Public Policy and Advocacy


The mission of the AIASF Public Policy & Advocacy Committee (PPAC) is to strengthen the constituency for progressive design in the Bay Area through direct engagement with neighborhood, advocacy, political, regulatory and legislative bodies. More broadly, PPAC seeks to effect positive change through education and action related to urban issues impacting the architecture profession and our communities. We meet with the Director of Planning as well as Supervisors to develop legislation and process improvements, and have developed a relationship with the Building Department in the past year to develop a more efficient process.


Over the years, AIASF has supported public policy and advocacy work in many forms, including PPAC, which evolved out of long-standing concerns of AIASF members. The focus was SF Planning Department policies and design review procedures.  During 2015 -2016, AIASF established a joint Working Group with SF Planning that included a small cohort of activist architects committed to meeting every two months with the City of San Francisco Director of Current Planning and other staff. These series of discussions addressed residential design review, historic review procedures, and urban design guidelines.

In 2016-2017, this small group expanded its membership and focus with the creation of the Steering Committee of the newly founded AIASF Public Policy + Advocacy Committee (PPAC).  This group continued to work with the Planning Department while also developing a Strategic Plan for its second year focused on Short- and Long-Range Advocacy programming.  (In addition, a separate, non-AIASF sponsored advocacy organization, Design Advocacy Group (DAG_SF) was established and issued a series of Opinion Papers).  PPAC also worked and continues to work closely with the AIASF Small Firms Group, reporting back regularly.

In 2017-2018, the PPAC Steering Committee expanded, initiating programming.  Half of the year’s PPAC meetings were devoted to SF Planning Department issues in discussion with Planning staff.  This agenda included Historic Review Procedures, Residential Design Review Procedures, and an upcoming Residential Design Guidelines review.  The remainder of our meetings focused on short- and long-range advocacy programming.


The establishment of more formal lines of communication between AIASF and SF Planning has built a strong basis from which to advocate for change. The first year and a half of our work was marked by open, respectful, but at times vocal and contentious debate about the rate of, and format for meaningful change.  Despite significant agreement about the problems with the then current residential design review and Residential Design Team, instituting change appeared elusive at times.

By spring 2017, staff changes improved design procedures, and significant progress towards our goals came quickly.  This includes a major reorganization of both the former RDT staffing as well as revised procedures before, during, and after Planning Department review.  Based on this success, the deepening the relationship between SF Planning and AIASF grew, and continues to evolve. Hallmarks of this work include Residential Design Guidelines revisions of Spring, 2018.


First Wednesday of each month, 4:00 - 6:00 PM

Committee Chairs

Christopher Roach, AIA
Studio VARA

Vivian Dwyer, Assoc. AIA
Paulett Taggart Architects
Past Chair


Maura Abernathy, Studio VARA

Joshua Aidlin, Aidlin Darling Design (Emeritus)

Karen Curtiss, Red Dot Studio

Vivian Dwyer, Dywer Design (Chair)

David Gast, AIA, Gast Architects

Hulett Jones, AIA, jones | haydu

Peter Larsen, Aidlin Darling Design

Ross Levy, AIA, Levy Art + Architecture (Past Chair)

John Maniscalco, AIA, John Maniscalco Architecture

Luke Ogrydziak, AIA, Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects

Karin Payson, AIA, Karin Payson architecture + design (Co-Chair)

Michael Robbins, AIA, Studio Robbins Cortina

Neal J.Z. Schwartz, AIA, Schwartz and Architecture (Past Chair)

Jim Zack, AIA, Zack de Vito

Stacy Williams, AIASF Executive Director

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