The SFMTA recently unveiled an art installation at the Powell Street Cable Car turnaround that identifies each of San Francisco's sister cities.
From Krakow, Poland to Cork, Ireland, residents and visitors alike are able to view the direction of each city and their distance from it. Our question is: What makes a sister city?
Sister Cities International describes them as "a broad-based, long-term partnership between two communities in two countries... [each sister city] pursues the activities and thematic areas that are important to them and their community including municipal, business, trade, educational, and cultural exchanges and projects with their sister city."
San Francisco's first sister city, Osaka, Japan, established a relationship in 1957 with the intent of building both friendship and commerce. This association has led to such developments as the unveiling of "Osaka Way" in Japantown. Our most recent sister city connection was made in 2017. Kiel, Germany serves as one of the most major-maritime centers of Germany, sharing a mutual appreciation for the Bay's sailing pastime.
Mayor Mark Farrell emphasized the importance of this installment in light of recent immigration news, stating that "in this era today with our federal government, where we are building walls, we are tearing down relationships, we are literally creating tariffs....we are leading the way in a different manner."
// To find out more information on each of San Francisco's sister cities, visit the SFMTA's International Program Page.
Christopher is a contributing writer located in the East Bay. He is likely to be found in any of San Francisco’s parks with his mutt, Leia, sunglasses on face and book in hand.