Ranging from cute cafe-style seating areas to creative art installations and sunny urban gardens, parklets add a whimsical yet functional touch to otherwise dull streetscapes across the city. Public-private partnership is key to the parklet program, since a business owner must apply for and financially support the creation of the parklet. Although many parklets perform double duty as outdoor seating for nearby cafes, each parklet is officially a public space, and any San Franciscan is welcome to stop by, read a book, or catch some rays without purchasing anything.
One of the unique facets of San Francisco’s collection of parklets is the wide range of materials and functions each space encompasses. While some parklets are focused on the needs of the community at large – large bicycle racks, and outdoor space for eating and drinking – others bring a much-needed touch of greenery to barren corners or simply add visual interest to the neighborhood. With materials ranging from galvanized steel and planters to reclaimed wood and succulent topiaries, a variety of designers, architects, and landscapers have collaborated with business owners to create unique public spaces that display their talents to passersby.