A GBD is a new form of neighborhood-based special assessment district that is designed to facilitate community investment in neighborhood public spaces, such as enhanced maintenance and development of parks (both formal and informal), open spaces, and green infrastructure within their boundaries. The GBD’s services, activities, and improvements are provided in addition to those already provided by the City, and not meant to replace them. GBDs are similar to CBDs, and they are authorized under the same state legal frameworks. Article 15A of the San Francisco Business and Tax Regulations Code specifically outlines the process for creating GBDs, or “Public Realm Landscaping, Improvement and Maintenance Assessment Districts”.
The non-profit organization Build Public is currently working with stakeholders in the city’s Dogpatch and Northwest Potrero Hill neighborhoods to launch California’s first-ever GBD. The District will be managed by an independent, non-profit corporation governed by an elected board of directors that represent assessed property owners and community stakeholders. Just as in the CBD model, the GBD’s work will be guided by a Management Plan that clearly defines the scope and spending authority of the organization. The current GBD initiative in Dogpatch and Northwest Potrero Hill aims to:
- Create a new funding source for improved maintenance of neighborhood parks, plazas, parklets, streetscape and sidewalks, gardens and green spaces.
- Envision and support small capital improvements to enhance existing green spaces and add new ones.
- Build neighborhood capacity to create new open spaces and advocate for better neighborhood parks and services.
- Create a new model of “open-source” neighborhood-level governance (through the owners’ non- profit corporation) by providing state-of-the-art citizen engagement technology and an accessible and transparent management framework.
- Actively engage the community with the use of online tools that allow citizens to track the GBD’s performance and finances, participate in decision-making and fiscal management, and “crowd-source” new capital project ideas.
The GBD has the potential to support innovative new public spaces, such as the proposed Dogpatch Arts Plaza. This plaza would transform a dead-end at 19th Street just west of Indiana Street into a new, art-focused public plaza that melds the neighborhood’s industrial heritage with the creative spirit of the famous Burning Man festival.
Primary Model Type
Special Assessment Districts
San Francisco, CA
Cost to set-up: $$$$
Manager resource level: $$$$$