Emily Peckenham

Portable Parks Pop Up All Over Downtown San Francisco

by , 09/14/11

Green design, Urban Planning, Parklet, Public Space, Conceptual Art, San Francisco, Conger Moss Guillard, Yerba Buena Center, Street Life

CMG Landscape Architects designed Yerba Buena’s new Parkmobiles: tiny portable gardens housed in dumpster-style containers. The mini-gardens are just one part of the Street Life Plan’s strategy to address the need for improved public spaces. The six rotating Parkmobiles are a complement to the existing San Francisco “parklet” program, but instead of reclaiming parking spaces to create seating areas, the parking spaces will be “borrowed” temporarily.  The Street Life Plan found that Yerba Buena community members would like to develop a sense of place and utilize neglected public spaces – Parkmobiles are one way to make a monotonous streetscape more unique.

CMG’s project was inspired by a city permitting process that allows dumpsters to temporarily occupy a parking spot.  Intended for construction debris bins, the Yerba Buena Parkmobiles are large sturdy boxes that can be easily towed away and moved to a new location.  Project creators envisioned Parkmobiles as a challenge to the idea that the densely built-up downtown area has no room for gardens. The mobile gardens will also contribute to making the streetscape more spontaneous - bright green vegetation peeking out from the sturdy red containers could have a renewing effect on a deserted alleyway or barren concrete corner.

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