SOMA Pilipinas Cultural District Website

SOMA Pilipinas Cultural District Website

Communicating the Past, Present, and Future of a Cultural District.


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After World War II, San Francisco became a testing ground for the Urban Renewal movement that took hold across the country. Urban Renewal involved the relocation of businesses, the demolition of communities, and the displacement of people with the use of eminent domain.

San Francisco's culturally rich Western Addition, Fillmore, and South of Market Area (SOMA) neighborhoods were uprooted to make way for new development.

Then in April of 2016, after decades of displacement and protests from the community, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors passed legislation that would turn a large part of the SOMA into a Filipino Cultural district called SOMA Pilipinas

After a rebrand from Otherwise,  the SOMA Pilipinas working group came to Plinth to develop the new cultural district's website.


Create a website that sparks interest and support for the district, serves the people in the neighborhood, and is easy for community members to update.



Change the notion that SOMA WAS the home of a vibrant Filipino community to the FACT that the SOMA Pilipinas Cultural District IS STILL a community that is alive and growing.

With so much information to communicate, organizing and prioritizing the content would be key to achieving their goal.


SOMA PILIPINAS ISN’T A MUSEUM, It’s a vibrant growing community


Having endured decades of displacement, it was crucial that we communicate that SOMA Pilipinas isn’t a memorial to a community long gone.

To emphasize that the district is alive and growing, we put made it a point to focus on the people in community with the imagery we chose.



In order to present the district as a vibrant place filled with history, art, and culture, we directed a video to be used as the background for the hero image.

We made sure the video showed people of every generation, landmarks, and a glimpse of the events happening in SOMA Pilipinas.


Garnering support and giving a people a reason to come back

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A major goal of the website is to garner support and get people to participate in the district’s growth. We designed bold icons for the calls to action that immediately followed the intro copy.

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We put the always changing “Activities & Events” section upfront to encourage people to come explore the district and give people a reason to constantly visit the site.

We used a blog summary format for the events section so that SOMA Pilipinas staff can update and organize the section with no design or coding experience.



The SOMA Pilipinas website needed to do more than just attract visitors to the area, it also needed to be a resource for community members.

To make it easy for people to find the services we created icons representing the various types of services offered by community organizations.

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Designating space on the front page to show the current and future plans for the district let community members know what was being done to improve the neighborhood and helped to garner support from city officials.

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