Mayor London N. Breed Appoints Lydia So to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Board of Directors

Former Historic Preservation Commissioner and Architect Lydia So has been nominated by Mayor Breed to the seven-member SFMTA Board of Directors
June 16, 2023

San Francisco, CA - Mayor London Breed today announced the nomination of recent Historic Preservation Commissioner and Portsmouth Square Board Member, Lydia So to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors.  

An advocate for cultural equity and sustainable urban growth, Lydia previously served on the Arts Commission where she provided a vision for City planning, improved design quality of City owned properties, and regulated the 1%-for-art-program. As liaison to the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, Lydia supported affordable housing production for all San Franciscans.    

"Lydia has extensive experience in public service and has been a longtime advocate for San Francisco and her community,” said Mayor London Breed. “With her knowledge and commitment to serving our communities, I am confident Lydia will be able to work closely with the SFMTA on addressing transportation issues and advancing transit priorities that are critical to continue to move our City forward.”  

Prior to founding her own architecture firm in 2015 to improve the living environments and cultural equities of families and business owners in the Bay Area, Lydia managed the Apple retail real estate team in North America.  

“Public transit connects people to their community. I am honored to have Mayor Breed’s trust to take on this leadership opportunity to improve the public transit system in San Francisco, especially during a time this city is recovering from the pandemic,” said Lydia So.  

Lydia was the first AAPI woman architect promoted to Associate at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, honing her design skills while trailblazing the technical aspects of architecture and engineering practice.  

“Lydia So is highly qualified to the Board of the MTA, particularly when it comes to ensuring the safety and accessibility of public transportation for seniors and addressing the needs of monolingual minorities,” said Annie Chung, President and CEO of Self Help for the Elderly. “Her expertise in cultural and heritage appropriateness would contribute to the development of inclusive and respectful transportation policies. Considering the importance of MUNI as a lifeline for many seniors and the diverse communities it serves, having someone like Lydia on the board could greatly benefit these populations and promote dignity and pride in aging.”  

Lydia’s practice has had positive impacts on regional urban growth, transit-oriented developments and sustainability. Her global experience includes working on the design of some of the world’s tallest buildings, most advanced life science buildings, and the world’s first all glass spiral staircase.  

“It’s exciting that Mayor Breed has nominated Lydia So to the MTA Board,” said Malcolm Yeung, Executive Director of the Chinatown CDC. “Lydia brings a unique skill set. She understands places, land use and the built environment.  But more importantly, she understands the critical role transit plays in keeping unique environments vital. Lydia will be an incredible addition to the MTA Board.”  

Lydia lives in San Francisco with her family and has been a longtime resident of the Mission neighborhood. She is Chinese American and fluent in English and Cantonese.