Urban Planning: Parklets Diversify San Francisco’s Streets

On March 28, Christopher Pizzi, an architect in San Francisco, spoke about his experiences in the field of architecture, and specifically, urban planning. According to Wikipedia, urban planning is defined as “a technical and political process concerned with the use of land and design of the urban environment, including transportation networks, to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities”. Urban planning affects our lives every moment of every day, and we affect urban planning in an equal sense. One aspect of urban planning that I have been enamored with in San Francisco is the concept of the parklet.

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Introduced to the Bay Area in 2010, there are now nearly 40 models in the city of San Francisco alone. By re-purposing part of the street to incorporate plantings, bike parking, and areas for socializing, a space is introduced that breaks up the flow of the street and sidewalk, encouraging people to stop and experience the micro-environment. The process to getting a parklet established consists of four stages, totaling roughly 12-18 months:

  1. Pre-Design Stage: (~8 weeks)Notify other area property and business owners of the plans for the parklet, gather support letters. Submit application for parklet.
  2. Initial Proposal Review:  (~3 weeks) Review the desired location. Create public notice of intent. If objections are received a public hearing may occur.
  3. Design Development and Permit Issuance: (2-6 months) Preferably with the use of a designer, create appropriate final design for the space. Final design review occurs, permit issued at cost of $1500-2000.
  4. Construction Stage: (Up to 7 months) Construction occurs. Pre-installation inspection, installation of parklet, post-installation inspection.

 

Trouble Coffee in the Outer Sunset

Trouble Coffee in the Outer Sunset

 

The criteria for a successful parklet is very reasonable. San Francisco makes it pretty simple to take a great design and apply it to the street. Parklets bring an individual flair to neighborhoods and businesses that is very exciting. An environment is drastically changed by purposing it in a cozy, practical,and gorgeous way.

Tony's Pizza Napoletana in North Beach

Tony’s Pizza Napoletana in North Beach

 

A parklet in the Mission District

A parklet in the Mission District

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