City Design

Citywide Planning

Good urban design is characterized by the thoughtful orchestration of buildings, landscape, open space, and streets. While planning processes organize and regulate what uses and structures arrive in San Francisco, design process orchestrates how they feel and work together. The Planning Department’s City Design team, which consists of urban designers, architects, landscape architects, and streetscape designers, does this work in four ways: 

  1. Developing proposals for how buildings, transit, open space, and uses fit together into a neighborhood;

  2. Creating design policy that works across the city to harmonize new projects with the city’s fabric;

  3. Identifying opportunities and convening partnerships to create great parks, plazas, and sidewalks; and

  4. Performing the architectural review of private projects seeking permits or entitlement. ​​​​​


  • For community members interested in how they can transform underused space in their neighborhoods see: Groundplay 
  • For homeowners or architects looking to better understand the design review process or design guidelines see: Design Review 
  • For examples of how urban design works to improve the public environment in large projects and neighborhoods see: Major Development Projects and Public Space 


Jeremy Shaw
Principal Planner