Access to quality design is a fundamental right. We provide volunteer opportunities for designers and allied professionals to serve our local non-profits, small businesses, neighborhoods and governments to create a thriving built environment.

Design Activist House Party


Thu, April 26, 2018

6:00 PM – 8:30 PM PDT


BIG Oakland

351 15th Street

Oakland, CA 94612

Help celebrate the growth of the public interest design movement with a triple launch party to build community inside and outside the design professions. This is no mere toy car launched into space, this is:

  • The launch of the DJDS Concept Development Fund, which will seed the development of buildings that address the root causes of mass incarceration and support low income communities of color.
  • Open Architecture Collaborative’s Pathways to Equity program, which will train young designers on a path to equitable community engaged design practice. We will announce that the national pilot will take place in the Bay Area.
  • ADPSR’s social media membership model, which is bringing outreach and advocacy to architects, designers, and planners around the world
  • SFNOMA will reveal its Triple-E 2018 Policy that wraps its arms around the Whitney M Young and Max Bond legacies. Whitney called for Architects to address the needs of the least and Max responded with the successful Architects Renewal Committee of Harlem. We continue to build on strong foundation. SFNOMA is Education and Expertise Embedded into holistic community planning and environment design.


Join the members and leaders of these outstanding organizations to share our successes, be honest about our failures, and open with challenges as we continue to transform our profession into one that stewards equity in the built environment.

  • Learn about amazing projects and programs
  • Meet other socially-committed designers
  • Share your ideas
  • Light refreshments and drinks will be provided

SF People

Welcome! Since 2007 this merry band of volunteer designers has been cultivating relationships, facilitating, advocating and designing with our neighbors in the Bay Area. Together we provide opportunities for those in the design professions to learn vital community engagement skills and professional experience through delivering real projects with people working to improve the lives of Bay Area communities.

“In 2016 we have engaged over a half dozen projects, programs, and events throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, helping communities, municipalities, and nonprofit partners utilize design to improve their spaces and unlock equity in their modes of operation.”

  • 880 Volunteer Signups
  • 2 Active Projects
  • 6 Local Directors 


The San Pablo Area Revitalization Collaborative (SPARC)’s Blight/Community Workgroup </strong> is a diverse group of residents in West Oakland to implementing creative, design build-projects to address blight along the San Pablo Avenue Corridor. On August 1st, 2015, EBALDC and SPARC hosting a Design Dash charrette event to work with neighborhood residents to design and produce 

feasible proposals for low-cost, creative placemaking interventions at the historic California Hotel. Several members of AFHSF co-facilitated the charrette process and helped create vision boards for projects that were subsequently voted on by West Oakland residents and implemented later in the year.

“[AFH-SF gets] glowing reviews on having a quality network for exactly the kind of volunteer I need. It was fantastic. You made this event happen.” -Annie Ledbury, EBALDC Rose Fellow

Civic Design Lab

The City of Oakland is transforming a space on the 9th floor of the city hall tower into a Civic Design Lab. This space will gather staff to rethink how they can deliver government services. Our chapter volunteers are helping them scope the project, provide design and eventually installation at the beginning fo 2016.


Burrows Street in San Francisco’s Portola neighborhood terminates at an easement to the 101 freeway, and over the years had become a neglected dumping ground and site of illicit activity. OASF and the City of San Francisco worked with the Portola Neighborhood Association and community volunteer groups to design a robust pocket park including plantings, seating, and decorative surfaces that have catalyzed the opening of new shops, new life, and a new hub of activity for the neighborhood.

“I find this is a magnet, on my way up to Maclaren to come grab a cup of coffee, maybe sit, enjoy the pocket park and then go about my business” -May Wong, Portola resident

  • $150,000 Investment from the city of San Francisco
  • 4 City and County departments we needed to pull permits from


The Thornton Pocket Park in the Portola Neighborhood is the second of a series of public spaces anchoring San Bruno Avenue as the heart of the neighborhood. Coming off the success of the Burrows Pocket Park a few blocks away, the Thornton Pocket Park will add to an envisioned greenway linking the Portola Neighborhood to Bernal Heights and the rest of San Francisco. 

Spearheaded by the the Portola Neighborhood Association, PNA, the project will involve the collaboration of several local and city organizations such OASF, Youth Art Exchange, SFMTA and DPW, as well as a close relationship with local residents and businesses such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


In an effort to both raise and compete for funding, the West Oakland Health Center partnered with the SF Chapter to create a proposal for a new clinic. The resulting feasibility study documents this collaboration and resulting design scheme for the site located at 700 Adeline Street in Oakland, California.


Maria Williford led an event for Architecture in the City focused on the issue of resiliency. The mission of the event was to bridge critical gaps that are intensified by disaster situations through a whole systems design approach and to inspire a view of potential disasters as harbingers of transformation.

  • 15 Local artists who submitted pieces, expressing ideas of resiliency
  • 10 Local businesses featured in a gallery opening
  • 1New Job for Maria Williford from her organizing capacity of the event!

Excelsior Library

This local branch library desired a little more color and character to the exterior of it’s structure. We helped facilitate the design of benches and planter as well as advised on a community art installation. We then served as the project managers for the build and installation of the bench planters.