Shafter Ave wins San Francisco’s “Most Greenified Block”

On Saturday April 22, Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) will present the fifth annual “Most Greenified Block” award at the Earth Day San Francisco street festival to a resident of Shafter Avenue, who worked with neighbors to transform three blocks in their Bayview neighborhood.

The award recognizes the area of San Francisco that has undergone the greatest “green” transformation during the past year. FUF, a non-profit organization that helps individuals and neighborhood groups plant and care for street trees and sidewalk gardens throughout the city, evaluates candidates for the award on the basis of their progress in planting and maintaining street trees and sidewalk gardens with the participation of neighborhood residents.

Diego Castellani will accept the award from FUF executive director Dan Flanagan. Mr. Castellani and his neighbor Vanessa Christie led efforts over the past few years to replace concrete with 10 new street trees and 11 new sidewalk gardens between 1330 and 1618 Shafter Avenue.

“Nobody used to walk the streets or stop and chat,” Castellani said. “Now people say hi to each other.”

“Almost immediately the project seemed to improve the energy of the neighborhood,” Christie said.

With only 6.7% of its land area covered by trees, the Bayview-Hunters Point area is one of the least leafy parts of the city — and San Francisco is one of the least leafy major cities in the nation. Despite its “green” reputation, San Francisco ranks only 17th among the 20 most populous U.S. cities in its tree canopy coverage.

“The distribution of trees and gardens in San Francisco and in other cities is far from equal; there’s more in affluent neighborhoods and less in poor neighborhoods,” Flanagan said. “But recently, thanks to a terrific community effort, part of the Baview has become much greener, and all who live there are benefiting.”

Urban greening projects beautify the city, reduce stormwater runoff, calm traffic, relieve stress, bring neighbors together, and increase the likelihood that people will walk rather than drive.

FUF will present the Most Greenified Block award at 12:25 p.m. on the main festival stage in the Civic Center.

For high-resolution images of Shafter Avenue, see http://bit.ly/bayview-greenified.