San Francisco

Local Code: Real Estates

Digital techniques transform abandoned public land into a new urban ecology

SPUR presents Local Code: Real Estates, an exhibition by Berkeley faculty Nicholas de Monchaux. His proposal uses geospatial analysis to identify thousands of publicly owned abandoned sites, imagining this distributed, vacant landscape as the basis for a new, green infrastructure. The exhibition includes more than two hundred models of proposed designs for leftover space in San Francisco, milled from abandoned lumber, each lasercut and etched to form part of a new landscape.

Local Code: Real Estates details de Monchaux’s vision for replenishing San Francisco’s 529 acres of “unaccepted streets,” leftover parcels whose presence tracks such pressing urban issues as pollution, impeded stormwater drainage and urban heat islands, as well as more intangible hazards like asthma, diabetes, and crime. Local Code’s quantifiable effects would eradicate the need for more expensive, yet invisible, infrastructural upgrades. In addition, the project proposes new forms of citizen participation to create a robust network of urban greenways with tangible benefits to the health and safety of every citizen.