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Streetfilms: Making Public Space from Pavement in SF

12:48 PM PDT on June 29, 2009

The entire family of San Francisco city agencies responsible for
maintaining its streets made an unconventional decision to close a
portion of a street to cars and convert the new space into a simple,
yet elegant, public plaza.  The project combines all the important
elements of plaza creation that have been successful in New York City
and elsewhere: take space from cars, use simple treatments to convert
the space into a pedestrian sanctuary, including movable furniture and
leftover granite blocks from city salvage yards, and engage commercial
interests around the plaza to help maintain and care for the new public
realm.

Though some neighborhood constituents voiced skepticism that the
plaza would be empty at best, or filled with miscreants and vagabonds
at worst, the plaza's success is hard to dispute. In fact, so many
people are using the new space and enjoying the tables and chairs, the
businesses around the plaza have contemplated leaving the furniture out
later than sunset, which was the initial closing time agreed upon
between them and the Castro/Upper Market Community Betterment
District.  This film takes an in-depth look at the construction of the
plaza with some of the agencies responsible for it, and includes some
entertaining man-on-the-street interviews.

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