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From Vacant Storefronts to New Neighborhoods

Let’s face it: While commercial strips may provide convenience, they are frequently unattractive. With changing retail patterns, they are also increasingly under-utilized. Urban planners see a new future for them as locations for a mixture of housing a …

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Healing the Hood

Growing up as the child of Filipino and Toisan immigrants near Los Angeles, Bernadette Lim never saw a doctor. “We didn’t trust them, it was not a place we wanted to go,” recalls Lim, who is now a doctor herself. Instead, her family relied on Vicks Vap …

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Bad Air and Sick Plants: Handicapping Our Helpers

Green is the signature color for environmental issues because it’s the color of healthy plants, and healthy plants are an indicator of a healthy environment. Plants are also critical components of many of the measures proposed to reduce the impacts of …

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Activating Schoolyards for Communities

On a bright Saturday afternoon in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood, Will Portillo grabbed a soccer ball and his kids, Moses, 10, and Michael, 2, and walked them one block to Paul Revere Elementary School, where Moses is finishing up 4th grad …

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Dredging up an Ecosystem

Horned Grebe dining on a polychaete worm (Alitta sp.) offshore from the Candlestick Point State Recreation Area. Polychaete worms are part of the benthic macroinvertebrate community that can be affected by dredging activity. (Photo by Raul Agrait, iNat …

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Getting Granular Gives Transcendent Take on Food

Fine art and commercial photographer Caren Alpert. When San Francisco photographer Caren Alpert first started shooting food through a scanning  electron microscope, it was just for fun. Then a chance encounter put her extraordinary images of ordinary e …

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A Space to Breathe

All-day twilight caused by wildfire smoke. Photo: Thom Milkovic Communities around the Bay Area are meeting the new reality of “smoke season” with plans for neighborhood Clean Air Centers, sometimes on a pop-up basis. Retrofits to facilities, as well a …

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Life in the Bike Lane

A spring ride event organized by Bike East Bay. During the pandemic, people hopped on bicycles for sanity and recreation. Local bike shops struggled to meet demand, and Bay Area communities closed streets to car traffic to make it safer for bike riders …

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Pleasures and Perils of Mushrooming in the Bay Area

Debbie Viess mushroom hunting at Mt. Shasta. Credit David Rust Debbie Viess is dreaming of morels, delicate wild mushrooms that pop up as the cool of winter yields to the warmth of spring. Her favorite recipe for morels when they’re tiny and tender is …

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From Growing Up By to Restoring the Bay

Michelle Orr, pictured while perfecting her sourdough during shelter-in-place. Environmental engineer Michelle Orr’s life has been interwoven with the San Francisco Bay since childhood. “I grew up in Oakland with a view of the bay, and we went sailing …

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