This week we focused our efforts on the database portion of our final deliverable. This includes a list of upcoming retail developments in the Tenderloin area which will impact the community. We arrived at the Tenderloin area with a list of 12 known projects and we spent a couple hours walking around the area observing the sites. We took notes on the surrounding businesses and area also to see what needs and services are already offered and what this retail development might contribute to the community.
What We Observed and Learned
While walking to and surveying all 12 of the developments in our database, we took pictures and notes on their surroundings. Some of our notes confirmed what we already knew - for instance, that there are many deli’s/corner stores with a limited selection of food within the Tenderloin. One surprising finding, however, was the vast number of private hotels in the neighborhood. We did find that most spots for proposed developments had at least 1 or 2 restaurants within a one block radius or less. Going into our fieldwork, we expected most of the developments to be either empty lots or in early stages of construction. We were surprised to find that many of the sites had existing ground floor retail - some restaurants and some small shops. We are unsure whether these businesses will remain or be completely displaced when it comes time to build the new developments. Whether retail spaces were already occupied or not, in general it was important to get a sense of which developments in our database are planned to be housing (apartments) above potential retail space or retail space in itself and whether the existing businesses can remain / should be preserved.
In general, it was interesting to find a variety of retail businesses (excluding any kind of large grocery store) and it was inspiring to see the work of TNDC in action (e.g. fruits & vegetables occupying shelves in corner stores). It seems, however that there needs to be more because although there’s a salon or laundry mat, community center or deli here and there there is certainly a lack in numbers throughout the neighborhood (especially for those for whom it’s not as easy to walk a few blocks). It seems perhaps that in addition to looking to other models throughout different parts of the city and other cities it might just be important to expand the positive types of developments already existing in the TL and increase their numbers.
Critical Analysis / Moving Forward
We were unable to meet with our community partners during our visit to the Tenderloin today since it was not during the work week, but we have delivered the parking permit and will have a call with Lorenzo and Ryan early next week, once we’ve had more time to discuss our visit today amongst ourselves.
At this point, we have completed most, if not all, of our field research and will work to use the data we have collected and been provided with by our community partners or the developers to completeour project. The next step is to create a map with the information collected on the new developements in the Tenderloin. Once we have this, combined with our notes on existing retail from today’s visit, we will be able to identify which types of businesses are lacking new these new developments and with form our recommendations for specific spaces from there.