SF Bay Guardian has an interesting article this week about how grassroots organizations like Rebar are affecting change in city policy. The article talks of how the tactics and actions of these outlaw urbanists, designers and artists of reclaiming “dead” urban environments are increasingly being adopted inside City Hall, resulting in an urban design revolution (that harkens back to the 70’s). To read the full article see here.
“Locally, the success of events like Park(ing) Day have changed San Francisco’s approach to urban spaces, particularly on land left dormant by the economic downturn. Rebar, the permaculture collective Upcycle, and former MyFarm manager Chris Burley plan to turn the old Hayes Valley freeway property near Octavia, between Oak and Fell streets, into a massive community garden and gathering space. Plans are being hatched for temporary uses on Rincon Hill properties approved for residential towers. “Green pod” seating areas are sprouting along Market Street and there are plans to extend the Sunday Streets road closures next year. And, perhaps most amazingly, most projects are being accomplished with very little funding.
How has San Francisco suddenly shifted into high gear when it comes to creating innovative new public spaces? The key is their common denominator: they’re all temporary. As such, they don’t require detailed studies, cumbersome approval processes, or the extensive outreach and input that can dampen the creative spark.
But San Francisco is starting to prove that dozens of short-term fixes can add up to a true transformation of the urban environment and the citizenry’s sense of possibility.”