Aspect Studios won the San Francisco 2016 design competition for its entry ‘The Tender Track’. The global design competition challenged the world’s creative minds to imagine ways of transforming the city’s troubled Tenderloin district into a flourishing neighbourhood where the community could thrive.

A key objective of the international ideas and design competition, San Francisco 2016 was to use the power of design to transform the character of an entire neighbourhood and the lives of those who lived within it. Long affected by drugs, crime, prostitution, homelessness and poverty, Tenderloin is one of the most troubled districts in the US.

Aspect Studios’ winning entry ‘The Tender Track’ is based on a design that would serve as an antidote to everyday life by placing beauty, delight, fun and exploration at the very heart of the community.

The winning entry was announced in the architecture and design e-zine, Eleven Magazine with the report saying: “The jury loved this proposal from concept to presentation and particularly liked how the design team managed to weave together such an ambitious design in a coherent, contextual, innovative and yet feasible manner.”

A free tramline that connects a sequence of unique spaces, each built and run by an empowered local community forms the core of the design proposal. The journey has three primary themes: Education Wonderland, Urban Wilderness and Grow Share Eat.



An Educational Wonderland

Aspect Studios’ submission includes a series of new and existing schools to surround the ultimate adventure space, which features regular street activities and social gatherings within an open park. The new schools district provides education for life with programs on understanding diet, health, wisdom, self-awareness, responsibility, culture and vocational training.

Urban Wilderness

Buildings and streets would be colonised by indigenous plants, appealing to native fauna and creating sensory gardens that bring delight to the community and encourage people to explore their local ecology. This wild part of the journey would take passengers through a giant forest to immerse themselves in a nature-filled part of the city with bird life, tranquillity and discovery. It’s a place for children to discover, smell the flowers, go for a swim or go fishing and share a journey of beauty, laughter and excitement.

Grow Share Eat

To serve as San Francisco’s largest urban farm, this community run project will offer local produce, workshops, kitchens and homes for city farm animals. Eddy Street, one of the main streets in the neighbourhood, would be transformed into fields of corn and apple and orange orchards to attract bees and butterflies. A community nursery would provide potted produce and lessons in how to nurture your own garden.

The Aspect Studios team that worked on The Tender Track proposal include Louise Pearson, Vicki Li, Matthew Drury, Thea Harris and Li Zuo.