Summer Planning Internship Program

2018 Summer Internship Program Header

San Francisco Planning is looking for bright and enthusiastic interns interested in the planning field to work on a variety of projects this summer (June 4 - August 24). 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.

Interested applicants must apply online. Please do not send applications to San Francisco Planning.

Be sure to clearly indicate your preference for the project(s) indicated below
and complete your statement of interest
in the Supplemental Questionnaire portion of the Application.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, February 16, 2018 at 5:00 pm.

Hard copies of your portfolio (if portfolio requested) may be sent to the attention of: 
Ms. Nora Priego, San Francisco Planning
1650 Mission Street, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA  94103. 

You may also send your portfolio and sample work via email to:
Please note:  Size limit is 25MB.  If your file is greater than 25MB, please send us a link
where we can download your PDF portfolio.

Projects and Descriptions

1. Citywide Survey Interns (2 Positions)

The San Francisco Citywide Historic Resource Survey is a multiyear effort. 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.

2. Abbreviated Context Statements Phase II Interns (2 Positions)

Building upon the Department’s completed historic context statements, surveys, and environmental evaluations, two interns will be responsible for conducting archival research and windshield surveys to develop abbreviated historic context statements for selected neighborhoods in the City. Each neighborhood synopsis will cross-reference information from adopted and/or draft historic context statements; note common citywide development patterns where they exist; note unique or previously unknown historical trends or themes for future research. Each abbreviated historic context statement will help identify which areas or themes of each neighborhood would be worth researching further as well as provide background information for intensive survey of the each neighborhood during the Citywide Survey. 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.

3. Chinese American Historic Context Statement Intern

The Chinese-American 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 Chinese-American context will provide an overview of settlement and development patterns, social, commercial, cultural, and religious themes associated with the Chinese-American experience in San Francisco. The Department does not currently have comprehensive information regarding the history of the Chinese-American community in San Francisco and its relationship to the built environment. This internship entails creating a framework that will assist in the identification of significant buildings, clusters of properties, sites, objects, as well as other tangible or intangible resources. The ideal candidate should possess excellent research and writing skills; a willingness to interact with people through oral history interviews and community/stakeholder engagement process; possess a strong interest in civil rights and social history; desire to help illuminate and preserve history of underrepresented groups. Prior experience writing landmark designation is not necessary.

4. ADU Program Intern

San Francisco’s ADU program has been in place for over three years and has gradually expanded. It’s been proved a very successful program to add new units within our existing housing stock with over 1000 units in the pipeline. This internship will help further the success of this program through these tasks: establish Department’s process to implement the affordability tracking requirement in the Planning Code, which required the Department to collect and track the rent for the completed units; assist with preparation of other project documents/ procedures to enhance ADU implementation; research innovative financing mechanisms for ADUs and ways to adapt new finance tools for ADUs; work with appraisers to understand best ways to appraise the value added to a property after legalizing an illegal unit; research ADU programs in other jurisdictions that provide subsidized housing to low income households; marketing the ADU program especially to small property owners through targeted outreach and department’s outreach efforts, which includes organizing the outreach events. The ideal candidate should possess outreach and engagement and data analysis skills. Microsoft Excel is required and Adobe Suite preferred. Understanding of existing financing tools for home improvements as well as property appraisal process is highly desirable.

5. Web-Based Travel Demand Calculation and Visualization Tool Intern

This internship entails creating a web-based, travel demand tool using trip generation, distribution, and mode split information from the updated Transportation Impact Analysis Guidelines. This tool will streamline the Planning Department’s TIS preparation by automatically generating tables, visualization, and web maps of trip-making patterns based on a project’s location and amount and type of proposed land use. The tool will also have a public facing interface, thereby giving more transparency of the calculation process to external audience. The ideal candidate should possess Bachelor’s degree in transportation or urban planning (or currently studying for such a degree), ArcGIS proficiency, Python Programing Language proficiency, Java/HTML proficiency, Interest and experience in programming, data analysis, and data visualization within the context of transportation planning/engineering.

6. The Departed - GIS Archeological Data Compilation Intern (Portfolio required)

This internship entails development of GIS layer(s) and a database of archeologically and historically documented cemeteries, burials, and deposits related to deceased human and non-human remains in San Francisco. The internship would include the following tasks: conducting archival research, compiling data from other city agencies, geo-referencing historical maps, developing spatial data layers with site attributes, developing attribute tables for associated archeological sites, integrating site information with an archeological documentary database, and preparing user manual documentation for project. The ideal candidate must have demonstrated competence in the independent preparation of GIS data layers and work with relational databases. Competence would be demonstrated by classwork (at least two GIS classes) and work samples. Internship applicants should submit a portfolio for this project demonstrating ability/knowledge of GIS and cartographic skills. GIS project showcasing urban historical mapping experience a plus. Undergraduate degree required. Background in cultural resources management, archaeology or history preferred but not required. Required skills include the following: experience with ESRI GIS 10.2 or 10.3, geo-referencing historical maps, creating relational databases, and experience or interest in urban archeology..

7. Executive Directive/Environmental Planning Process Improvements Intern

This internship entails helping with environmental planning process improvements-related measures identified within the Mayoral executive directive measures. Potential measures, which would require intern assistance may include: (1) codifying effective CEQA mitigation measures; for instance conducting background research and summarizing comparable cultural resources related ordinances in other California jurisdictions as well as transportation freight and passenger loading related ordinances in other jurisdictions, (2) assisting Environmental Planning staff with developing scope of work templates for each CEQA technical topic study (such as transportation, air quality, noise, and etc.), (3) assisting staff with research on defining the types of projects to be included in consideration of cumulative impacts in CEQA documents. The ideal candidate should possess Bachelor’s degree in Planning, Environmental Science, or related field and possess the ability to conduct research independently. Experience or interest in CEQA analysis is desirable.

8. Environmental Review Technical Analysis Summer Intern

Environmental Planning staff work on a wide variety of CEQA technical topics (such as transportation, noise, greenhouse gas emissions, and etc.) during the environmental review of projects, and these topics frequently intersect in complex projects. Under supervision, the intern would work on transportation, noise, and climate change-related tasks. For transportation, the intern would assist staff with streamlining the transportation review process and update the Department’s transportation databases. For noise, the intern would assist with developing a citywide noise map—capturing noise generated by stationary equipment and traffic—through research and the use of GIS-based software, which could reduce the need for preparing ambient noise analysis for smaller projects. For addressing climate change, the intern would assist with quantifying the greenhouse gas emissions reduction potential of existing and proposed citywide policies in order to help prioritize the implementation of those policies. The ideal candidate should possess the ability to conduct research independently. Experience with or an interest in noise impact analysis under CEQA and urban noise issues, transportation policy, or quantification of greenhouse gas emissions, is desirable.

9. Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan Intern

This internship entails working on the implementation of the Sea Level Rise Action Plan, including drafting waterfront design guidelines and code changes. The ideal candidate should possess excellent organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills; expertise in PowerPoint and InDesign; urban design skills; knowledge or resiliency and sea level rise principles; and Master’s degree or Master’s candidate in Planning or related fields.

10. Rental Housing Market Data Trends Intern

While the City has access to data on housing sales transactions over time, it does not collect data on changing rental prices. This summer intern will use an internet archive tool, the Wayback Machine, to scrape historical data on apartment rents from Craigslist at the neighborhood level. The intern will create summary statistics and maps showing how rental prices have changed over time, as well as a script that would allow the City to download these data at will in the future. Historical data on rental listings (by neighborhood and unit characteristics) would significantly augment existing data sources (such as Zillow) and help with ongoing department policy and analysis efforts, including the Housing Affordability Strategy. It would also provide additional data that has been requested by the Board of Supervisors on housing cost trends over time. The ideal candidate should possess computer coding skills for web scraping and database development. GIS experience is beneficial and interest in housing policy or macroeconomics a plus.

11. Excelsior Strategy Commercial District Assessment and Alemany Farmers Market Survey Intern

The goal is to understand the challenges facing businesses along the Mission and Geneva Corridors. The Excelsior & Outer Mission Neighborhood Commercial District is an active, vibrant, and diverse commercial district. Outreach efforts to date have indicated there are ways the corridor can better serve residents. Many have noted a desire for a cleaner and greener commercial district with a variety of stores to meet daily needs, and one that is safe and inviting for pedestrians. Realizing this vision requires collaboration between the City and the businesses that line the corridor. This summer internship will focus on gaining a better understanding of the businesses, their needs, challenges, and their assets. Through a combination of collecting qualitative and quantitative data the intern can learn about the businesses and connect the businesses with City programs. In addition, the intern will work on outreach and engagement around the Alemany Farmers Market site. The ideal candidate should possess skills such as outreach, engagement, and data analysis. This is the ideal internship for someone interested in the intersection of economic development, place making, and planning. Microsoft Excel required, Adobe Suite preferred. Spanish, Cantonese, or Tagalog language skills are desirable, though not required.

12. Housing Policy Research and Assessment Intern

San Francisco and the Bay Area have one of the most unaffordable housing markets in the United States. Extreme income disparities, lack of housing production, limited public control of residential properties, and limited funding for affordable housing at the federal, state, and local levels result in ongoing challenges with housing affordability and displacement of low and moderate income households. San Francisco has implemented many important policies to produce and preserve affordable housing and protect tenants, however, more tools are needed. The housing affordability policy intern will help the Planning Department assess additional programs and policies to produce and preserve housing affordable to low and moderate income people that are currently not used in San Francisco but that are practiced by other cities in the United States and abroad. The assessment of potential programs and policies will consider benefits, process, and barriers associated with implementation of potential programs and policies in San Francisco. Candidate should be enrolled in or have completed Master’s Program in City Planning, Public Policy, or a related field with a demonstrated interest in housing policy and development. The ideal candidate would have knowledge of affordable housing development, finance, and policy in the United States and some knowledge of programs internationally, would have experience conducting policy analysis including analysis of legislation and government programs, and would be able to conduct quantitative data analysis.

13. TDR and Car-Share Database Modernization Intern

The City’s Transfer of Development Rights program has a long and complex history. Tracking the various TDR transactions over time is an important, ongoing project. However, numerous complexities and issues have arisen over the years. As such, the TDR database is not as accurate or “clean” as desired. One half of this project is to conduct the necessary research and database management to address any outstanding issues and bring the database up to date. The City’s Car-Share program has less history and complexity. However, tracking these spaces and their tenancy is an important, ongoing project. Unfortunately, the database has not been significantly updated since 2013. Additionally, there is pending legislation that would update the Car-Share program, including requiring more reporting from car-share organizations. One half of this project is to conduct the necessary research and database management to update the Car-Share database, including preparation for potentially new data resulting from upcoming legislation. Depending on time and the skills of the intern, GIS mapping of this data may also be included. The ideal candidate should have a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning (or currently studying for such a degree), be Microsoft Excel proficient, and demonstrate an interest in data analysis and policy development. GIS proficiency is not required, but is desired.

14. Better Front Yard Program Intern

Pursuant to Planning Code Section 132(g) and (h), not less than 20% of the required setback area shall be and remain unpaved and devoted to plant material. In addition, the front setback area shall also be composed of at least 50% permeable material. The Better Front Yards Program would augment the Department’s efforts to assist property owners in understanding and complying with Planning Code requirements related to landscaping and permeable surfaces. The internship would accomplish this goal in the following ways: prepare clear and illustrative handouts that can be included with all communication between the City, property owners, and the public; create visual examples of Code compliant properties; develop a catalog of permissible landscaping and permeable surface materials; and prepare PowerPoint slides and supplemental documents to present during design workshops with neighborhoods. The Better Front Yard Program intern will use Connect Explorer and other web-based satellite imagery to determine when front yard setbacks were paved, as well as research and report on successful existing models such as the Front Yard Ambassadors Program in District 4. The ideal candidate should possess fluency in a design program such as Adobe Photoshop, InDesign or similar application; strong research and oral/writing abilities; and interest in the public realm sustainability and landscape design.


For more information on the internship program or the application process, contact:

Nora Priego-Ramos
San Francisco Planning Department
(415) 558-6399