Blog » public space
- March 1, 2010BY ELIZABETH HOLDEN
After learning about new plans for San Francisco's public realm—widened sidewalks and bike lanes on Cesar Chavez Street and throughout the Mission District, a complete makeover of Fisherman’s Wharf—it was time to tackle a public space issue ourselves: Market Street.
SPUR teamed up with Next American City and the AIA to host an interactive charrette. Building on the Better Market Street Project, we brainstormed the transformation of Market into our city's grand boulevard and anchor.
[Image: Nelson Nygaard]
Jeff Tumlin of Nelson Nygaard kicked things off with an outline of what makes a great street: it invites participation, teems with people and offers transparency. It challenges our assumptions, inspires and surprises, plays with light and shadow and makes us feel sexy.
Brimming with sexy ideas, focus groups scattered to various corners of the urban center. Kim Havens of Wilson Meany Sullivan led the Commerce (Planning and Development) discussion and Karin Flood Eklund of MJM Management led Commerce (Shopping). Tim Papandreou of the SF Municipal Transportation Agency and Neal Patel (pictured) of the SF Bike Coalition facilitated the transit and bike conversations, and Jill Manton of the Public Arts Commission and Kit Hodge of the Great Streets Project took on public art and public space.
[Image: Colleen McHugh]
An interesting theme emerged: to achieve our goals, groups needed to work together. Sure, there were some specific requests, such as dedicated bus lanes and stop consolidation (transit) and regular exhibitions (public art). But the majority of ideas required a partnership. Commerce and public space needed help from public art programming to draw in crowds. Public art needed help from public space and transit for fresh new locations for work. Obviously successful transit and bike systems required cooperation. And the list went on.
So can we make Market Street an avenue of constant activity, our own Champs-Elysées? According to this charrette, if we work together, then yes.
- September 23, 2009BY JULIE KIM
New York Times columnist Allison Arieff penned a piece yesterday on the temporary parks and open spaces sprouting up in San Francisco and New York City--and the opportunity for land owners (in this soft economy) to lend their empty lots to grassroots greeners.
This image, from Arieff's column, shows the site of one of San Francisco's newest temporary plaza at the intersection of San Jose Avenue and Guerrero Streets:
The San Jose/Guerrero parks use simple materials--many of them recycled--to create instant atmosphere.
Arieff's column also featured many great images from PARK(ing) Day last week, as well as a link to a Streetsfilms segment featuring PARKS by SPUR and other members of the San Francisco Great Streets Coalition.
- June 25, 2009BY MARY
Times Square has under gone a transformation lately, with lounge chairs replacing traffic and conversations replacing honking taxis. This coned-off chunk off Broadway is one of a number of experiments with public space happening around the city. New York City's Department of Transportation is trying out various spots to see where roads currently set aside for traffic could be turned over to pedestrian and bikes without serious disruption. Like the project in Times Square, the first step is to stage the area with inexpensive, easily removable objects: large potted plants, beach umbrellas, tables and chairs. If it "works," if people use the space, it can made permanent. SPUR has recently teamed up with the Bicycle Coalition to work for the Great Streets Campaign, which wants to create similar urban spaces in San Francisco. The mayor of Bogata, Colombia, a leader in this movement, will be speaking at the San Francisco Public Library July 7th about successful strategies to make public urban space. Join in!