People make San Francisco beautiful and unique, and our Board Members are no exception. This month’s interview features Robert Friese, who has played an integral role at SF Beautiful for more than 30 years.
What makes San Francisco beautiful?
- A great combination of diverse people who all seem to get along.
- The physical setting of course, along with a substantial segment of diverse architectural styles, mostly in light colors.
- Neighborhoods with individual character, and many individual characters.
- Citizen groups that come together to assist City government in limiting the pressures of money and misguided development plans while encouraging uplifting projects that add to the urban scene.
- Businesses and their workers who understand and share the need to accommodate growth while preserving the qualities that keep us here.
How does San Francisco Beautiful change the landscape?
Over its long history SF Beautiful has consistently pursued goals that support the qualities that attract and please so many residents and visitors who could be attracted elsewhere. These include neighborhood beautification grants, limits on public advertising, policing and commenting on misguided growth proposals (private and public), encouraging and in some instances helping to fund park and public space improvements, and helping to maintain the balance that allows height and bulk development (so-called “densification”) limited to areas that can handle it without diminishing other factors that define a neighborhood and the City’s quality of life.
Why did you choose San Francisco?
Its charm, beauty, diversity, climate (including fog), proximity to rural beauty, and the fact that everyone seems to get along.
What does San Francisco mean to you?
It represents the hope that a city can remain a place that defines the human and esthetic qualities that constitute a beacon for other communities faced with many of the same urban pressures and challenges that have caused so many other cities to deteriorate.
What are you most proud of accomplishing for San Francisco Beautiful?
Having been an involved supporter of the organization since the time of my representing its founder Friedel Klussmann over forty years ago, I would cite having helped her in creating a funded entity with staff, enabling SF Beautiful to take on many valuable projects over the decades without which the City would be a different place.