The future of Japantown could be in jeopardy, and community organizers are stepping in to save one of the city's most treasured neighborhoods.
In an effort to boost the neighborhood's economic stability, the Japantown Organizing Committee has created the Japantown Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy (JCHESS). The committee submitted its initial proposal to strengthen the area's cultural heritage and economic vitality last week.
The San Francisco Planning Department explained the goals of the project in a statement:
The Japantown Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy is about developing the vision for this neighborhood, focusing on economic development, preserving and enhancing the historic and cultural uses and buildings and making physical improvements within the project area. It represents a collaborative effort between the Planning Department, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and the Japantown community.
The current document builds upon several previous efforts to revive the community, including a 2001 California grant and a 2009 draft that included street improvement, pedestrian paths and transportation routes.
Over the next few months, JCHESS will revise and edit the proposal before presenting it to the Planning and Historic Preservation Commissions in June.
Between the udon and the hot springs, there is so much to explore in this small cultural pocket. We rounded up some of our personal favorite Japantown hangouts. Check out our selections below.