Pavement to Parks: The City of San Francisco

Curator: Peter Merholz
date: July 18, 2011
Categories: Experience Design
Tags: parks
Photo by Peter Merholz
Powell Street Parklet

Pavement to Parks is an initiative within San Francisco to (re-)claim unused or wasted space and turn them into desirable little areas with benches and plants. So far, nine parklets have sprung up all over the city, with the latest being this one along Powell Street near Union Square.

First came PARK(ing) Day, where San Franciscans decorated parking spaces as they saw fit. This movement turned into Pavement to Parks, inaugurated by the "Castro Commons" at 17th and Castro, which took an awkward stretch of pavement (oddly angled intersection and a trolley car stop) and made it a welcoming respite. The success of the Castro Commons trial encouraged the City of San Francisco to support a broader initiative, which has built parklets all over San Francisco.

The most recent, and ambitious, is the Powell Street Promenade, which spans two blocks (many of the parks are just two parking spaces long). Its conceptual designs were done pro bono by Royston, Hanamoto, Alley and Abey (RHAA) and BAR Architects.

A crucial feature of Pavement to Parks is that mutability of the design—the parks must be easily changeable (and, if necessary, removable), with the idea that they can evolve to suit the city's needs. 

Photo by Peter Merholz
Travelers rest in the park

  • guest

    Durability is probably lacking here – esp the wood.

  • San Francisco Music

    is more than words can ever say. It should be seen with your own eyes! If you
    visit this American city for the first time, you will probably remain
    speechless in front of all landmarks. So take some time to discover all the
    treasures placed there.

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