Katherine Williams
Visitacion Valley Community Development Corporation and San Francisco Housing Development Corporation
San Francisco


“One of the biggest aspects of the fellowship is learning to navigate between the needs and concerns of residents and the desires of people who want to build in those communities. Design is important, but it must go hand in hand with meeting other needs in a community. These include jobs, childcare, and education for all residents. Community developers must take all these into account when looking to build for, or in, low-income communities.”

The passion for design in urban settings that drew Katherine Williams to her Rose Fellowship began during her work with Howard University’s architecture program. There she gained an understanding of the opportunities that architects have to create change in communities. As she walked around Washington, D.C., and saw the vacant buildings, ideas formed for bringing buildings and communities back as assets for people and cities.

Katherine worked on a range of projects from large-scale neighborhood planning issues to a community space build-out for Visitacion Valley Community Development Corporation (VVCDC) in the southeast corner of San Francisco. She also worked with the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation. Her primary role was as the client representative on the development of an 18-home, 100%-affordable condominium development located on the main commercial corridor of the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood.

“Katherine's contribution allowed us to step up to face several challenges in our neighborhood,” reports VVCDC’s Executive Director Jennifer Dhillon. “She helped us solve a long-standing problem—how to fund and build our library. She also is helping us analyze the impacts of some massive development projects planned in our neighborhood.”

“Being involved in my community was instilled in me by grandmother and mom, so going to planning meetings and speaking up for good design was already part of my DNA. But in having the opportunity to be a Rose Fellow, I was finally able to apply this passion to my career.” Since her fellowship, Katherine has served as an editor for the NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects) Magazine, as project manager at the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation, and as a private consultant for affordable housing curriculum.

Katherine graduated from Howard University with a Bachelor of Architecture in 2001 and completed the Ross Program in Real Estate at the University of Southern California Lusk School in 2009. She is a registered architect.

Visitacion Guadalupe Valley Regional Watershed Booklet

Residential Unit Profile:
“Harnessing Change to Create Sustainable Growth, The Visitacion/Guadalupe Watershed: A Regional Perspective” provides information on upcoming and pipeline development projects demographics, traffic information and the state of the watershed today. The booklet is the culmination of 18 months of research and analysis into the Visitacion/Guadalupe Watershed Region. The goal of the publication is to document the valley as it is now to start the conversation on growth from a regional perspective.

4800 Third Street, Bay Oaks Home

9,000 sq ft gross site area
New construction
4 stories
29,102 sq ft gross project area
18 affordable home ownership units
Common courtyard/terrace (1,300 sq ft)
2 retail units (2,153 sq ft)
Structured parking
9 1 BR 700-700 sq ft
9 2 BR 1,000-1,000 sq ft

Residential Unit Profile:
The building will be a catalyst project that contributes to the revitalization of the Commercial Core of Third Street in the Bayview. The site is adjacent to the planned Town Center block which is located between Newcomb Avenue, Oakdale Avenue, Third Street and Lane Street. The proposed 18-unit mixed use project will create a strong corner presence on Third Street. The condominiums units will consist of one- and two-bedroom units averaging 700 to1000 square feet.

Katherine’s host, the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation, is striving to make 4800 Third a “green” development. The building is located directly across from the Palou Avenue transit station on the Third Street Light Rail providing easy access to downtown San Francisco. Because of the close proximity of transit, parking has been reduced and bike storage has been included to encourage reduced automobile use. A rooftop photovoltaic system will provide power for the common areas. Waste will diverted form landfill during construction and recycling chutes are included in the building for residents.

10,000 Acquisition (land)
7,050,000 Hard (construction)
2,700,000 Soft (all other)
9,760,000 TOTAL

Village Buildout

0.10 acres gross site area
Adaptive reuse
3 stories
20,265 sq ft gross project area
Community center (4,200 sq ft)

Residential Unit Profile:
The Village is a multi-service community center managed by San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley Community Development Corporation (VVCDC). Open to all residents, the center offers critical comprehensive services to children, adults and families in Visitacion Valley.

Building on a commitment to meaningful partnerships, The Village effectively models cross-community cooperation for all Valley residents and makes significant contributions to thousands of lives and to the rebirth of this historic neighborhood.

The Village members are neighborhood-based collaborations. Their mission is to serve the diverse residents of Visitacion Valley with a continuum of critical services for families. The members offer culturally competent public programs, with services that encourage and support individual and community growth by providing access to opportunities. These include childcare, early childhood education, healthcare, counseling, youth development, civil rights education, job training and retention, and violence prevention, as well as computer training, education, and affordable housing advocacy.

To better accommodate these many services, the VVCDC is undertaking an extensive renovation that will modify over 4,000 square feet of space. The project will give local service providers an additional 3,000 square foot space to use for classes and community activities.

300,000 Hard (construction)
46,000 Soft (all other)
346,000 TOTAL


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