Freedom West Homes is one of the largest and oldest cooperatives in the Western U.S. Started in the late 1960’s by Reverend AJ Hall of Bethel AME Church, it was a direct response to the destruction caused by the city of San Francisco’s urban renewal process with the goal of providing home ownership in the rapidly changing city.
We worked extensively with Legacy First Partners, the board of Freedom West Homes, and MacFarlane Partners during the early days of the Freedom West Homes project. These partnerships ensured that the guiding principles of the project and goals for the development were communicated early and often with the cooperative shareholders. We hosted visioning sessions to discuss the community’s goal in detail, and to collaboratively craft a plan to represent their answers on a design and masterplan. The board visited a representative project to ensure their project would deliver on the quality of new residential spaces for the shareholders. With the onset of the pandemic, there were weekly meetings with key team members to discuss issues related to the project, as well as seven-to-eight townhall sessions for shareholders to voice their concerns and to ask questions.
Freedom West Homes marks a turning point for the city of San Francisco. We committed to the project’s goal of creating equity through design agency. With a commitment to elevate the human experience through design, we made a pledge to partner with local design firms that are certified small businesses and minority-owned. As a response to the city of San Francisco’s call to maintain equity as the bottom line for Freedom West homes, the design team believes that the project can only be an accurate reflection of equality if the team reflects a diverse group of minds. The Freedom West team is committed to embody the project itself – a monumental stride to reflect the community, uplift its members, and promote a thriving society for all citizens alike.