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Pavement to Parks Program in San Francisco

Pavement to Parks Program in San Francisco - Herman Garris

Some months ago, I remember that many cities and towns celebrated "parking day" all over the world. This was an event whose purpose was to generate awareness about the importance of how to use and benefit from available public spaces. I have been noticing that several pavements have been transformed into community spaces filled with plants, or converted into mini-parks here in San Francisco.

In San Francisco, such projects are known as "Pavement to Parks" programs. They have helped create public spaces.  It has been done by reclaiming surplus roadways for this purpose. This has been made possible through some simple and inexpensive design interventions. What is unique and innovative about such paving in Edmonton projects is not the design but their implementation. It has been explained by the urban designers in the San Francisco Planning Department that such projects have changed the very face of planning by allowing the public spaces to evolve over a period of time as there is no fixed and planned structure in place to carry out something like this.

"Pavement to Parks" program has become popular because of the tremendous success of projects of a similar kind in New York City. I have read about the special transformation of Broadway, particularly from the forty-second to the forty-seventh streets and from the thirty-third to the thirty-fifth streets. Public seating sections and plazas have been made where there were surplus roadways. This was done simply by painting the surfaces and placing some protective barriers along the edges, and also by installing chairs and tables. "High Line" project has received coverage by the media. out of the important projects in New York City.  

This specific approach has helped divert resources that would have otherwise gone into landfills. The budget for such programs is not so high. The composted soil will come from the plants and the city landscaping which will either be donated or bought at cost basis. Community residents and volunteers are recruited to make the streetscape look attractive as they work in neighbourhood groups. The Mayor of the city has also encouraged initiatives to offer landscapes that are "edible" throughout this city. Fruit trees are being planned at various locations. There is scope for adding stpr water management to the streets.

Out of this program, the three main pilot parks have been created to change an unattractive intersection in San Jose and twenty-eighth streets on the outskirts of the Mission District in San Francisco.


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