Category Archives: International-Hotel

Implementation plan: The Gentrification and Rental Rights

          This Interpretative plan demonstrates the theme of gentrification and rental rights through the hologram system on the street along the I-Hotel. The most recent gentrification happened during the urban renewal planning and redevelopment movement of the mid 1960s, when the I-hotel was targeted for demolition. Now, the spread of urban renewal plan in San Francisco’s Financial District turned to the I-Hotel continues a long chain of displacement for residents of low-cost residential housing.

            This project, “I-Hotelogram,” will be effective to put public pressure on a landlord who is doing an Ellis Act eviction. According to San Francisco Tenants Union, under the Ellis Act, landlords may evict all tenants in a building in order to take the building off the rental market by the unconditional right. Residents in San Francisco are faced with Ellis Act nowadays along the same line with residents in I-hotel were before. Unless the law requires the landlord to socially redeem themselves, the mass media or neighbors can make arguments to support the tenant’s side. We can set up visual, audio and movement senses through this hologram.

 

Short-term plan (5 years):

 

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Sample Screenshots of the application “I-hotelogram”

          I-Hotelogram, which is setting up the hologram of interviews from people who got evicted by landlords, state law, and governments could engage residents in the I-hotel including residents in San Francisco and California. It would be installed of the once sprawling 10-block Manilatown and the effects urban renewal had that led to its demise. The short term action plan of the I-Hotellogram could encourage tourists to come to see special hologram. It could arouse tourists and visitors attention about the dangers of eviction fights related to living. In addition, the epidemic of evictions is connected to activism because it is one of the actions made by activists. Audiences could remember the lessons of elders in I-Hotel and sympathize with the expelled tenants for a while because of this audio, visual and hearing senses.

 

Long term-plan (25 years):

 

     To contribute the Interpretive project to sustainability, we have to cooperate with smartphone application in order to increase accessibility. Since this interpretive project with hologram on the street, it might be hard to access if there are many people on the street or be crowded by other noises. Moreover, it is impossible to give an information to people who want to help I-hotel and San Francisco eviction but who are far away. Therefore, through smartphone application called “I-Hotelogram,” visitors as well as residents and landlords can access to the hologram and interviews about evictions. When they access to the hologram, they can feel that they are accessing to people who were evicted and how much the state law is harsh for them. Also in the long term, this project could empower and authorize immigrants, since when immigrants immigrated, they need a place to leave. For Filipinos, I-Hotel is the place of them.

 

Appraisal: Community

The I-Hotel is first and foremost linked to the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, which manages its legacy. The rise of the I-Hotel is attributes to collaboration amongst various community organizations, which the Manilatown Heritage Foundation continues to do with community organizations, government agencies, and educational instituions through program collaboration in the spirit of its rebuilding. National interest in the site stems from the over 3.5 million Filipino Americans whose resilient history is embodied by the fall and rise of the I-Hotel. International interest stems from the over 7 million Filipino migrants who have relocated throughout the world, yet share a similar experience to the Manongs who occupied the I-Hotel after migrating to the United States. On a grander scale, communities of color can relate to the solidarity embodied in the I-Hotel movement. The I-Hotel’s current stewards serve on a volunteer basis and train future stewards through an internship program. However, the site struggles with garnering an investment from the next generation, as many of its current stewards are older. The Foundation relies on data provided by the narratives of the original tenants of the I-Hotel as well as accounts from others that were involved. The foundation invests much of its time and energy into educating its visitors via galleries, tours, and programs. Improvements can be made for visitors to access digital content via the internet. The shift in demographics has caused the I-Hotel to be located in a largely Chinese American community, and thus its programs do not directly serve its surrounding neighbors, raising a contestation between historic location versus current situation. However, it is not to be said that these neighbors are not welcome to these programs. A large Filipino American population resides in the SoMa district, and the location is easily accessible by means of public transportation. In terms of the site as a destination, there is a need for a clearer distinction to be made between the I-Hotel and the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, as the former is a residential building not affiliated with commemorating the site’s legacy. A docent can provide a guided tour of the new I-Hotel, however, much of the information to be grappled with is located in the Manilatown Heritage Foundation center, located in a separate space at the first floor of the I-Hotel. Because of the not-for-profit model of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, it is accessible to various economic backgrounds, but not necessarily sustainable as a financial entity. It has a minimal impact on the environment and does not output a significant amount of waste from its programs. A primary constraint to implementation of further programming is funding. A potential threat could be the looming real estate prices in San Francisco and how that could play a role in the Manilatown Heritage Foundation maintaining its current space.

Current Points of Interpretation and Accessibility

The International Hotel Manilatown Center contains a rich interpretive landscape inside the community center space. In addition, the International Hotel Manilatown Center has an open space where Filipino and other peoples come and practice intangible heritage such as dancing and singing. Much of the installations in the International Hotel Manilatown Center provide information about the struggle against eviction. There are installations, photographs, and cabinets that contain historic documents.

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The Manilatown Center inside the International Hotel holds intangible heritage events such as dancing.

Factors that structure accessibility for Bay Area residents specifically are threefold: I-Hotel Community Center hours of operation and the Manilatown Heritage Foundation website. I-Hotel community center hours of operation are Wednesday through Sunday from 12pm to 3pm. The Manilatown Heritage Foundation Website is http://manilatown-heritage-foundation.org/. The website contains information about I-Hotel and programs and services that the Manilatown Heritage Foundation offers at the I-Hotel Community Center. In addition, the website offers web-based services such as an email listserve.

 

Interpretive Plan: I-Tel

My interpretive plan focuses on community outreach and education. My goal is to get kids and students interacting with the I-Hotel at an early age, fostering a personal connection with the site in a manner defined by the individual. Later on, I would provide students with the opportunity to grapple with the physical site’s legacy of community organizing and solidarity, with the hopes of them becoming stewards for the site and leaders for both the Filipino American community as well as other community organizations.

Short Term Plan:

 

My plan will focus on 3 levels of outreach, revolving around the theme of I-Tel, emphasizing the importance of telling individual and shared stories. I-Tel days are bi-monthly events open to families and their children, each with a corresponding theme, such as ‘Family’ or ‘Community.” At the elementary level, the center will host a monthly I-Tel day, where families can bring their children for storytelling of Filipino folk tales, stories from the Manongs (original I-Hotel residents) and other community members of their time in the Philippines. In doing so, parents will have a free recreational activity for their children that fosters a personal connection to the physical space.

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Mock up of I-Tel Arts & Crafts

At the intermediate level (6th to 8th grades,) I-Tel days will give young adults more agency in sharing their stories. Manilatown will turn the tables on who is telling the story by giving the students an opportunity to share their experiences via arts, crafts, and poetry/ language arts. The theme for intermediate level students will build upon the day’s theme by adding a more specific subtheme.

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At the high school/college level, the internship program will have a new curriculum that aims to foster critical and well-informed leaders that have a greater understanding of the context of the I-Hotel. Each week will have a learning objective and corresponding reading material. To share this learning, there will be a weekly blogging/ vlogging prompt to be published on the official I-Tel tumblr blog. In doing so, this learning can be shared with the greater public.

Long Term Plan (25 Years):

The goal of my interpretive plan is to get the next generation of Filipino Americans to invest into the I-Hotel’s legacy and mission of bringing justice to the Filipino community at an early age. The elementary level activities depend upon volunteers, which can be leveraged off the internship program. At the intermediate level, the I-Hotel could publish an anthology of select student poetry, in addition to digitizing the art and literature onto their website for fresh content. From the internship program, as well as the collective of students that are ‘raised’ with the I-Hotel, I hope that a handful will feel compelled enough to give back to the program by leading it in the future. With the I-Hotel becoming a more distant event in the past, these programs will utilize the fall and rise of the I-Hotel as main learning point, but will focus on the a grander concept of shared heritage and community solidarity.

Filipino Migration and Social Mobility

The proposed interpretive project is an audio/video installation to be located along the west wall of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation Community center. Currently, on this wall there are mounted architectural remains from the original I-Hotel building in addition to framed photographs and a plaque that has the names of former I-Hotel residents. The audience for this installation will be people who visit the Manilatown Heritage Foundation Community Center. As such, people visit the center for different purposes either to volunteer, curate materials, participate in ongoing events, facilitate community meetings, and other activities that involve formal and informal meetings. This audio/video installation will give primacy to the human sense of vision and the human sense of hearing to convey information. Visuals will be displayed through an overhead projector and projected onto the wall. Audio will be played back through mountains speakers in the rafters overhead.
Figure — Tony Robles points describing the mounted installation in the Manilatown Heritage Foundation Center

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Tony Robles describing the International Hotel brick installation inside the Manilatown Center.

The project is titled “Filipino Immigration and Social Mobility in the San Francisco Bay Area and the United States of America” and it is an audio/visual installation. This type of installation is commonly used in museum and interpretive center settings. Generally, the installation consists of a screen, an overhead visual projector, audio speakers and a playback device. The visual projector and the audio speakers are linked to a playback device–a DVD player or computer–and the digital file from the playback device is rendered visually to the screen and kinetically to the speakers.

The proposed playback time is 15-30 minutes and will consists of a synthesized story of Filipino immigration to North America, history of I-Hotel in San Francisco, interviews with former residents, interviews with the children of former residents, and maps that show the concentrations of Filipino people in the Bay Area and in the United States. This synthesized story will pool resources available to staff at the Manilatown Heritage Foundation Community Center and will develop new resources through the production of visuals and interviews. First step in the development of this installation is an inventory of materials that have information about immigration and social mobility in the archives and an inventory of the skills and training available at hand from staff members and volunteers who work at Manilatown Heritage Foundation Community Center. This step identifies the equipment, materials and skills and training needed to complete the project. Furthermore, this step helps to develop a timetable for the completion of the project. Thereafter the project is split into phases. Phase one consists of digitization of archival materials (if needed) and procurement of audio/visual equipment and construction of installation. Phase two consists of research, design and rendering of infographics/maps that show how the Filipino population has changed in socioeconomic and residential status since the inception of I-Hotel. Phase three consists of interviews with former residents and their descendents. And Phase four consists of production of the proposed synthesized story–storyboarding, drafting, critiquing, and approval from the Manilatown Heritage Foundation board of directors.

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A mockup of Manilatown Center brick installation. Images will be projected on bricks.

Short Term (5 years):
This project contributes to the sustainability of not only the Manilatown Heritage Foundation Community Center, but also the sustainability of Filipino heritage in San Francisco. This proposal has to potential to pool resources that are available–archival materials held in trust by the Manilatown Heritage Foundation–with new equipment and skills to facilitate the creation of this installation. As such, it helps train staff and make materials accessible to visitors which overlaps with the themes of social justice activism, community organization and labor rights. The message conveyed through this installation presences Filipino history within San Francisco thus contributing to the sustainably of Filipino heritage more generally in the Bay Area.

Long-Term (25 years):
The changing demographics of the San Francisco Bay Area are changing rapidly. The International Hotel Manilatown Center is one of a handful of places that showcase social justice and equity within the rapidly gentrifying San Francisco urban landscape. Over the long-term then, the skills and training gathered and distributed with this installation works towards fashioning a longer vision for the Manilatown Heritage Foundation. The skills and training offered through the creation of the installation in terms of content and performance offer the chance to create new workflows for other aspects of the foundation. To continue the longevity of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, this installation acts as an incubator of skills and training that work from within to continue the sustainability of International Hotel.

Appraisal: Community

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The I-Hotel is first and foremost linked to the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, which manages its legacy. The rise of the I-Hotel is attributes to collaboration amongst various community organizations, which the Manilatown Heritage Foundation continues to do with community organizations, government agencies, and educational instituions through program collaboration in the spirit of its rebuilding. National interest in the site stems from the over 3.5 million Filipino Americans whose resilient history is embodied by the fall and rise of the I-Hotel. International interest stems from the over 7 million Filipino migrants who have relocated throughout the world, yet share a similar experience to the Manongs who occupied the I-Hotel after migrating to the United States. On a grander scale, communities of color can relate to the solidarity embodied in the I-Hotel movement.

jon2

The I-Hotel’s current stewards serve on a volunteer basis and train future stewards through an internship program. However, the site struggles with garnering an investment from the next generation, as many of its current stewards are older. The Foundation relies on data provided by the narratives of the original tenants of the I-Hotel as well as accounts from others that were involved. The foundation invests much of its time and energy into educating its visitors via galleries, tours, and programs. Improvements can be made for visitors to access digital content via the internet. The shift in demographics has caused the I-Hotel to be located in a largely Chinese American community, and thus its programs do not directly serve its surrounding neighbors, raising a contestation between historic location versus current situation. However, it is not to be said that these neighbors are not welcome to these programs.

A large Filipino American population resides in the SoMa district, and the location is easily accessible by means of public transportation. In terms of the site as a destination, there is a need for a clearer distinction to be made between the I-Hotel and the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, as the former is a residential building not affiliated with commemorating the site’s legacy. A docent can provide a guided tour of the new I-Hotel, however, much of the information to be grappled with is located in the Manilatown Heritage Foundation center, located in a separate space at the first floor of the I-Hotel. Because of the not-for-profit model of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, it is accessible to various economic backgrounds, but not necessarily sustainable as a financial entity. It has a minimal impact on the environment and does not output a significant amount of waste from its programs. A primary constraint to implementation of further programming is funding. A potential threat could be the looming real estate prices in San Francisco and how that could play a role in the Manilatown Heritage Foundation maintaining its current space.

Description

The new International Hotel building is a senior residential complex and a community center. Additionally, the site is listed on the U.S. National register of historic places (NRHP). The new building is bounded between Chinatown and the Financial District where a few blocks away from the city’s iconic Transamerica Pyramid is and represents the last vestige of San Francisco’s historic Manilatown. International Hotel consists of 104 residential units for low income senior citizens. The majority of these residents are Chinese, but other Asian Americans also live at International Hotel. The International Hotel Manilatown Center is also located in the building. The International Hotel Manilatown Center is a community center that is run by the Manilatown Heritage Foundation and it is the place was active heritage work takes place. The International Hotel Manilatown Center is an exhibition and community space that serves the citizens of the City and County of San Francisco. The Manilatown Heritage Foundation sponsors events and programming that promotes Filipino heritage and social justice.

Appraisal-Significance of the Place

Values/Mission: According to the Manilatown Heritage Foundation’s official website “The mission of Manilatown Heritage Foundation is to promote social and economic justice for Filipinos in the United States by preserving our history, advocating for equal access, and advancing our arts and culture”. In full support of the Filipino community and other community-based organizations, the Manilatown community upholds certain democratic and liberating values as follows:

  •  Bridging cultures and generations
  • Encouraging critical conversations within the community –
  • Building community across generations by fostering cultural roots grounded in history and guided by the love of community.
  •  Maintaining organizational integrity and respect.

Management Assessment: The Board of Directors of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation are the primary stewards of the International Hotel Manilatown Center. They are:

  • Tony Robles, Board President
  • Caroline Cabading, Vice President & Acting Executive Director
  • Theresa Imperial, Secretary
  • Desu Sorro, Treasurer
  • Chelsea Mariotti, Board Member
  • Carmencita Montecarlo Choy, Board Member
  • Carlos Zialcita, Board Member

They are responsible for ensuring the continued existence of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation and the programing at the International Hotel Manilatown Center. Constraints: A fundamental constraint that the Manilatown Heritage Foundation faces is the lack of funding. The heritage foundation is currently a non-profit organization and heavily relies on donations to maintain open doors. The Manilatown Heritage Foundation is run primarily on a volunteer staff basis, which leads the foundation to have shorter visitation hours and tour guides available. Another paramount constraint The I-Hotel faces is the reality of the changing demographic. The I-Hotel faces the issue of reaching out to a population that has been physically dispersed over the years as well as broadening their social mission to include individuals who were not part of the initial population group. Opportunities: The Manilatown Center is located on the ground floor of the I-Hotel, serving the community in multiple ways. The space is defined as fluid and flexible place for gathering, remembering, and interacting. Along with displaying new upcoming artists the Manilatown Heritage Foundation also hosts talk stories, book signings, music events, private non-profit rentals, legal clinics, senior movies, performances, and much more. Moreover, there is also an extensive archives program, which digitally documents historic audio, video, photos, and news articles pertaining to Manilatown and the struggle for fair housing.

Interpretive Plan, Official Manilatown App

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 5.48.57 PMImplementation (Action Plan)

Theme: Community Organization and Outreach

This Interpretive plan incorporates the Team project theme of community organization and outreach via a mobile app. This format was chosen primarily to serve as a of encouraging the younger generation to be informed, involved, and further interested in the history behind the International Hotel and the Manilatown heritage Foundation with easy accessibility.
-The app also includes a feature that allows users to directly engage with displays by accessing audio testimonies and narratives to photographs by location based technology.
-The platform paves a pathway for the exchange of information that was not possible without the collective effort of the users of the app.
-The application permits visitors the chance to connect with other visitors as they post and share their stories thereby creating an online community that is specific to the International Hotel. -The app contributes to the International Hotel’s efforts to engage with the community in creative ways while emphasizing the importance of community. The Manilatown Heritage Center is the physical reminder of the Filipino-American community created by and for the community. The Manilatown Heritage Foundation app is an online extension of the continuous effort to preserve and promote the presence of the community for the community.

Short-term plan (5 years):
The short-term implementation plan of the Official Manilatown Heritage Foundation app involves broadening the user base of the app. The plan is to initially target tech savvy groups such as high school and college students in order to develop their interest in the International-Hotel and its tumulus past with renter’s rights. The app also caters to those individuals who are unable to physically visit the location through its gallery feature, which allows access to the archive database of countless photographs and other media. Through this plan the Manilatown Heritage Foundation can hope to see a new wave of visitors, online and offline, who are interested in the further preservation and conservation of the I-Hotel.

Long term-plan (25 years):
The long-term implementation plan of the Official Manilatown Heritage App is to eventually turn a portion of the users of the application into future stewards of I-Hotel. Due to the changing demographic of San Francisco, I-Hotel is faced with the issue of catering to a community that is no longer largely present in that location. The Official Manilatown app aims to start a movement to bring people back to the battleground of renter’s rights and highlight the significant role the I-Hotel played in them. The reestablishment of the Manilatown community requires a new generation of people who are willing to rally around the I-Hotel and further promote its presence. Moreover, the app’s long-term goal is to bring the I-Hotel to the attention of additional visitors and potential stakeholders who otherwise would have not have access to information of and provided by the International hotel.

History

The original International Hotel building was built after the San Francisco Earth Quake. It became popular with Filipino laborers and quickly became the epicenter of historic Manilatown. For thousands of newly arrived migrants from the Philippines International Hotel played a major role in the socialization and upward mobility of many Filipino people.

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The original International Hotel building was built after the San Francisco Earthquake in 1907.

However, in 1968, Milton Meyer purchased International Hotel and made plans to redevelop the property. That October, tenants were served an order to evacuate the property by January 1, 1979.

The following year a fire destroyed the third floor of International Hotel resulting in three deaths. It is still unclear how the fire started. The damage notwithstanding, in the summer and fall months of 1969 volunteers organized to rebuild the damaged floor. This raised the spirit of activism among many people who were linked to International Hotel. As such, the following spring of 1970 a community center and a book store were established in the first floor storefronts of International Hotel. Two years later, the tenets of International Hotel organized and founded the International Hotel Tenants Association, so they could better organize to fight evictions

Less than one year later the For Seas Investment Company purchased International Hotel from Milton Meyer and the company orders tenants to vacate the property the following year in 1974. For three years the International Hotel Tenants Association led a grassroots effort to stop the evictions. This effort gained a high profile that in 1976 then Mayor of San Francisco George Moscone proposes that eminent domain be used to keep International Hotel out of the private real estate market. This sparked a major grassroots effort to take the International Hotel public. The community mobilized its efforts to stop evictions. Local Bay Area universities such as UC-Berkeley and San Francisco State University organized student protests and demonstrates against eviction. However, the eviction order was sent, but the local Sheriff refused to serve the eviction. Furthermore, the San Francisco court rejects the appeal for eminent domain exhausting the last legal effort to stop evictions. Finally, on August 4, 1977 more than ten years after the first eviction order was served tenets of International Hotel were forcefully evicted from the property.

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Local university students joined with International Hotel residents and local activists to prevent evictions.

Although tenants eventually lost the fight to keep their homes, ten years of struggle developed advocacy skills and training for many people. This struggle served as a launching point for many prominent Bay Area activists. In fact, San Francisco’s current Mayor Ed Lee participated in the fight to stop evictions. Yet the amazing grassroots effort to save the residents’ homes was not enough and the International Hotel was demolished shortly after the last person moved out. But this demolition lead to more activism and prompts then Mayor Dianne Feinstein to establish the International Hotel Block Development Citizens Advisory Committee in 1979. This lead to financial investments and zoning ordinances that blocked the Four Seas Investment Corporation from moving forward to development plans. For ten years the Four Seas Investment Corporation negotiated with the International Hotel Block Development Citizens Advisory Committee, but eventually the Four Seas had to withdraw citing financial infeasibility.

During the 1990’s the International Hotel Block Development Citizens Advisory Committee collaborated with St. Mary’s Chinese Schools and Catholic Schools and Chinatown Community Development Center to develop a new International Hotel building. In 1994 the United States Housing and Urban Development Department grants 8.3 million dollars to help the Chinatown Community Development Center and the International Hotel Block Development Citizens Advisory Committee to develop a new senior citizen residential complex. In the 1990s the Manilatown Heritage Foundation was established in an effort to track down former residents and construct a narrative of International Hotel. Furthermore, in 1998 the Four Seas Investment Corporations sells the property to the San Francisco Archdiocese which paved the way for construction of a new residential complex to be name International Hotel. So between the years of 1998 and 2005 the Chinatown Community Development Corporation develops a new International Hotel building. The new building consists of 104 units of senior housing and a community space for the Manilatown Heritage Foundation. On August 26, 2005 the new International Hotel and International Hotel Manilatown Center opens to the public.

International Hotel, 848 Kearny St, San Francisco

The new International Hotel building opened in 2005.