San Francisco Eastern Neighborhood Rezoning and Area Plans Environmental Impact Report

Authors: San Francisco Department of Public Health

Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Many parts of the Eastern Neighborhoods are already under served and the lower income, family-oriented households of these neighborhoods…have a need for services—transit, parks, child care, library services, and other community facilities

Completion Date: June 2007

HIA Report: San Francisco Eastern Neighborhood Rezoning and Area Plans Environmental Impact Report

Summary of the HIA

Proposed Policy or Project

The Eastern Neighborhoods Community Health Impact Assessment (ENCHIA) was developed to act on growing scientific understanding that optimal health cannot be achieved by improving health services or individual behavior change alone. Advancing healthful neighborhood conditions such as: adequate housing; access to public transit, schools, parks, and public spaces; safe routes for pedestrians and bicyclists; productive employment; unpolluted environments, and civil participation was the overarching goal of this project.

Background and Policy Context

ENCHIA was an 18-month process convened to assess the health benefits and burdens of development in several San Francisco neighborhoods, including the Mission, South of Market, and Potrero Hill. Convened and facilitated by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), ENCHIA was guided by a multi-stakeholder Community Council of over 20 diverse organizations whose interests were affected by development. Members of the Council represented a number of broad interests, including community planning and design, economic and neighborhood development, environmental justice, homelessness, open space, housing, transportation, bicycle advocacy, low-wage and union workers, food systems, child care and childhood development, non-profit and private developers, property-owners, architects and small businesses.

Scope and Methods

The ENCHIA planning committee sustained dialogue in a Community Council structure using collaborative, consensus-based decision-making methods; the Council was to determine the content and focus of the HIA; while the SFDPH’s role was to guide and staff the assessment process, gather data, conduct research, and produce group products; all products to be reviewed, critiqued, and amended based on Council deliberation. The Project goals were to:

  1. Collectively identify and analyze the likely impacts of land use plans and zoning controls on community concerns, including housing, jobs and public infrastructure;
  2. Provide recommendations for land use policies and zoning controls that promoted community priorities;
  3. Promote meaningful public involvement and consensus in land use policy-making;
  4. Develop capacity for inter-agency working relationships; and
  5. Illustrate the feasibility of HIA methods

Expected products include:

  • Consensus positions on the health resources needed from the Eastern Neighborhoods planning;
  • Recommendations for land use controls, policies, and design strategies to promote and protect health through planning and zoning;
  • Monitoring indicators to track long-term progress toward healthy development.

Summary of Findings

The ENCHIA process was successful in a number of significant ways. It broadened participant understanding of how development affects health, built new relationships among participants, and created a practical tool for evaluating land use plans and projects. ENCHIA also showed that a government-led public process could sustain diverse participation, employ consensus techniques, and shift participant focus from problems to solutions.

Decisions/Actions following the release of the HIA

The Eastern Neighborhoods Area Plans and rezoning have been adopted by the Board of Supervisors and signed by the Mayor. They will be effective January 19, 2009.

Products Produced

Public Meeting/testimony: 

Background Reports