Livability Awards

Livable City’s Livability Awards honor San Franciscans who have made an outstanding contribution to our City’s livability, working at the intersection of land use, environment, public health, and social equity. Recipients are honored at an annual awards ceremony and member party attended by a diverse mix of attendees from advocacy, community, public service, government, and business, held at beautiful and historic venues like the War Memorial Green Room, the Old Mint, and California Historical Society.
Stay tuned for news about the 2018 Livability Awards, coming this summer. To learn about sponsorship opportunities, contact


The theme for our 2017 awards was City of Sanctuary, and was held on September 21 in the War Memorial Green Room. Awardees were:
  • City Attorney Dennis Herrera, for defending progressive city legislation like sanctuary laws, tenant protections, and transportation reform, and for vigorous and pro-active enforcement of health, safety, environmental, and consumer protections.
  • Chinatown Community Development Center, for leadership in developing and protecting affordable housing, and championing green and safe streets through the Broadway Streetscape and Chinatown Alleyways projects.
  • Grassroots biodiversity advocates, for protecting and restoring San Francisco’s amazing biodiversity: Literacy For Environmental Justice for habitat restoration, environmental education, and the eco-center at Heron’s Head Park; Nature in the City for environmental education and establishing wildlife corridors through the City; and Wild Oyster Project for bringing San Francisco Bay’s native Olympia Oyster back from the brink of local extinction.


Held on June 23 at the California Historical Society, 2016’s event honored outstanding San Francisco advocates for cycling, open space, the environment, public health, and equity for all. The event also featured a livability photo contest.

  • Senator Mark Leno has championed affordable housing, improved transportation, clean energy, better schools, and access to health care in San Francisco and throughout California. Prior to Senate, Senator Leno served in the California State Assembly, represented the eastern portion of San Francisco. Prior to his election to the Assembly, he served for four and a half years on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. During his tenure in the Legislature, Senator Leno has fought for better schools and access to higher education, foster youth, a cleaner and sustainable environment, single-payer universal health care, improved transportation, renewable energy, safer streets and equal rights for all Californians. Most recently, Senator Leno has lead the charge to increase minimum wage, curb tobacco use, and bring more affordable housing to San Francisco.
  • Dr. Barry Zevin, medical director of the Homeless Outreach Team, has spent his career improving access and outcomes for vulnerable transgender, HIV- and Hep-C positive, and homeless communities. Dr. Zevin provided leadership for many projects at the SF Department of Public Health including: founding Transgender Tuesdays, the first transgender clinic in a public sector setting in the United States; development of community based medically supported detox; development of sobering center; implementation of office based opiate addiction treatment; and establishment of the Tenderloin area center of excellence for HIV care.
  • The Shape Up San Francisco Coalition are leaders in public health advocacy, including improving physical education in our schools and reducing our sugary beverage consumption. Shape Up was the presenting sponsor for the first Sunday Streets in 2008 and continues to support the beloved event that brings tens of thousands of people out to play safely on our city streets. Shape Up has increased awareness of sugary drinks through cutting edge campaigns and has helped to shape sugary drink policies for organizational and environmental change. Shape Up’s retail work in the Bayview lay the foundation for the citywide HealthyRetailSF program. The Coalition’s work has helped raise the value of physical education among San Francisco Unified School District elementary schools, leading to a 500% increase of PE specialists and an equitable approach to ensure all elementary schools receive PE resources and support. Shape Up’s Safe Routes to School program now serves nearly half of all elementary schools in SFUSD and has documented increases in walking at 28% and biking at 32% of participating schools.
  • Community advocate Oscar Grande co-founded Bicis Del Pueblo, a community-based bike project that has provided bikes, knowledge, and resources to over 200 low-income youth and families, and has championed new open spaces and community-oriented planning in the Mission and Excelsior districts. Bicis del Pueblo is developing a Bike Equity network to increase the number of bicyclists in low-income communities of color in San Francisco. Oscar is a Community Organizer with People Organizing to Demand Economic and Environmental Rights (PODER). The father of four works to empower immigrant Latino communities in San Francisco by focusing on issues like housing rights, land use, environmental justice, and transportation equity. Oscar has co-organized campaigns that have successfully reclaimed publicly owned lands and required the City to invest development without displacement dollars to create affordable housing, open space, community gardens, and community services. Noteworthy projects in the Mission and Excelsior Districts include In Chan Kajaal Park, 1950 Mission, Parque Niños Unidos, Upper Yard on San Jose & Geneva, and Crocker Park Urban Farm. As a founding Board member of Mission Asset Fund, Oscar helped develop a first-of-a-kind financial asset building organization helping San Francisco low-income residents access social loan programs that quickly and safely build credit history. The organization has grown to a multi-million dollar organization providing community-based asset building services in a dozen communities throughout the country.


This year’s annual event was held at Public Works. Livable City was proud to honor the following awardees:

  • Sam Mogannam leads the Bi-Rite family of businesses, who have long advocated for local employment, local and sustainable food, and nutrition education.
  • Bonnie Nelson has worked throughout her career to reshape the transportation industry, influencing projects across the U.S. to adopt more sustainable transportation plans and creating a generation of progressive transportation planners.
  • As Executive Director of the California Bicycle Coalition, Dave Snyder has tirelessly worked to improve cyclists’ safety statewide and increased spending on cycling infrastructure. Dave has also served as the founding executive director of Livable City, San Francisco Transit Riders, and San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
  • The Planning Department’s Legislative Affairs Division is behind every planning law approved by the City. Recently, the team has worked to overhaul planning regulations, reform restaurant codes, and enabled the construction of more affordable housing.


Held November 19 at the beautiful and historic Old Mint. Livable City was proud to recognize:

  • David Baker, Livability Innovator in Design and Architecture. David Baker FAIA leads David Baker Architects, an award-winning San Francisco architecture firm that for 30 years has focused designing for density and exploring urban solutions.  David has been dedicated to increasing the safety, sanity, and livability of San Francisco for decades through his urban-infill multifamily housing designs and his advocacy for active street edges, civic engagement, alternative transit,  bicycle safety, and the creation of wonderful places. His firm practices what they preach: DBA is a San Francisco Certified Green Business, a Carbon Free Business, and a Bicycle Friendly Business, and they work imbue all aspects of their work with sustainability and community benefit. The Livable City Board of Directors was honored to award David the Livability Innovator award for several reasons. First, for his innovative design work, particularly in affordable housing, despite budget, zoning, and planning restraints. Second, for his work in mixed-use development, thoughtfulness in street frontage, and implementing low-cost sustainable building practices. Third, for the construction of Zero Cottage – San Francisco’s first Net-Zero Passive House certified residence, and StoreFrontLab – an interactive exploration of the storefront as a place of community, creativity, and local industry.
  • Leah Shahum, Livability Advocate. Leah Shahum is the Executive Director of the 10,000+ member San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which works to promote bicycling for everyday transportation. Under her leadership, the SF Bicycle Coalition became one of the largest and strongest advocacy groups in San Francisco. Their community organizing continues to help significantly boost the number of people bicycling, as well as boosting the understanding of how bicycling can help make a better city. Leah formerly served on the Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway & Transportation District, as well as the SF Municipal Transportation Agency. The Livable City Board of Directors selected Leah for her tireless – and successful – advocacy in making San Francisco more cycling-friendly. Under her tenure as Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco has seen dramatic increases in everyday bicycling, the addition of miles of separated bikeways, bike parking, greater bike access to transit, and more bike-friendly policies. Now, as Leah steps away from her role as Executive Director, she will research Vision Zero successes in Europe through a German Marshall Fund Fellowship and implement those best practices back here in San Francisco.


Livable City honored:

  • San Francisco Transit Riders and POWER, as livability advocates.
  • SFMTA’s SFpark program, as livability innovator.
  • John Martin Director of San Francisco International Airport, for public servant.
  • Professor, author, and former San Francisco Planning Director Allan Jacobs, for lifetime achievement.


Livable City honored:

  • Cheryl Brinkman, livability advocate
  • David Winslow, Loring Sagan, and Meredith Thomas, livability innovators for Linden Living Alley
  • Ross Mirkarimi, livability legislator