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  • San Francisco’s City Center: a Forum on the Future – Session 2

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    San Francisco’s City Center: a Forum on the Future – Session 2

    Thursday, May 13, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm PDT

    Please join us for a digital forum regarding the future of San Francisco’s city center, hosted by the San Francisco Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIASF) and the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

    The impacts of COVID and socio-economic disruption have dramatically altered San Francisco’s city center. Office vacancy is at record levels, retail tenants are struggling, and public spaces are underutilized. This two-part forum will focus on the social, physical, and economic future of this important regional hub. An exciting group of panelists will share ideas to build upon the innovative response’s we saw during the pandemic and to define the next chapter of San Francisco’s city center.

    Registration for Session 2 is open at the bottom of this page.



    Session 1: Thursday, April 29, 1-2:30pm
    Session 2: Thursday, May 13, 11am-12:30pm


    About the Speakers

    Session 2 Speakers:

    Mike Grisso | Kilroy Realty Corporation

    Mike Grisso is a Senior Vice President at Kilroy Realty Corporation (KRC), a developer and operator of high-quality commercial properties on the West Coast for more than 65 years. Mike has nearly 20 years of real estate development experience and leads KRC’s planning and entitlement efforts in San Francisco. Prior to joining KRC in 2014, Mike was a Senior Project Manager at the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (SFRA) and its successor, the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure (OCII). At SFRA and OCII, he led the planning and implementation of the Transbay Redevelopment Project, which involved serving as the lead negotiator on a variety of complex real estate and public/private development transactions, including more than $400 million in land dispositions.

    Rich Hillis | SF Planning Department

    Rich Hillis was appointed Director of the San Francisco Planning Department by Mayor London Breed in March 2020.  Prior to his appointment as Planning Director, Rich was Director of the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture and served on the San Francisco Planning Commission from 2012 to 2019.


    Melinda Yee Franklin | JP Morgan Chase

    Melinda Yee Franklin is a thought leader and strategist with a sustained track record of successfully enhancing corporate reputation to generate sales revenue and drive business development. She has cultivated a global network of high level corporate, government, non-profit, and civic leaders which enables her to execute on business initiatives. Through her various leadership roles, she has demonstrated strong expertise in Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG), risk and crisis management, public policy, strategic development, and international affairs.

    Session 2 Hosts

    Jon Beutler | CARB

    John David Beutler, AICP, has been an urban designer and planner at the intersection of urbanism, land use, and transportation for the last 20 years and is currently at the California Air Resources Board. John’s work has focused on the importance of human scale and human-centric design in addressing issues of sustainability and equity. He works at scales from the building to the street, neighborhood, city and region.

    Peter Kindel, AIA | SOM, AIASF Urban Design + Infrastructure Committee

    Peter J. Kindel is the Director of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s (SOM) urban design practice for western North America. He is a California-based architect and urbanist focused on the design of cities and their complementary relationship to transportation and environmental systems. Peter is a leader of SOM’s City Design Practice, a global design collaborative focused on issues of urbanization. His projects include large-scale mixed-use development, new communities, urban infill, academic campuses, transit-oriented communities, public infrastructure and the restoration of ecological systems.

    Georgia Sarkin | SmithGroup, AIASF Urban Design + Infrastructure Committee

    Georgia Sarkin is an architect, urban planner & designer committed to the advancement of equitable, resilient and connected cities. In her role as Principal and lead urban designer and planner at SmithGroup, she leads interdisciplinary urban projects including mixed use, civic, residential, academic, master planning, campus planning, infrastructure and the public realm. She has led complex, large scale public and private sector urban developments around the globe. Recent work includes reimaging the San Francisco Federal Plaza, a civic center master plan for Santa Clara, and a mixed-use development in San Francisco. Georgia has taught at Harvard Graduate School of Design as Design Critic in Urban Design & Columbia University, New York, as Associate Professor in Urban Planning. She received her Master of Architecture in Urban Design with distinction from Harvard University GSD. Her work has received numerous design awards.

    Session 2 Moderator

    Rodney Fong | SF Chamber of Commerce

    Rodney Fong is the President & CEO at the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. He formerly served as co-chair of San Francisco’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force, President for both the San Francisco Planning Commission and Port Commission, Chair of the SF Travel Association and on boards including the SF-Marin Food Bank and Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District.

    Session 1 Speakers:
    Matthew Ajiake | SF African American Chamber of Commerce
    Joo Cho | Skidmore Owings &Merrill
    Robbie Silver | Downtown SF Community Benefit District
    Jonathan Shum | Related California

    Hosts: Jon Beutler CARB + Peter Kindel SOM | AIASF Urban Design + Infrastructure Committee
    Moderator: Georgia Sarkin SmithGroup | AIASF Urban Design + Infrastructure Committee


    Image credit: Eric Fischer


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    Thursday, May 13, 2021
    11:00 am - 12:30 pm PDT
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    AIA San Francisco
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