with the pump system.

·         The renovation work currently does not address lighting of the fountains (the Buchanan Mall Committee is seriously considering this as an improvement to be done simultaneously as the fountain renovation. Additional funding is needed, however).

·         The total cost for the fountain(s) renovation, $150,000 will be paid for by the Redevelopment Agency.

Phase II — The rest of the mall will be addressed

·         Replace all the wood slats on the benches-concrete ends will be kept. (Ruth Asawa designed the concrete ends originally)

·         May also place additional benches, if evaluated as needed.

·         Will perform steamcleaning of the area.

·         Take out all unoriginal planters (contributed by various merchants)

·         In the original planters (concrete planters) to remain, install new landscaping (traditional Japanese plants?).

·         Keep existing flowering plums (new plums on Sutter being planted as a part of the Peace Plaza Project).

·         Base of the trees / tree guards will be repaired.

·         Cobble stones to be replaced around the tree wells. (The Cobble stone walkway, as a part of the original Mall Plan, designed by Rai Okamoto must remain, according to Board of Supervisors).

·         Possible, small-scale pedestrian slate bridges will be added.

·         Plaques to honor Ruth Asawa and Rai Okamoto, along with a community logo will be placed in the new Mall design.


Misc.  

·         How about walking tours to mark important landmarks? (Someone mentioned that the Miyako Hotel might have one already. The Merchants Association also has one.)

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C. Real Estate & Land Use SWOT Analysis on Issues

Issue 10: Existing Housing/Residential Use

Strengths:

·         Residential use exists directly adjacent to and within the J-town area

·         Affordable housing is available within the heart of J-town: i.e., Golden Gate Apartments — 70+ units of affordable housing

·         Good mix of different kinds of housing, i.e., Board & Care homes, HUD-sponsored housing, St. Francis Square, Sequoia, market rate housing, etc.

Weaknesses:

·         Shortage of available land for new development, - only a couple of parcels left

·         Very few Japanese-American (J-A) families live in this area, although the area is affiliated with the J-A community

·         Housing is expensive generally. This is a citywide phenomenon. It would be great to live in J-town, (as it would be great to live in the City), if housing was more affordable.

Opportunities:

·         Would like control on who goes into the housing if new housing were to be built. (People are not optimistic about having say on this.)

Threats:

·         No control who goes into the housing because of fair housing laws, Section 8 restrictions, funding requirements, etc. For example: JARF: although Japanese work on the project, can't guarantee that they would get in because of funding requirements, and other restrictions.

·         Potential loss of Section 8 Housing — i.e., Namiki Apt. (expiring use) -need to be preserved for low income, elderly, disabled, need SFRA to come up with acquisition funds.

·         Also at risk is the co-op-St. Francis Square Apt. The project will be paid off in 5-7 years. The Board is not very sensitive to Asian speaking residents, no info in their language, little participation by them. HUD needs to take action on this to ensure that this co-op stays affordable.

Other Comments and Questions:

·         Is there enough affordable housing in J-town? Does J-town need inclusionary housing?

·         Need to define “Residence”, its fit within the J-town community

·         Would housing be the best use for the vacant sites?

·         Could the J-town residential body ever be the way it was?

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Issue 11: Existing Commercial Use: Retail/Office

Strengths:

·         Restaurant are designation places that brings people into J-town, but J-town needs interesting retail to entice foot traffic.

·         Kinokuniya Book Store

·         Supermarket (Japanese food stores)

·         Hardware Store

·         Japanese stores selling Japanese wares

·         Clearly identified retail/storefronts, a clear commercial core

Weaknesses:

·         Merchant Association is not strong

·         Restaurants are ok as destination, but there are too many restaurants here, and not enough variety of other retail to entice foot traffic

·         The use of ground floor storefront space by non-retail uses (such as institutional (Kimochi) or offices) impacts the commercial core.

·         Task Force: Not getting active participation from the major commercial owners, such as Kintetsu, etc.

·         Need to provide incentive for them to participate (communications committee to discuss)

·         Currently not have the leadership (like Yuri Wada, etc.) to get people involved

·         Poor quality restaurants -(none with more than one sushi cook)

Opportunities:

·         Focal points such as the Pagoda, entice people to come here, making it look like Japan

·         Buchanan Mall is also a focal point to draw people here

·         Business people need to be the nuclei for the improvements

·         Need to entice people from Japan to come in with their businesses (since the Yonsei & Sansei are well off and many won't want to come here to start a business) Example: Entice a Japanese department store in Japan to start a American branch in J-town.

·         Still possible for entrepreneurship for Yonsei, sansei and future generations. We can and need to figure out ways to support entrepreneurship and to retain existing “good” retail that may be threatened because there are no family members left who are willing to run them.

Threats:

·         Buchanan Mall: City will only pay for fountains. The community needs to raise funds to improve the rest of the Mall area.

·         Tough to get business people to help with the improvement funding

·         “Good” retail businesses are threatened because Sansei/Yonsei (children of existing businesses) do not want to continue with the businesses, therefore, leading to change and turnover in ownership of these existing businesses, and potential loss of these businesses.

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Issue 12: Existing Institutional Use

Strengths:

·         Biggest strength of J-town today is its institutional use — defines J-town

·         Varied institutions-close to 200 non-profits, clubs, associations, etc.

·         Churches (have oldest Christian? churches here) still providing direct services

·         Forms longevity, stability of the community

Weaknesses:

·         Churches: not proactive in outreaching new members, currently mainly supported by core Nisei’s

·         Our community is shrinking. Churches need to expand their scope of services to reach a larger J-A constituents, outside this area.

·         No consistent draw for young adult population (void in the area). They hardly come back, even for the churches.

·         Not enough engagement for age 9-10 year olds.

·         Churches might need to merge to survive.

·         Not enough church participation in Task Force (reps, but no ministers on the Task Force) (What about JARF? Gary Barbaree-Pine Methodist Church, lead on the YWCA Issue)

·         We need to figure out what the draw is to bring people in

·         Need for non-performance art space-clubs, classes

·         Need for non-profit office space

·         Kimnon (Japanese Language School) and Nichibei Kai (Japanese-American Association) of the Japanese speaking community have space. There are dialoguing about collaborative efforts, but the Task Force is not part of the dialogue.

Opportunities:

·         New institutions forming to address unmet needs

·         Christ Church: multi-ethnic church now, is adapting to changing demographics in this area.

·         Churches/Religious institutions own a number of properties in J-town . They are significant stakeholders and have longevity here, how they will expand or shrink have impact on J-town.

·         Churches need an outreach strategy to sustain themselves. They might need to consolidate.

·         Environmental non-profits need space, might be able to share or consolidate space

·         Need process to identify underutilized space, existing use of space, & future opportunity so community are aware of what changes are happening in J-town. (For example, the Morning Star space was recently sold by Catholic Church, to be a private boy school, without the community's awareness.)

Threats:

·         J-A population might not be able to support our institutions in the future-need to go beyond SF population, need to expand market area, to Northern California.

·         Churches suffering from lack of participation, lack of J-A families and children in area, changes in demographics, shrinking J-A congregation, etc.

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Issue 13: Public (SFRA/City) Ownership

Weaknesses:

·         Not many public land left, all sites are already programmed for specific uses

Opportunities:

·         Work with SFRA to retain existing Section 8/affordable housing and discuss ways on how the community can have more control of who comes into the housing

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Issue 14: Absentee Ownership

Opportunities:

·         In conjunction with Japanese ownership, it is helpful to know absentee ownership - potential to influence property turn-over. (This is part of the process to identify future opportunity, if any, to have land uses compatible with “J-town vision”.

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Issue 15: Japanese Ownership

Opportunities:

·         Helpful to know J-A ownership of property, so we can outreach to them and have them notify us first if they are trying/planning to sell (Christ Church is also in this list)

·         Task force can facilitate with information-base for those looking for type of space and those sell

·         May be able to Influence title companies to help out with property and ownership profile, such as who is planning to sell, type of business/ownership, existing use or future use, etc.

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Issue 16: Development Potentials (Vacant) Land

Opportunities:

·         Land held in trust (by Churches)- Can the use be changed either by the Board. Can we influence future uses

·         Set up a community land trust to preserve use for community

·         Need to ensure properties remain as assets for the community

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D. Communications & Marketing SWOT Analysis on Issues

Issue 17: Cherry Blossom Festival

Strengths:

·         Pulls community together

·         Only event that everyone can work together on

·         Visibility: lots of people know about Japantown

·         Brings different cultures together, shows

·         Japantown is diverse and inclusive

·         Business drive the festival for the business it brings

Weaknesses:

·         Construction of the plaza this year; no place for elderly to sit

·         Music was too loud, drowned out other activities; not scheduled to avoid conflict

·         Not enough respect for different activities and groups

·         Always the same people organizing

·         Mainly for tourists and business, doesn't address JA concerns

·         Minimal involvement of non-profits

·         No communication between non- profits and business

Opportunities:

·         Place for all groups to participate

·         Could be bigger and more visible

·         Educates the outside world about Japanese culture and community

·         Participation in the Festival is a way for people to retain Japanese culture

Threats:

·         Participation/volunteerism on the decline

·         Not enough new, young people involved in the planning

·         No communication between Japanese speaking and English speaking

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Issue 18: Nihonmachi Street Fair

Strengths:

·         Addresses the concerns of the JA community

·         Some younger generation being involved in the planning

Weaknesses:

·         Businesses don't see the benefit, aren't allowed to participate

·         Not enough younger people involved in the planning

Threats:

·         Not enough support: dollars and the business sector

·         Too close in time to Fillmore St. Fair

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Issue 19: Tourism

Strengths:

·         Important for the economy of Japantown

·         Japanese speakers heavily involved in the Merchants Association

·         Karaoke and restaurants

·         Weekends have been busy lately

Weaknesses:

·         Not enough attention paid to promoting Japantown

·         Poor communication between Japanese and English speaking

·         Not enough tourism

·         Cultural attractions not accessible

·         Not enough gift stores

·         Not connections between travel industry and Japantown

·         No high class restaurants

·         No hangout place

Opportunities:

·         Tourists spend money

·         Geary St. Plan; Incorporate more signage to promote Japantown

·         Directory and brochure would help promote Japantown

·         Japantown must be on he schedule for tour bus stops

·         Need attractions for people to want to visit Japantown, like entertainment, live music food carts

Threats:

·         Merchants don't have enough infrastructure to promote Japantown

·         Tourists can't find Japantown, no signs

·         Lots of tourist attractions in S.F.

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Issue 20: Japanese speakers

Strengths:

·         Japanese speakers want to be involved, but they need more opportunity to do so

·         Two Japanese speaking newspapers, radio station, and 2 TV stations

Weaknesses:

·         No opportunity for Japanese speakers to express themselves

·         Not enough coverage in press; Japanese written parts the papers not the papers not he same coverage, but Japanese speakers want the English part

·         English speakers talk too fast, not patient enough with Japanese speakers

·         English speakers don't have a helpful attitude towards Japanese speakers

Opportunities:

·         Japanese speakers want the English parts of he Japanese papers to be translated into Japanese

·         Japanese speakers need help

·         Need focus group for Japanese speakers so they can express themselves

Threats:

·         Not enough funding for the translation

VI. DRAFT GOALS & OBJECTIVES OF THE COMMUNITY PLAN

On July 14th, the Task Force approved the draft Goals & Objectives of the Community Plan below. This will be a working document as we continue to solicit input from the community.

1. Develop Japantown as a historical center, a cultural capital and a community center for people of Japanese ancestry in America.

·         Expand and strengthen cultural institutions, i.e. churches, social groups, cultural events, etc., and the coordination of services that they provide to the community.

·         Encourage and promote location of Japanese/Asian arts, history, culture, and entertainment within Japantown.

·         Encourage and promote new businesses and investment, especially those businesses that promote products and services unique to the Japanese culture.

·         Develop a cohesive urban design vision for Japantown as a place by developing means to highlight its focal center and to better define its edges so that the place is welcoming and visually unique to its surroundings.

·         Ensure inclusiveness of the ideas and values of the community's multi-generational, multi-cultural, biracial, and bilingual or monolingual Japanese speaking members.

2. Revitalize Japantown as a thriving commercial and retail district.

·         Strengthen tourist and visitor activity within Japantown.

·         Expand and strengthen participation in existing merchants associations.

·         Develop a diverse mix of businesses to serve a broader clientele, including attracting young adults and youth.

·         Develop and implement a marketing plan to promote Japantown locally, regionally and worldwide.

·         Improve and upgrade the physical appearance of Japantown's commercial district to ensure continual financial viability of Japantown.

3. Preserve and expand Japantown as a neighborhood of residents, community-based organizations and institutions, and neighborhood services.

·         Increase the supply of housing for all segments of the community, especially seniors, while preserving existing affordable housing within and in close vicinity to the Japantown area.

·         Develop strategies and mechanisms for community control or influence of changes in land use, property and business ownership within Japantown to promote changes that would benefit the community and to ensure that changes would have positive impact on the community .

·         Encourage neighborhood serving / residential supporting businesses, i.e. laundry, bakery, professional services, coffee shops, etc.

·         Sustain, strengthen and expand existing community-based organizations and institutions, and systems of social support and services to reach a regional audience beyond Japantown.

·         Establish a community participation and implementation process for those who live, work, own properties/businesses, socialize in and concerned about Japantown.

·         Promote neighborhood safety and sense of community.

·         Promote the idea of community activism to reach out to youth and other interested community members.

VII. COMMUNITY OUTREACH

A. Outreach Strategy for Participation of Community Members

A major goal of the Japantown Planning Process is to build community, by bringing the community together to plan for the future of Japantown. To this end, the Task Force is committed to galvanizing community-wide participation and interest in this planning effort.

The Task Force, initiated by an ad hoc committee, has now expanded to include some 50 members, representing a broad segment of the Japantown community. In addition to the members who serve on the Task Force, all interested community members are encouraged to participate in the four standing committees — Communications & Marketing, Economic & Community Development, Environment, and Real Estate & Land Use. The standing committees are where the primary work related to the Community Plan is being done. The work from the committees will be brought before the Task Force as recommendations for approval and adoption. All meetings are open to the public.

1. Outreach Strategy:

In order to include as broad a community perspective as possible in the development of the New Japantown Community Plan, the Task Force has developed an outreach strategy that includes the following:

·         Identify the different segments of the Japantown community and key stakeholders for outreach.

·         Conduct focus groups discussions with different segments of the Japantown community, with special attention paid to outreaching to underrepresented members, such as youth or Japanese speakers, to inform them about the planning process, to solicit their input for the Plan, and to encourage their participation in the on-going process.

·         Conduct interviews with key stakeholders to solicit their input and encourage their participation.

·         Conduct community-wide surveys to obtain input and invite their participation.

·         Make presentations before community groups regarding the planning process, solicit their input and participation.

·         Develop and distribute outreach material community-wide to inform the community about the on-going process and to invite participation.

·         Provide information to the news media about the planning process and encourage their participation and public coverage to broaden the scope of outreach.

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2. Focus Groups Prioritization:

The Task Force has developed a list of focus groups and stakeholders that would be important to outreach to during the entire process. (See list in Attachment VII-1)

For this first six months, the Task Force has prioritized the following groups in Table VII-1 to focus our attention in outreaching and conducting focus groups, stakeholder interviews, as well as surveys. Task Force members and other community members, identified below, are working with the Japantown Planning Consultant Team in outreaching to interested focus group participants and conducting the focus group discussions.


Table VII-1. Priority Focus Group

Priority Focus Groups

Task Force Member(s) and others to help with Contacts

Japanese-speaking group

Sandy Mori, Seiko Fujimoto, Rumi Okabe

Youth and Young Adults (includes multi-racial population)

Chris Hirano, Travis Kiyota, Chris Durazo, Jon Osaki, Erika Tamura, Dana Kawaoka

Japanese- & Japanese American Business community

Tom Okazaki, Jeff Mori, Richard Wada, Mark Moriguchi

Korean-owned businesses

Min Paek, Dr. Kyo D. Lee

Religious groups (JARF)

Gary Barbaree

Residents: begin with JARF inc.

Will Tsukamoto

Art community: (all medium of art, both contemporary and traditional, including Japanese dance groups, Taiko drums, etc.)

Pam Wu

Families: Start with families in sports leagues, such as bowling, basketball, baseball.

Hiko Shimamoto, Kaz Naganuma, Kaz Maniwa

Survey visitors/tourists to Japantown: i.e., surveys given to Miyako Hotel and Miyako Inn for their hotel guests to fill out; surveys to be distributed by Japan Travel Bureau; surveys placed in the two Japantown newspapers, etc.

Klara Ma

Community-based groups (includes Japanese Historical Society, SF JACL, etc.)

Richard Wada, Steve Nakajo, Seiko Fujimoto, Chris Hirano

CANE (Committee Against Nihonmachi Eviction)

Richard Wada, Hiko Shimamoto, Mrs. Helen Jones


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B. Status of Community Outreach

Our community outreach efforts have been very successful. Increasingly, we see new participants joining our Task Force meetings. During the past two months, the Task Force has been working intensively with our Planning Consultant Team to coordinate and conduct focus groups with the different segments of the community identified in our outreach strategy. The status of the focus group meetings are further described below.

To date, the Task Force and the Japantown Planning Consultant Team have conducted 11 focus groups and group presentations and many individual interviews, outreaching to nearly 150 new participants and soliciting their input and participation in the development of the Community Plan. We will continue to hold these smaller group discussions through to the middle of August. In September, we plan to hold a community wide Town Hall meeting to solicit input and comments to the work we have done thus far. The comments and ideas from these focus group discussions and the Town Hall will be synthesized, analyzed and incorporated into the final report.

We have also been conducting surveys to the broader community and have developed a Japantown General Survey that we are distributing community-wide (see Attachment VII-2). In addition to the General Survey, we are conducting specific surveys and questionnaires targeted to tourists/visitors, students, and residents. Thus far, we have received over 200 surveys that we are in the process of inputting into our database for analysis. We will continue to distribute the surveys during the upcoming Nihonmachi Street Fair on August 7th and 8th.

In addition, we have also created a fact sheet about the Task Force and our work, and are distributing it community wide (see Attachment VII-3) Furthermore, Nichi Bei Times, one of our local newspaper organizations, has contributed space in their website for the use of the Task Force in our outreach. The website address is www.nichibeitimes.com. Information and updates about the Task Force appear on the website. We have also had several news articles written about Japantown and the Task Force (see Attachment VII-4 for some of these articles about the Task Force and the Planning effort.) We will continue to inform and outreach to the community to encourage as many members to participate during this 18-month progress.

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Status of Focus Groups Meetings:

·         Youth and Young Adults: On June 9th , the Consultant Team convened a planning meeting with Task Force members to develop a strategy for outreaching and soliciting input from youth and young adults. We have since met three other times during June and the beginning of July to plan and conduct focus groups. On July 1st and July 15th, the Youth and Young Adult planning committee conducted two focus group with young adults. Both meetings were very empowering for the participants (mostly in their twenties) because the meetings were run entirely by young adult leadership. The Consultant's role was to help coordinate, offer direction, and provide the necessary assistance (such as take notes) to the Task Force's young adult members so that they can take on the leadership in facilitating the meeting. We are planning several additional youth and young adult focus groups and have scheduled discussion sessions for July 29th and August 10th.

·         Property Owners: With the help of a property owner on the Task Force, the Consultant Team has conducted two focus groups, one held on June 24th and the second, held on July 12th. Many of the property owners who were at our focus groups were also business owners. We are also conducting stakeholder interviews, and have spoken with the property owner who owns the property where Super Koyama grocery store is located.

·         Residents: Task Force members referred us to JARF Housing, Inc. On June 15th, we gave a presentation and solicited input from residents at JARF Housing, Inc. We also made two presentations before residents at Golden Gate Apartments on July 6th and July 19th. In addition to presentations, we have developed a resident survey for residents to fill out.

·         Japanese Speaking Population: The Planning Consultants have been meeting with Task Force members to solicit input from the Japanese Speaking population. On July 6th and July 13th, the Consultants met with Task Force members to plan the focus group discussion with the local Japanese media for July 15th. Since then, we have conducted two focus groups in Japanese, one with the local Japanese media on July 15th and another with newcomers on July 19th. Both meetings were facilitated by Task Force members, with the Consultants providing notetaking services. We are also working with the churches to meet with their Japanese speaking congregation to speak with them about the Japantown planning process. Task Force members are also planning to make a presentation before the Japan Club and the Japanese Benevolent Society membership in August.

·         Community Non-Profits: With the assistance of a Task Force member of a community non-profit, the Consultant Team developed a questionnaire that Task Force members will be asked to bring to organizations that they are affiliated with and to follow up on. The questionnaire has been sent to two other non-profit representatives for editing. Consultants will be meeting with Newcomer service provider to see if the underlying assumptions in the questionnaire are relevant before translating it into Japanese.

·         Small Businesses: The Consultant Team met with Task Force members to develop a strategy to solicit input from merchants and business people. We are working to pull together several focus groups of businesses: a Japanese business owners’ focus group, a focus group of businesses that provide Professional Services, a Sansei business owner's focus group, and a Korean business owners focus group.

·         Tourist/Visitors: The Planning Consultant Team and their interns have been conducting surveys of tourists and visitors out in the Japantown community for the past consecutive two weeks, during the weekends and weekdays, asking tourists and visitors we see on the street and in the mall to fill out the surveys. We are in the process of collecting the surveys and inputting them for analysis.

·         Churches and Religious Institutions: In June and July, the Consultant Team did intensive outreach to the religious community. The Consultant Team conducted personal interviews with several religious ministers and leaders, including Rev. Lloyd Wake, Rev. Gary Barbaree, and Professor Ron Nakasone, a specialist on Buddhism who is consulting with JARF. On July 8th, the Consultants conducted a focus group with JARF leaders (Japanese American Religious Federation). On July 12th, one of our consultant team members was invited to the JARF picnic and conducted additional interviews. The JARF leaders are very engaged with the process and are interested in serving on the Task Force.

·         Families: Nihonmachi Little Friends is in the process of doing strategic planning and meeting to outreach families in the community. The Consultants have approached members of the Board of Little Friends to talk to them about how the two processes can be combined. They are also working with members of the Task Force to convene a focus group of families with older children.

·         Arts and Culture: The Consultants were hoping to work with the Asian Pacific Islander Arts Community Development Initiative in identifying the needs of the arts community, and attended two of the commission public meetings to review the findings of their study. Due to the low number of responses from Japanese/Japanese American artists, they will be meeting with Judy Nihei, Art Commission consultant (and now a consultant staff for the Task Force) to help identify issues for the arts focus groups that build on the existing information collected through the commission study. The Consultants are also working with a Task Force member to help identify the traditional arts groups and Japanese speaking contemporary artists.

VIII. NEXT STEPS

As documented above, we have made great progress during these first five months to develop a New Japantown Community Plan by the end of August of next year. The Task Force is confident that we will accomplish the remaining scope of services outlined in our first six-month contract with the SFRA. Over the next month (August), our Planning Consultants will summarize the data collected from the focus group discussions, and present key findings from the overall needs and assets assessment during this first phase. We will also be preparing for a Town Hall meeting to present the data and key findings in September.

We would like to maintain our current momentum in this planning effort with a continuation of the funding for the second phase, starting in September 1999. The Task Force is currently developing the scope of services for the second phase, and will be sitting down with SFRA staff to discuss and negotiate the details. Again, we appreciate the support from the City and the SFRA for our efforts to develop a New Japantown Community Plan that will preserve and enhance our community for future generations to come.