News January 11, 2019

Planning Department Internships Summer 2019

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Note: this program has expired.

Applications for City and County of San Francisco jobs
are only accepted online.
Application Deadline: Friday, February 15, 2019 at 5PM PST
For questions about the Internship Program, please email:

The San Francisco Planning Department is currently looking for fourteen (14) bright and enthusiastic interns to work full-time with staff on a variety of planning projects this summer (June 3, 2019 thru Aug. 23, 2019). This will be a rewarding and valuable experience for those interested in the planning field and desire introductory work experience or college credit. Interns will conduct research, collect and analyze data, and prepare draft documents for planning work related to affordable housing, historic preservation, cultural and archeological resources, environmental planning, transportation, urban design, and many more.

Be sure to clearly indicate your preference for which project(s) in which you would like to participate and complete your statement of interest in the Supplemental Questionnaire portion of the Application.


Citywide Survey Interns (2 Positions)

The San Francisco Citywide Historic Resource Survey is a multiyear effort. It is a high priority project for the Planning Department as the survey will identify and evaluate buildings, sites, and objects for eligibility for listing on the National or California Registers. Benefits of the survey include great certainty for stakeholders regarding the historic status of a property; provides a vital component of emergency planning and disaster-relief; informs the City’s Landmark Designation Program; and streamline the Department’s California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review procedures. This internship entails research, fieldwork, and outreach. Two interns will provide background research and support for field work phase of this survey. Interns will also assist in developing and implementing survey outreach. The ideal candidates should be a recent graduate of Master’s Program with historic preservation, history, or related fields, and possess strong organization, writing, and research skills. Experience conducting historic resource surveys preferred.

Women’s Rights Historic Context Statement Intern

The Women’s Rights context is a key theme in the Department’s San Francisco Citywide Historic & Cultural Context Statement. It will build on the momentum created by the recently adopted cultural- and ethnic-focused contexts associated with Filipino, Japanese, and LGBTQ communities, as well as in-progress contexts associated with the Latino and African-American communities in San Francisco. The Women’s Rights Historic Context Statement will address an important aspect of the City’s social and ethnic history and identify thematic evaluative frameworks for identification and evaluation of properties (buildings, sites, objects, as well as intangible resources) relating to women’s rights in San Francisco. Building upon existing studies, the intern will be responsible for conducting archival research, windshield surveys, oral histories, and outreach to stakeholders from diverse communities to develop the context statement. The ideal candidate should be a recent graduate of a Master’s Program in historic preservation/heritage conservation, history, women’s/gender/sexuality studies, or related fields. Excellent organization, writing, and research skills, including oral history interviews, are essential. A willingness to learn about historic preservation practice and concepts (previous experience in historic preservation or writing historic context statements is not required).

PDR Implementation Guidelines Intern

Production, Distribution, and Repair, commonly known as PDR refers to the very wide activities that traditionally occur within industrially-zoned areas.This internship will focus on the study and development of a set of guidelines for PDR spaces. PDR businesses and workers prepare our food and print our books; produce the sounds and images for our movies; take people to the airport; arrange flowers and set theatrical stages; build houses and offices; and pick up our mail and garbage. PDR includes arts activities, performance spaces, furniture wholesaling, and design activities. Today, we are seeing PDR businesses diversify beyond conventional land use categories and being proposed within many mixed-use projects across San Francisco. This internship will examine various PDR activities and study the various space requirements, functional needs, and codes or standards needed to support the many sub-types of modern PDR businesses, and develop a set of guidelines and standards for spaces that best support these businesses. The ideal candidate should possess strong research and data analysis skills.Architecture background preferred; though not necessary.

Better Roofs Ordinance Intern

San Francisco is the first city in the country to establish a mandatory green roof and solar requirement.The Ordinance took effect on January 1, 2017.Since that time, the program has been an international model.As influential as the Ordinance has been, tracking of projects since its passage has been limited.Because additional areas are anticipated to be subject to this Ordinance (such as Central SOMA), information about the implementation success is warranted.As a meaningful and multi-agency-sponsored component of the city’s sustainability tools with multiple benefits, tracking the success and deployment will be useful for those agencies and for measuring the contribution to the city’s climate change efforts.This internship will develop a methodology for tracking and displaying effectiveness in a manner that will be transferable and useful for other cities advancing and wishing to similarly track the results of comparable initiatives.The ideal candidate should possess strong organizational and data management skills.Excellent graphic skills (including ESRI GIS) and web-tools development are essential.Must be able to work independently as well as collaborate with multiple stakeholders.Knowledge/experience pertaining to green building/infrastructure (landscape, green roofs, walls, and solar) is desired.

POPOs Guidelines Intern

Since the adoption of the Downtown Plan in 1985, the San Francisco Planning Department has recognized the importance of installing public open space and art. Privately-Owned Public Open Spaces (POPOs) are a requirement of the Planning Code to support the significant employment and office development growth in the downtown area. However, current requirements are ambiguous, dated, and do not provide sufficient detail to guide projects towards successful implementation of POPOs. This lack of detail makes it difficult for planners to review newly proposed POPOs and enforce and monitor existing POPOs. As a result, POPOs are not always successfully installed or maintained, and the public is often unable to reap the benefits of this city program. This internship will include a number of tasks such as: completing the POPOs inventory; determining whether these POPOs are compliant with their approvals; examining aspects that make each POPO successful and beneficial to the public; and developing guidelines to assist planners in reviewing and enforcement of POPOs. The ideal candidate should possess strong research, writing, and communication skills; ability to work in a team environment; experience with data collection, entry, and analysis; proficiency in Xcel, PowerPoint, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, and GIS (preferable); be a self-starter, motivated, and demonstrate a willingness to learn; interest in publicly accessible open spaces and their uses in an urban environment; interest in working outdoors as this position includes conducting field surveys outdoors at various times throughout the work day.

Racial and Social Equity Intern

This internship entails helping the Planning Department to implement the Racial and Social Equity Action Plan consistent with the Mayor's Strategic Plan vision of a "Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive City." The selected intern could deepen the Department’s understanding of ways in which environmental review can advance racial and social equity from basic community outreach and communications to data analysis and CEQA significance thresholds. Potential tasks for the intern includes: creating a scope of work for a racial and social equity audit as it relates to environmental analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); supporting the other Department divisions as it relates to developing division-specific goals and objectives for the action plan by compiling similar goals and objectives from other city departments and jurisdictions; and assisting staff with data collection and research on best practices for equitable community outreach, engagement and communication. The ideal candidate should possess excellent organization and communication (verbal and written) skills, and expertise in qualitative and quantitative research. The ideal candidate should at a minimum be pursuing or have a Bachelor’s Degree in planning, public administration, sociology, social justice or related field; or a combination of education and/or training and/or experience which provides an equivalent background required to perform the work of this position. Experience or interest in CEQA analysis is desirable.

Travel Demand Intern

The Environmental Planning Division’s Transportation Team has created a web-based travel demand tool that streamlines the estimation of project trip-making patterns. This internship will further make the tool useable and approachable for both internal and external audiences, by including additional functionalities in light of recent trends in urban goods delivery and TNCs, as well as providing guidance document for users. The internship will provide additional key information including loading (freight and passenger) and parking demand. The selected intern will analyze existing data and conduct additional research to be incorporated into the tool as needed. The internship also includes creation of a template for Transportation Studies to be used by consultants. This template could include maps, tables, charts, and other visualization tools, to help streamline Department staff’s review. The ideal candidate should possess a Bachelor’s Degree in transportation or urban planning (or currently studying for such a degree); experience in ArcGIS, Python Programing Language, JavaScript/HTML, Leaflet JavaScript Library, data analysis, and data visualization (including Adobe Suite) within the context of transportation planning/engineering is ideal but not required.

Documentation and Retention of Archival Materials Intern

Several years ago, the Planning Department initiated a records digitization project. The purpose of the digitization effort was to reduce the physical space paper records occupied, make documents electronically available to staff and the public, link project/entitlement documents to records in the Department’s permit tracking system and reduce the need for records to be obtained through the public information request process. To date, most of the Department’s building permit and entitlement case files have been digitized, along with a great deal of property-related background documentation. However, the Department still has a large quantity of historic documents, including photos and maps that have not been digitized. These documents take a wide variety of forms, ranging from microfiche to large-format photographic prints. We are currently in the process of inventorying those documents. The selected intern will be responsible for completing the cataloguing of these files; researching and preparing recommendations for the best methods for digitizing them; and identifying those documents that need to be preserved along with the best methods for doing so. The internship may also involve the actual preparation, preservation, and/or digitization of certain documents depending on available time. The ideal candidate should possess an education and background in historic document preservation, library science or other education and background that would prepare the intern to successfully complete the responsibilities identified above.

Institutional Master Plan Template Intern

Institutional Master Plans (IMPs) are required in San Francisco to be submitted by large educational and medical institutions which usually comprise private universities and hospitals (state institutions are exempt from local zoning controls).IMPs are meant to provide decision-makers – Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors – information about the future plans of an institution when specific projects are proposed.The IMP itself is not subject to a formal approval process, other than a hearing at the Planning Commission, but is an important information source for the city.IMPs are also required to be updated every two years, regardless of a request for a new project approval.Many cities require some sort of master plans for institutions, and a review of other city requirements will be an important first step in this internship.Currently, the Planning Code specifies the type of information that an IMP must include, but not the format.The selected intern will create a standardized template for IMPs. The Planning Department and the Planning Commission are often challenged by the variety of forms in which IMPs are submitted, and it is difficult to compare IMPs between institutions.A standard format, prepared from a template created by the Planning Department, would make the review process much easier and would provide consistency and clear direction to institutions as they prepare their documents.The ideal candidate should possess strong research and writing skills.Architecture background preferred, though not necessary.

Climate Resilience Program Intern

The Planning Department is broadening their work on climate hazards and plays a critical role in overall San Francisco climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. The selected intern will help the Planning Department develop this program in coordination with our City agencies and partners. The selected intern will support community outreach and policy research for San Francisco's climate adaptation planning efforts includingsea level rise and coastal flooding, heat, air quality, and fire risk with a particular focus on vulnerable populations and underserved communities in San Francisco. The selected intern may also help create outreach materials, research climate adaptationpolicies in peer cities, and support overall climate resilience program activities. The ideal candidate should possess a Bachelor’s Degree in planning, community development, environmental studies or other related field plus internship, job, or field work experience in climate adaptation. Master’s Degree or some graduate school preferred. Familiarity with ArcMap, Adobe Suite, or other graphic and mapping programs desired.

Data Analysis and Public Realm Evaluation Intern

The Data & Public Realm Evaluation Internship would work to integrate existing–and test new–data collection, processing, analysis, and publication tools for multiple active long-range planning programs. Under the supervision of the Program Managers, the selected intern will develop and implement a work program involving the following projects: 1) Civic Center Commons - work with project team and Hunters Point Family stewards to test and develop how-to-guide for use of new mobile app developed by Gehl Institute and Sidewalk Labs to measure success of Civic Center Commons initiative interventions/programs and create a short (4-5 page) report that uses data analysis to summarize impacts of Center Commons initiative efforts on public life in Civic Center; 2) ROSE Implementation - support pilot deployment of data collection sensors co-owned by Planning and Recreation and Parks Department (RPD), at RPD parks (and potentially other sites in the city not associated with the ROSE implementation), test/document a replicable workflow for integrating sensor data with other data sources (PSPL, land use, transportation, and etc.), and develop a handbook and/or one-pager guidance for setup, deployment, and use of sensors; and 3) LUISA - integrate public realm data into the LUISA framework using OpenDATA SF guidelines and assist with general data management and analysis, including disaggregation of public space activity mapping data from Civic Center Public Life Study. The ideal candidate should possess fluency in Microsoft Office Suite, especially Access and Excel; proficiency in Adobe Suite (InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop); fluency in ArcMap, ARC Catalog; be interested or have background in public space and open space policy, civic innovation, big data, and technological systems; proficiency in Html ideal; proficiency in SQL ideal; and proficiency in statistical analysis ideal.

Integrating Environmental Justice Policies in the General Plan Intern

California SB1000 requires local jurisdictions to incorporate environmental justice policies in their General Plans. As we develop a scope of work for how to comply with this statute, research on best practices may be useful to help frame how the City might accomplish this in a way that is strategic, leverages existing initiatives, and that implements the intent of the legislative goals. This research is also well-timed to inform the development of potential environmental justice policies to be in the new Transportation Element, in which work is slated to begin in the fall of 2019. The selected intern will work on the following: 1) Define a framework for what “environmental justice” (EJ) could mean in the context of San Francisco’s General Plan (e.g. suggest the scope of topics that could be included, including topics specific to General Plan Elements); 2) Conduct best practices or case studies research from other cities related to EJ and equity, especially those applicable to San Francisco’s General Plan Elements; 3) Gather information on EJ and equity work that has been done in San Francisco, including: • Both explicit and implicit equity- or EJ-related policies in the General Plan (e.g. there may be policies that support environmental justice but don’t mention it outright); • What other City/regional agencies are doing: (ex: SFPUC’s community benefits division has developed an EJ policy, SFMTA has a Service Equity Strategy); • Prior research on similar indicators (e.g. from the Planning Department’s racial and ethnic equity team, SFDPH’s work on health indicators, ConnectSF’s Racial and Equity Committee work, etc.); 4) Conduct key stakeholder interviews, potentially including both City staff and community/advocacy organizations; and 5) Summarize research, synthesize findings, and develop recommendations in a draft and final report. The ideal candidate should possess excellent organization, communication (verbal and written), and interpersonal skills; expertise in qualitative and quantitative research; be pursuing or have a Bachelor's Degree in urban planning, public policy or public administration, sociology, social justice, or related field; or a combination of education and/or training and/or experience which provides an equivalent background required to perform the work of this position. An understanding of environmental justice principles and previous work experience related to this area is highly desired.

Southeast Mobility Adaptation Strategy Intern

The Southeast part of San Francisco is one of the highest-needs areas of San Francisco, and the Department has several planning efforts targeting the area. Integrated and sensitive community engagement is needed across all the efforts to ensure effective public participation, trust-building, optimal work products for the Department and outcomes of the projects. It also demonstrates the Department’s ongoing and deepening commitment to achieving social and environmental equity goals in this neighborhood. The Citywide Division has a number of projects in the area, including the Islais Creek / Southeast Mobility Adaptation Strategy (SMAS), Army Corps of Engineers Flood Protection Study, Southeast Community Facilities Strategy, and future land use analysis in and around the 3rd Street NCD. Integrated and sensitive community engagement is needed across all the efforts to ensure effective public participation, trust-building, optimal work products for the Department and outcomes of the projects. The selected intern will work on the following: seek and coordinate community engagement opportunities; compile data and analyze Sea Level Rise (SLR) related information; support the production of time sensitive project deliverables; draft project awareness materials; assist with community stakeholder outreach; and scope and co-lead upcoming Y-Plan partnership events and activities in relation to SMAS. The ideal candidate should possess excellent organization, communication, and interpersonal skills; expertise in PowerPoint and InDesign; experience with community engagement practices; knowledge of resiliency and sea level rise principles a plus; and a Master’s Degree or Master’s candidate in planning or related fields.