by Paul Jaffe
The entire family of San Francisco city agencies responsible for maintaining its streets made an unconventional decision to close a portion of a street to cars and convert the new space into a simple, yet elegant, public plaza. The project combines all the important elements of plaza creation that have been successful in New York City and elsewhere: take space from cars, use simple treatments to convert the space into a pedestrian sanctuary, including movable furniture and leftover granite blocks from city salvage yards, and engage commercial interests around the plaza to help maintain and care for the new public realm.
Though some neighborhood constituents voiced skepticism that the plaza would be empty at best, or filled with miscreants and vagabonds at worst, the plaza's success is hard to dispute. In fact, so many people are using the new space and enjoying the tables and chairs, the businesses around the plaza have contemplated leaving the furniture out later than sunset, which was the initial closing time agreed upon between them and the Castro/Upper Market Community Betterment District. This film takes an in-depth look at the construction of the plaza with some of the agencies responsible for it, and includes some entertaining man-on-the-street interviews.
This piece originally appeared in Streetfilms.
lol @ Gavin Newsom's large face in the beginning still.