Got a craving for some tangy sides with your cheese and crackers? It’s easy to quick-pickle some brightly colored fall beets from the farmer’s market. Learn how by checking out my latest photo how-to!
If you have a patio, deck, or backyard, you have a leg up on my tiny San Francisco apartment. That also means you can make a set of these cool recycled tin can votive lanterns for your next BBQ or party! I made them, but haven’t actually used them yet - just waiting for my indoor/outdoor garden party lifestyle to start! In the meantime, why don’t you make some? Check out my recent DIY post to see how.
New parklet outside of Devils’ Teeth Baking Company three blocks from Ocean Beach - within minutes of taking this photo, a fire truck pulled up and soon the parklet was filled with firemen drinking coffee and moms with kids enjoying a snack.
Check out my recent piece on parklets (ignore the icky interface and load time and focus on my photos and content, if you can!) in SF. Found out from the Planning Dept that there are dozens and dozens of interested businesses, groups, and individuals on the waiting list!
While some are clearly better designed and more popular than others, isn’t it fun just to see a different use for public space? It will be interesting to see where this program goes in the next several years. And hey, who hasn’t noticed that there’s nowhere to sit in the city anymore?
Current Harding Theater facade on Divisadero - image via CurbedSF
You know you’ve always wanted to see the inside of the famous and gothic “Russian Embassy” building on the corner of Alamo Square. Well here’s your chance! Come out for “Party Hard(ING)” at the Westerfeld Mansion on the evening of July 1st to participate in a fun community fundraiser + party to support the restoration of the long-neglected Harding Theater on Divisadero.
"Neighbors Developing Divisadero" is excited to get going on a commmunity-minded restoration and reclamation of the long vacant space. Not only will the Harding Theater retain it’s faux-Moorish glory (instead of being converted into yet more tasteless beige condos), it will also hopefully function as a community “hive” - featuring performance spaces, incubator rentals, street-facing retail spaces, and an outdoor garden/patio.
If you want to be involved in this project, you are part of the community so make your voice heard and let us know what YOU want to see happen with the space! NDDIVIS is recruiting like-minded “YIMBY”s to join the project - instead of just saying “no” to anything - say “yes” to the sort of projects you want and need in your community instead of letting developers make all the decisions for you!
Check out the details of the party and RSVP, or just show up! I’ll be there in my 1920s finery, selling tokens and ringleading the festivities. New neighbors San Franpsycho will be live silkscreening custom tees and there will be music, food, and drinks.
Manifest Destiny! A tiny pioneer’s cabin clings to a San Francisco high rise
Have you seen this neat piece of public art yet? If you were walking downtown around Bush and Grant, you’d have to look up above to spot it. A truly unique collaboration between designers Jenny Chapman and Mark Reigelman, this little cabin has a unique story and inspiration behind it. To read more, check out my recent article and interview, along with more photos of the cabin.
Do you work in downtown San Francisco? If you do, there’s a secret garden or roof terrace waiting for you to enjoy!
For years, San Francisco has required large downtown developments to build small publicly accessible open spaces. Intended to break up the palette of concrete, steel, and glass in a part of town distinctly lacking in parks, these spaces are known as “Privately Owned Publicly Spaces” or “POPOS”. Several years ago, preeminent urban planning and policy group SPUR put together a handy guide covering San Francisco’s downtown POPOS.
What’s even better, is that several new open spaces have been built since SPUR’s guide came out. Unfortunately, many of them are not easy to spot so you’ll need to have the location for your next lunch date figured out in advance. Look for the little brushed steel plaque designating a “Privately Owned Public Space” - but know that sometimes you’ll have to check in at a front desk or take an elevator to find it! I checked out the newest secret gardens for you so you’ll know where to go. Check out my recent article and photos to scope out some unique public art and sunny terraces for next time you find yourself in San Francisco’s Financial District!
Rendering of Cruise Terminal and spectator areas, SF Embarcadero (via AECOM)
Have you read about San Francisco’s preparations for the 2013 America’s Cup races? There’s going to be a lot of activity along the Embarcadero and SF Waterfront over the next few years, and it’s going to happen fast. While plans are not yet set, as funding is still being secured, it’s possible that SF will gain not only a new cruise terminal but also improvements to pedestrian and public transit infrastructure along the Embarcadero.
What do you think about the new cruise terminal, designed by Pfau Long and KMD? Do you think it’s going to improve the SF waterfront or is it just another Fisherman’s Wharf-style structure that you’ll never use unless you’re a visitor? What would you like to see happen to prepare SF for the America’s Cup? You can read more and see the renderings in my latest Inhabitat article here.
CITIES WITH FISH FARMS IN THE PARK AND FOG FUNNELS ON THE HILLS?
Photo via van Bergen Kolpa Architecten
I recently attended a lecture at the American Institute of Architects San Francisco space as part of the Architecture and the City Festival. SF-based IwamotoScott Architects and Rotterdam-based van Bergen Kolpa Architecten were on hand to present their conceptual designs. As part of the “Architecture of Conseqence” exhibit currently at the AIA-SF, both teams presented a unique and futuristic vision of how the cities and urban areas of tomorrow could combat resource shortages and population growth while treading lightly on the environment.
Pictured above is VBK’s “Park Supermarket”, which envisions creating everything from fruit orchards to rice paddies and fish ponds (above) in urban and semi-urban parks. Not only could advanced greenhouse and geothermal technologies be used to grow a global variety of food - locally - but citizens would also have an opportunity to engage with the “supermarket”.
IwamotoScott’s “Hydro Net” tackles the problem of water resources and urban infrastructure in a future-San Francisco. Along with tapping groundwater, “Hydro Net” could collect fog and grow algae in tall twisting residential complexes - which would later be used to produce biofuel and hydrogen to fuel flying transport pods!
Check out the exhibit while it’s still up, and for more details, check out my latest article on Inhabitat on these projects.
Photo via Conger Moss Guillard Landscape Architects
Have you seen a Parkmobile yet? You might have if you’ve been walking in downtown San Francisco near the MoMa or Yerba Buena Gardens! Be on the lookout for these bright red “dumpster” style boxed gardens - with attached benches - to roam about the district. Portable mini-gardens, the Parkmobiles will be moved periodically from parking space to parking space, taking advantage of a city permitting process for construction debris bins. CMG Landscape Architects has created Parkmobiles as part of the 10-year Yerba Buena Street Life plan, which aims to improve seating (thank god!) inadequate crosswalks (jaywalking downtown anyone?) and streetscapes (finally - a break in the gray concrete under gray skies!). Check out the cheery red mobile gardens next time you’re in the area. You can read more about the Street Life Plan and the Parkmobiles in my most recent article for Inhabitat.
Urbanist and architect Inaki Echeverria has spearheaded a proposal to create a giant urban park and waterscape in the central Mexico City valley that would regenerate an area once covered by a now dissipated Lake Texcoco. A prime example of a human landscape, the endorheic lakes and swamplands of the Mexico City area have been engineered, diked, and diverted since the time of the emperor Montezuma I back in the early 1400s. Today, the area is underutilized and polluted, despite its modern-day function as a stopover for many important north-south migratory bird species. Echeverria’s concept is an example of waterscaping as urban architecture, with holding ponds and wetlands functioning to absorb storm runoff and act as wastewater treatment plants for the urban fabric of Mexico City. You can read more and see more renderings in my latest article.