Japantown Cultural District’s Zoom Focus Group Talk on ‘How to Transform Post-COVID-19’

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Japantown Cultural District made the following announcement regarding a meeting that will be held via Zoom on Friday, May 15, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

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We hope that you are all staying strong, safe, and healthy during these unprecedented times. This “new normal” caused by COVID-19 is causing us to all shift the way that we interact with our communities, and our world. Many of us may be reimagining and restructuring our lives to adapt to the uncertain future. In a way, it seems to be a time to reflect, and re-evaluate what has been working, what has not, as well as how we want to reimagine our future.

At the Japantown Cultural District, we were fortunate to have completed two town hall meetings and six focus groups before the shelter-in-place order. The time afterwards has been dedicated to synthesizing all of the community input into the writing of the CHHESS (Cultural History, Housing, and Economic Sustainability Strategy) report.

We now have our initial top strategies for Japantown, and are also adjusting our strategies to reflect the current reality. Due to all of the changes, we have adjusted our date to publicly post the draft CHHESS report on our website to Friday, May 22.

To reflect the current reality, and upon the approval of the department, we have also developed the seventh Key Area: Regenerative, Sustainable, Resilient Futures. Essentially, we have moved “Environmental Resilience” from the Key Area “Land Use” so that it could stand as its own Key Area.

The evolving definition is: “To support movements toward culturally, environmentally, economically, and socially regenerative communities that will be culturally, environmentally, economically, and socially resilient to health, energy, resource, economic, and climate-related disasters, while promoting the holistic wellbeing of the Cultural Districts.”

At this focus group, we will exchange ideas and gain your input regarding this Key Area, and how to sustain Japantown into the future. Please join us on Zoom! We have a precious opportunity to voice our common vision, be heard, and actualize it through the CHHESS plan for Japantown.

What do you envision the future of Japantown to look like?

We have a precious opportunity to exchange ideas so that we can collectively determine our next steps for implementation toward the bigger vision for Japantown. Whether you were able to attend the previous focus groups or not, this focus group will allow us to take a deeper dive into the most prominent challenges and opportunities in the Japantown Cultural District.

Topics to think about before the focus group:

1. What are some lessons learned from COVID-19 (that can be helpful to Japantown)?

2. In what ways can we (Japantown) transform, post-COVID-19 to become more resilient to future crises?

3. What role does Japantown play in mitigating the exacerbation of global crises that will impact us?

4. What does a regenerative and sustainable future for Japantown look like to you?

The Japantown Cultural District is a community-wide program to collectively envision and develop strategies to sustain Japantown into the future. It is a formalized collaborative partnership between the Japantown Task Force and the City and County of San Francisco to stabilize this historic neighborhood that is at risk of displacement and gentrification.

This year 2020, the Japantown Cultural District Team will synthesize all of the community’s input to develop the CHHESS report. The CHHESS will be submitted to the Board of Supervisors in late summer of 2020, and will focus on implementable and prioritized action items. Your ideas are a key component for synthesizing this CHHESS strategy! Learn more here.

The CHHESS will address seven key areas:

  1. Arts and Culture
  2. Land Use
  3. Cultural Heritage Conservation and Sustainability
  4. Economic and Workforce Development
  5. Tenant Protections
  6. Cultural Competency
  7. Regenerative, Sustainable, Resilient Futures

Your input is extremely valuable! All are welcome! RSVP here on Facebook or Eventbrite page.

S.F. Japantown Cultural District’s vision is that “San Francisco Japantown will thrive as a culturally rich, authentic, and economically vibrant neighborhood that will serve as the cultural heart of Japanese and Japanese American communities for generations to come.”

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