11. Recreation, Culture + Education
REC: Recreation and Parks Department
AAM: Asian Art Museum
ARTS: Arts Commission
FAM: Fine Arts Museums
SCI: Academy of Sciences
WAR: War Memorial and Performing Arts Center
LIB: San Francisco Public Library
CCSF: City College of San Francisco
SFUSD: San Francisco Unified School District

The Recreation, Culture, and Education Service Area encompasses much of what makes San Francisco a rich and vibrant city. San Francisco’s park system has more accessible green space than any other municipality in the United States. Dog play spaces, golf courses, urban trails, natural areas, and urban agriculture are all part of the City’s recreational portfolio. The Main Library and 27 branch libraries provide free and equal access to information as well as diverse literary and educational programs. Our City museums—the Asian Art Museum, de Young Museum, Legion of Honor, and Academy of Sciences—showcase wide-ranging exhibitions and complement the City’s own civic art collection of over 4,000 objects and monuments. An essential part of the City’s social and cultural fabric is our student body; each year San Francisco Unified School District serves 57,000 students, and City College of San Francisco serves 35,000 full-time equivalent students. These San Francisco institutions honor the City's cultural histories while embracing the promise of the future.

Chapter 11 Infographic

Recreation, Culture, and Education Facilities Map

San Francisco’s recreational, cultural, and educational resources drive our quality of life and underlie our shared experience as a city. Keeping these institutions in a state of good repair is a priority. Within each subsection of this chapter, projects are discussed in the following order: Parks (REC), Cultural Facilities (AAM, ARTS, FAM, SCI, WAR), and Educational Institutions (LIB, CCSF, SFUSD).


The Recreation and Parks Department administers more than 225 parks, playgrounds, and open spaces, including two outside the city limits. The system includes 27 recreation centers, nine swimming pools, five golf courses, and numerous sports venues. The Department’s responsibilities also include the Marina Yacht Harbor, the San Francisco Zoo, Camp Mather, and the Lake Merced Complex.
In June 2016 the voters of San Francisco approved Proposition B, a set-aside of the City’s General Fund for the Recreation and Parks Department to fund ongoing and one-time capital needs. These General Fund dollars complement the voter-approved Neighborhood Parks and Open Space General Obligation Bonds program, passed in 2008 and 2012 and anticipated to continue in this Plan. Park facilities are also supported by the Open Space Fund, a property tax earmark approved by voters in 2000. With these resources, the Recreation and Parks Department aims to continue making progress against the department’s substantial deferred maintenance needs and to address increasing demands on the system due to population growth.

The Recreation and Parks Department recently set out to update its calculation of deferred maintenance with a new asset lifecycle management tool. The new system will replace COMET, which has not been updated in several years. The Department has continued its planning to address the development, renovation, replacement, and maintenance of capital assets, as well as the acquisition of real property. An annual capital plan is a requirement of Proposition B and includes an equity analysis using Recreation and Parks Commission-adopted metrics.

Dolores Park
Dolores Park

Cultural Facilities

With some of the oldest and newest construction in the City’s capital portfolio, San Francisco’s cultural institutions present a wide range of needs. From repairing the roofs of the Legion of Honor and Opera House, to protecting the de Young and Academy of Sciences against the foggy conditions in Golden Gate Park, to restoring the publicly held Civic Art Collection, the City’s arts agencies have distinct
capital needs.

In November 2018 San Francisco voters approved Proposition E, which allocates 1.5% of the base hotel tax to arts and cultural purposes through the Hotel Room Tax Fund. Proposition E will provide a set-aside for various arts and cultural services including grants and a cultural equity endowment. Arts-related capital projects such as those at the City’s cultural centers would be an eligible use for the Arts Commission from this source which is expected to continue with an annual baseline for capital.

Educational Institutions

Having recently completed the $196 million Branch Library Improvement Program, the San Francisco Public Library is in the process of planning the renovation of three outstanding branches. The Library’s mission is evolving as access to technology and
the provision of services take on a greater role in providing services to the public. The City is committed to serving local communities’ needs into the future and continues to program our spaces accordingly.

Although City College of San Francisco and the San Francisco Unified District do not fall within the City’s administrative purview, descriptions of their capital priorities are included here to provide a comprehensive look at the infrastructure needs in this Service Area. CCSF is planning for a G.O. Bond ballot measure as early as November 2019, and SFUSD is planning for a 2022 G.O. Bond ballot measure.

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