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Turning Empty Spaces into Street Parks

San Francisco turns underutilized public spaces between places into parks, gardens and green spaces to benefit our environment & communities

Photo of Kaitlin Strange
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The Street Parks program is a partnership between the San Francisco Parks Alliance and San Francisco Public Works (SFPW) to support the development and maintenance of community-managed open spaces on SFPW owned properties. The Parks Alliance leverages its experience in community organizing, open-space management, and volunteer coordination to help neighborhood groups beautify and activate public land on street medians, unused lots, and hillsides. 

These spaces bring people together while creating a more sustainable and resilient landscape. Concrete turns into bioswales and garden plots reducing water runoff and heat islands. Derelict and forgotten city corners transform into oases for birds, butterflies, and humans supporting a healthy and balanced ecosystem. 

This program was the first of its kind when it began and is now taking hold elsewhere. Interested in creating your own street park? Check out this handy San Francisco Street Parks Manual for all the details. Don't have time to build your own? Come volunteer and get your hands dirty!

I hope to see more cities embrace this local and community-focused approach to greening our urban environments. Seen something like this in your neighborhood? Let me know!

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Photo of Kévin MASSE

thanks for sharing this!

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