The Daily Californian Online

UC Berkeley Extension Joins Effort to Green San Francisco's Civic Center

By Arielle Turner
Contributing Writer
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Category: News > University > Academics and Administration

The UC Berkeley Extension has partnered with the city of San Francisco to implement almost $20 million in improvements to the city's Civic Center.

The partnership was announced on Feb. 19 by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Diana Wu, dean of UC Berkeley Extension.

"The mayor is committed to transforming the Civic Center into a sustainable urban environment," said Pat Rose, a spokesperson for the extension program.

Collaboration talks between the city and the extension program began in November. The extension program provided one graduate and five current students from its sustainable design program to work as interns on the project's planning and development.

"We believe that combination of a post-professional group of students and a small program is a beneficial partner to us," said Astrid Haryati, who is the city's greening director and manages the project. "(The interns) have been excellent and instrumental in the success of every effort that we've put in."

Although it is still in its planning stages, Haryati said she estimates the project will take at least three years to complete.

The city is working with the Clinton Global Initiative, which supports organizations in finding practical solutions to global problems, to finance the project.

"The main project of sustainability now is controlling CO2," said Michael Sammet, director of UC Berkeley Extension's sustainable design program. "As part of the Global Initiative, that's what they're trying to do."

The project will reduce the Civic Center's carbon footprint, water use and electricity use while generating clean energy through solar panels.

"There's plenty of those resources that are not harvested as we speak," Haryati said.

The project also involves installing plants, solar panels and wind turbines in the plaza.

"A lot of improvements are envisioned for the place, to make sure (it's) becoming a more vibrant place ... of global education and as kind of an incubator to sustainable concepts so we can demonstrate all the green strategies," Haryati said.

In addition to providing interns, the extension program plans to incorporate the project into its curriculum.

"We're using that project at the Civic Center as a case study for some of our classes," Sammet said.

Article Link: