Gallery: A Look Into San Francisco’s Downtown Secret Gardens

The downtown Financial District of San Francisco is a densely built urban network of high-rise office buildings, busy streets, and narrow, shaded sidewalks. However, hidden in this grid of grey concrete and asphalt are dozens of tiny parks, terraces, gardens and public art installations known as “Privately Owned Public Open Spaces” or "POPOS". Since 1985, San Francisco has required that any new large developments or office buildings also create publicly accessible open spaces. San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR) conducted a research project on these spaces and compiled a guide so city dwellers could seek out a sunny spot for lunch or a quiet nook to read in. What’s even better is there are several new spaces that have been completed even since SPUR’s guide came out in back 2009. While these spaces are technically public, they are not always easy to find. Some spaces are street level courtyards, but others require signing in at a building's front desk and taking an elevator, or simply spotting a tiny sign that indicates a public space is nearby. We scouted out the newest open spaces for you so can easily find one of San Francisco's secret gardens for your next coffee break or lunch date!

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