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EXPERIMENTING WITH  THE  MARGIN     PARKLETS  AND  PLAZAS       AS  CATALYSTS  IN  COMMUNITY  and  GOVERNMENT           by           Robin  Abad  Ocubillo                                         A  Thesis  Presented  to  the   FACULTY  OF  THE  USC  SCHOOL  OF  ARCHITECTURE   UNIVERSITY  OF  SOUTHERN  CALIFORNIA   In  Partial  Fulfillment  of  the     Requirements  for  the  Degree   MASTER  OF  LANDSCAPE  ARCHITECTURE      

            Copyright  2012    

August 2012  


Robin Abad  Ocubillo    

Acknowledgements       Thesis  Committee:       Rachel  Berney,  Ph.D.   Committee  Chair   Assistant  Professor,  School  of  Architecture   University  of  Southern  California     Robert  Harris,    FAIA,  Hon.  ASLA   Director,  Graduate  Landscape  Architecture  Program   Professor  Emeritus,  School  of  Architecture   University  of  Southern  California     Simon  Pastucha   Head,  Urban  Design  Studio   Los  Angeles  City  Planning  Department         Additional  Reviewers:       John  Kaliski     Vinayak  Bharne         Thank  you  to  all  the  ‘Parkleteers’  who  supported  this  study,  especially  those  who   generously  contributed  their  time  with  an  interview.  

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .............................................................................................................................. ii LIST  OF  TABLES ......................................................................................................................................... iv   LIST  OF  FIGURES ..........................................................................................................................................v   ABBREVIATIONS ......................................................................................................................................viii  

ABSTRACT ..................................................................................................................................x   CHAPTER  1  –  INTRODUCTION..............................................................................................1   1.1  –  EXPERIMENTING  WITH  THE  MARGIN ........................................................................................... 2   1.2  –  AREAS  OF  INVESTIGATION .............................................................................................................. 6   1.3  –  QUESTIONS .....................................................................................................................................18   1.4  –  METHODS  OF  INVESTIGATION ......................................................................................................19   CHAPTER  2  –  LITERATURE  REVIEW ............................................................................... 22   2.1  –  PLANNING  CONTEXT .....................................................................................................................23   2.2  –  FROM  TACTICS  TO  STRATEGIES  AND  BACK:  OVERLAPPING  URBANISMS ..............................34   2.3  –  THE  GENEALOGY  OF  PARKLETS  AND  PEDESTRIAN  PLAZAS ....................................................44   2.4  –  INTEGRATED  MODES  OF  SPATIAL  AND  SOCIAL  PRODUCTION .................................................58   2.5  –  OBJECTIVES  AND  OUTCOMES  OF  HEURISTIC  URBANISM ..........................................................68   CHAPTER  3  –  FINDINGS ....................................................................................................... 77   3.1  –  INNOVATION  AND  RESTRUCTURING ............................................................................................78   3.2  –  PRE-­‐EXISTING  CONDITIONS  AND  EMERGING  CRITERIA  FOR  VIABILITY .............................132   CHAPTER  4  –  CONCLUSION ............................................................................................. 151   4.1  –  RADICAL,  INCREMENTAL,  CATALYTIC ......................................................................................152   4.2  –  THE  PRESENT  AND  FUTURE  OF  HEURISTIC  URBANISM ........................................................155   4.3  –  EPILOGUE:    RECOMMENDATIONS  FOR  FURTHER  STUDY .......................................................185     ENDNOTES ............................................................................................................................ 189   BIBLIOGRAPHY ................................................................................................................... 199     APPENDIX  A  –  METHODOLOGY .......................................................................................................211   APPENDIX  B  –  CATALOGUE  OF  INTERVIEWS .................................................................................214   APPENDIX  C  –  CATALOGUE  OF  CASES ............................................................................................217   APPENDIX  D  –  INTERVIEW  TOOLS ..................................................................................................224   APPENDIX  E  –  HUMAN  SUBJECTS  REVIEW  EXEMPTION  /  APPROVAL  LETTER ........................238   APPENDIX  F  –  PARKLET  PERMITTING  FLOW  CHARTS.................................................................238    

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List of  Figures     Figure  1:  Categories  of  Public  Space  Intervention ...................................................................... 7   Figure  2:  Heuristic  Urbanism  model...............................................................................................21   Figure  3:    Parklet  at  Arlequin  Café, ..................................................................................................13   Figure  4:    'Curbside  Public  Seating  Platform'  or  Parklet ........................................................14   Figure  5:  "Castro  Commons”  Plaza ..................................................................................................15   Figure  6:  Typical  Parklet  and  Pedestrian  Plaza  Stakeholder  Structure...........................21   Figure  7:  Parklets  and  Plazas  in  a  Continuum  of  Permanence. ...........................................28   Figure  8:  Tactical  Spectrum ................................................................................................................37   Figure  9:    Guerilla  Sidewalk  Beautification..................................................................................39   Figure  10:    Heuristic  Urbanism  process  illustrated..................................................................44   Figure  11:    'Portable  Park  IV' .............................................................................................................46   Figure  12:    Hayes  Valley  Farm ...........................................................................................................47   Figure  13:  The  first  PARK(ing)  installation..................................................................................50   Figure  14:  Parklet  hosted  by  Caffé  Roma......................................................................................50   Figure  15:  ‘Community  Living  Room’ .............................................................................................55   Figure  16:    A  Historical  Timeline  for  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas  .............................56   Figure  17:  New  Sidewalk  Landscaping ..........................................................................................60   Figure  18:    Elmer  Avenue  Greenstreet...........................................................................................62   Figure  19:    What  Makes  a  Good  Place?...........................................................................................71   Figure  20:  ‘Deepistan  National  Parklet,’........................................................................................75  

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Figure 21:    Plaza  at  'Fowler  Square' ................................................................................................81   Figure  22:  'Pavement  to  Parks'  Inter-­‐Agency  Collaborators ................................................84   Figure  23:  ‘Showplace  Triangle’  Plaza............................................................................................86   Figure  24:    Interdepartmental  Staff  Committee  on  Traffic  and  Transportation..........88   Figure  25:    City  of  Long  Beach  Internal  Stakeholders .............................................................91   Figure  26:    City  of  Oakland  -­‐  Initial  Internal  Parklet  Stakeholders....................................96   Figure  27:    CicLAvia,  Saturday  April  10  2012 ..........................................................................103   Figure  28:    Map  of  Relevant  Council  Districts  in  Los  Angeles ...........................................106   Figure  29:    Sunset  Triangle  Plan ....................................................................................................109   Figure  30:    Sunset  Triangle  Stakeholder  Structure ...............................................................112   Figure  31:    Parklet  and  'Street  Porch'  Stakeholder  Structure...........................................114   Figure  32:    'Street  Porch'  on  York  Boulevard  in  Highland  Park,  Los  Angeles ............116   Figure  33:    Spring  Street  Parklet  Initiative    (Abad  Ocubillo  2012).................................118   Figure  34:    Four  Barrel  Coffee  Parklet.........................................................................................138   Figure  35:  A  network  of  design  and  planning  professionals .............................................118   Figure  36:    Concentric  Circles  of  Catalysis.................................................................................153   Figure  37:    Noe  Valley  Parklets ......................................................................................................160   Figure  38:      Parklet  signage  at  Absinthe  restaurant ..............................................................129   Figure  39:    Parklet  signage  at  the  'Squat  &  Gobble  Café’.....................................................129   Figure  40:    Standard  Cafe  Furniture,............................................................................................165   Figure  41:    Parklet  at  Lola's  Mexican  Cuisine...........................................................................167   Figure  42:    Parklet  access  should  not  be  restricted  or  regulated ....................................168   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


Figure 43:    Standard  Signage  for  NYC  'Public  Curbside  Seating  Platforms'................171   Figure  44:    "Priority  Map"  from  the  "NYC  Plaza  Program  Application  Guidelines" 173   Figure  45:    Freewheel  Bike  Shop  Parklet  and  Bike  Corral..................................................176   Figure  46:  40th  Street  Parklet.........................................................................................................177   Figure  47:    Fabric8  Parklet...............................................................................................................178   Figure  48:    Parkmobile.......................................................................................................................180   Figure  49:    Spring  Street  Parklet  Typologies............................................................................182   Figure  50:  The  Powell  Street  Promenade ..................................................................................184   Figure  51:  Parklet  Implementation  Process,  City  of  San  Francisco................................241   Figure  52:    Parklet  Implementation  Process,  City  of  Long  Beach....................................242   Figure  53:    Parklet  Implementation  Process,  City  of  Oakland ..........................................243    

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Abbreviations     BID       BOE       BSS       BTE     BSUM       CEDA       CBD       CD       CRA       DP       DOT       DPH       DPW       HOZ       IMA       ISCOTT     LA       LAC       LB      

Business Improvement  District   Bureau  of  Engineering  (Department  of  Public  Works)   Bureau  of  Street  Services   Bureau  of  Traffic  Engineering  (Department  of  Public  Works)   Bureau  of  Street  Use  and  Mapping  (City  of  San  Francisco)   Community  Economic  Development  Agency  (City  of  Oakland)   Community  Benefit  District   Council  District   Community  Redevelopment  Agency   Department  of  Planning   Department  of  Transportation  (City  of  Los  Angeles)   Department  of  Public  Health   Department  of  Public  Works   Historic  Overlay  Zone   Installation  and  Management  Agreement  (City  of  Long  Beach)   Interdepartmental  Staff  Committee  on  Transportation   Los  Angeles,  City  of   Loc  Angeles  County   Long  Beach,  City  of  

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LACBC     MTA       NYC       P2P       PLUMC         PWOP       S4P       SPC       RFP       ROW       SF       SFBC       SFGS       UDG       UDS       WOBO    

Los Angeles  County  Bicycle  Coalition   Municipal  Transportation  Agency  (San  Francisco)   New  York  City   Pavement  to  Parks  (City  of  San  Francisco)   Planning  and  Land  Use  Management  SubCommitte  (City  of  Los     Angeles)     Public  Walkways  Occupancy  Permit  (City  of  Long  Beach)   Streets  for  People  (City  of  Los  Angeles)   Street  Plans  Collaborative   Request  for  Proposals   Right-­‐of-­‐Way   San  Francisco,  City  and  County  of   San  Francisco  Bicycle  Coalition   San  Francisco  Great  Streets  (A  project  of  the  SFBC)   Urban  Design  Group  (San  Francisco  Planning  Department)   Urban  Design  Studio  (Los  Angeles  City  Planning  Department)   Walk  Oakland,  Bike  Oakland  

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Abstract Two   related   typologies   of   small-­‐scale,   experimental   urban   design   have   emerged   in   recent   years   as   a   synthesis   of   community   action   and   progressive   governmental   experimentation:   the   Parklet   and   the   Pedestrian   Plaza.     The   Parklet   occupies   curbside   parking   spaces   while   the   Pedestrian   Plaza   reclaims   excess   roadway,   often   at   irregular   intersections.     While   the   typologies   differ   in   physical   form,   both   emerge   from   a   common   thrust   of   experimental   action   redressing   the   urban   fabric   and   environment.     Together,   these   two   typologies   –   and   the   city   programs   created   to   facilitate   their   implementation   –   begin   to   define   a   process   of   Heuristic   Urbanism:     a   collaborative   practice   that   engages   urban   design   through   provisional  programs  and  projects  that  are  continually  self-­‐evaluating.    This  thesis   illustrates  how  the  Heuristic  Urbanism  of  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas  necessitates   innovation  within  city  government  through  the  assimilation  of  grassroots  initiatives.     A  literature  review  outlines  the  theoretical  and  practical  contexts  from  which   Heuristic   Urbanism   emerges;   suggests   the   evolutionary   heritage   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas;   and   examines   the   range   of   assumptions,   expectations,   and   outcomes   engendered   by   the   new   typologies   and   their   relatives.     The   thesis   then   leverages   interviews   with   over   65   individual   stakeholders   from   government,   advocacy   groups,   design   and   business   communities   in   four   California   cities   which   are  in  various  stages  of  advancing  Parklet  and  Pedestrian  Plaza  programs.  

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The findings   outline   the   evolution   of   Heuristic   Urbanism   in   California,   critiquing   the   modes   by   which   its   contributing   programs   are   initiated   and   implemented;   conditions   for   viable   projects;   and   the   observed   and   anticipated   impacts  of  those  programs  and  projects.   By   profiling   four   case   cities   where   urban   design   experiments   are   being   institutionalized   from   grassroots   actions   into   sanctioned   planning   objectives,   the   thesis   develops   a   narrative   of   how   this   Heuristic   Urbanism   is   being   disseminated   throughout   California.     While   the   study   identifies   some   elemental   commonalities   across  all  four  cities,  it  also  reveals  a  great  variation  in  the  respective  processes  of   each,  illustrating  how  the  process  of  Heuristic  Urbanism  adapts  in  unique  contexts.   The   discussion   then   moves   from   overarching   examination   of   program   development   to   circumstances   at   the   site   and   neighborhood   scale;   identifying   common   physical   and   social   conditions   as   pre-­‐requisites   for   Parklet   and   Plaza   viability.     This   set   of   conditions   is   generated   from   stakeholder   interviews   and   correlated   with   the   literature   review.     Here   the   thesis   articulates   a   coherent   practical   framework   for   evaluating   future   potential   sites   of   intervention;   engaging   the   dialectic   between   action,   research,   analysis,   and   refinement   that   characterizes   Heuristic  Urbanism.   The   study   concludes   with   a   discussion   on   the   long-­‐term   implications   of   Heuristic   Urbanism   for   urban   design   and   planning   practice.     Significant   and   recurring  themes  emerge  from  the  interviews;  defining  a  territory  which  addresses   public-­‐private   tensions,   the   role   of   design   professionals   in   activism   and   governance,   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


and the   catalytic   potential   of   Heuristic   Urbanism   for   re-­‐adapting   both   the   urban   fabric  and  modes  of  its  management.    

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Abad Ocubillo  2012  


1.1 –  Experimenting  With  the  Margin   Through   the   last   half   century   the   American   streetscape   has   suffered   significant   inattention,   to   the   grave   detriment   of   the   pedestrian   experience.     The   work   of   Donald   Appleyard   (1981),   Douglass   Lee   (1973),   Serge   Chermayeff   and   Christopher   Alexander   (1963),   Mike   Davis   (1990/2006),   Jane   Jacobs   (1961)   and   others   has   demonstrated   the   devastating   social   effects   of   rationalist   planning   and   auto-­‐centric   urban   design.   Furthermore,   the   literature   indicates   that   low-­‐income,   minority   communities   are   often   disproportionately   affected   by   proximity   to   highways,  the  absence  of  open  space  amenities,  and  services  accessible  by  walking.     This   environmental   injustice   correlates   with   higher   pollution   levels,   increased   disease  and  social  dystopia.   As  our  principal  open  space  network,  streets  embody  significant  potential  for   improving  urban  life.  In  this  complex  spatial  and  social   realm,  constructs  of  public   and  private  fuse  and  overlap;  modes  of  mobility  compete  for  space;  ecological  and   habitat  values  remain  largely  underdeveloped.    The  sidewalk  is  now,  perhaps  more   than  ever,  the  subject  of  exacting  scrutiny  and  a  venue  of  heightened  contestation.     It’s   functional,   physical   and   philosophical   extents   seem   to   expand   even   as   it   becomes  a  singular  focal  point  through  which  new  configurations  of  urban  life  are   envisioned  and  executed.   A   bourgeoning   movement   of   passionate   designers,   community   groups,   and   government   facilitators   has   emerged   in   recent   years   to   remake   the   streetscape   with  

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design experimentation.     A   robust   ethos   seems   to   inform   the   motivations   of   all   stakeholders   involved,   perceiving   streetscape   revolution   as   a   critical   mode   for   advancing   social   and   environmental   equity.     These   interventions   range   from   engineered   storm   water   gardens   and   permanent   ‘road   diets’   to   semi-­‐permanent,   ‘artscape’   outdoor   ‘living   rooms’   and   newly   formed  Pedestrian   Plazas.     The   Parklet   (San   Francisco)   recently   emerged   as   an   unprecedented   experimental   form.     Ideologically   aligned,   these   Programs   and   projects   seem   to   occur   through   varying   modes   of   social,   political,   and   design   engagement;   and   at   differing   levels   of   financial   support  from  private  and  public  sources.       1.1.1 – Relevance to Design  

Parklets and   Pedestrian   Plazas   are   design   products.     They   are   tactical  

responses to  the  environmental,  spatial,  and  social  dysfunction  of  our  streets,  which   comprise  up  to  25%  of  the  urban  ground  plane  (Sadik-­‐Khan  2011,  Seligman  2011).   This   translates   into  over  6,500  miles  of  streets  apiece  for  the  cities  of  Los  Angeles   and   New   York   (Sadik-­‐Khan   2011).   These   environments   –   products   of   traffic   engineering  –  require  immediate  attention  from  other  professions  which  are  more   attendant  to  humanistic  and  ecological  dimensions.     Currently,   the   public   realm   is   planned   and   administered   by   a   vast   array   of   agencies   (public   works,   traffic,   transit,   planning)   each   imbued   with   their   own   realm   of   oft-­‐conflicting   authority   (Ford   2000;   Garde   1999).     Collectively   –   though   not   necessarily   collaboratively   –   these   agencies   produce   the   streetscape   in   its  

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contemporary form.     Here,   landscape   architecture   can   play   a   role   integrating   the   interests  of  each  agency  through  the  lens  of  design   The   landscape   architecture   tradition   draws   upon   vast   aesthetic,   social   and   scientific   considerations   which   equip   it   for   design   experimentation   in   the   contemporary   streetscape.     Moreover,   when   considered   with   its   allied   disciplines   such   as   Architecture,   Urban   Design,   and   Planning,   Landscape   Architecture   most   consistently   incorporates   the   human   experience   with   ecological   (horticultural,   biological,   hydrological)   performance   criteria   within   its   practice.     Besides   the   human   and   ecological   aspects,   current   infrastructural   systems   are   also   under   examination   and   experimentation   by   landscape   architects.     Streets   –   within   which   infrastructure   such   as   energy,   freshwater,   sewage   and   storm   water   services   are   spatially   collocated   –   comprise   a   complex   realm   for   which   landscape   architecture   is   especially  suited  to  investigate.   Experimental   landscape   architecture   in   the   streetscape   can   effect   lasting   collaboration   between   disparate   government   agencies   while   mitigating   socio-­‐ ecological  dysfunction.    For  example  in  San  Francisco,  a  new  government  program   comprised   of   several   agencies   was   created   to   facilitate   Parklet   and   Plaza   installations.     This   case   demonstrates   how   the   mutual   desire   for   a   landscape   architecture   product   necessitated   the   reformation   of   policy   and   structures   of   civic   governance.  

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


1.1.2 – Issues and Dilemmas Throughout history,   streetscape   interventions   have   involved   a   complex   public-­‐private   dynamic.     Much   contemporary   experimentation   –   for   example   with   the  Plaza  Program  in  New  York  and  Pavement  to  Parks  Program  in  San  Francisco  –  is   based  on  a  public-­‐private  partnership.    At  the  very  least,  these  partnerships  impose   a   maintenance   and   management   burden   on   the   private   stakeholder;   at   the   very   most,   private   entities   fund   all   the   costs   of   design,   construction,   and   maintenance.     Extensive  literature  focuses  on  the  implications  of  the  private  management  of  public   space,   addressing   issues   of   policing   and   classicism   (Crawford   2008;   Davis   1990/2006;   Ehrenfeucht   and   Loukaitou-­‐Sideris   2009).     Again,   landscape   architecture   –   by   way   of   its   development   of   park   and   boulevard   typologies   in   modern   history   –   can   inform   the   design   and   execution   of   streetscapes   which   straddles  the  physical  and  legal  boundaries  between  the  public  and  private  realm.   Experimental   landscape   architecture   in   streetscapes   satisfies   a   wide   array   of   concerns,   both   conceptually   and   practically.     Notable   enterprises   include   the   Plaza   Program  in  New  York  City;  the  Pavement  to  Parks  program  in  San  Francisco,  Parklet   programs   in   Long   Beach   and   Oakland;   and   other   yet-­‐isolated   efforts   throughout   Los   Angeles.    By  investigating  these  phenomena,  the  landscape  architecture  profession   (along   with   urban   designers,   planners,   and   other   advocates)   can   systematically   understand   successful   experimental   approaches   for   retrofitting   existing   streetscapes  to  improve  the  social  and  ecological  functions  of  neighborhoods.  

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1.2    Areas  of  Investigation      

Experimental urban   design   can   take   many   forms   and   is   executed   through  

diverse modes  of  social,  political,  and  governmental  action.    This  study  investigates   those  cases  which  occur  within  or  adjacent  to  the  auto-­‐right-­‐of  way.    The  pervasive   spatial  and  social  extent  of  streets  has  already  been  discussed,  thus  narrowing  this   study  to  the  appropriation  of  auto-­‐exclusive  land  uses.       1.2.1 – Places, Projects and Programs This   study   focuses   on   two   regions   in   California   which   exhibit   significant   activity   or   potential   for   experimental   urban   design   within   the   right-­‐of-­‐way:   The   San   Francisco   Bay   Area   and   the   Los   Angeles   Region.     The   two   regions   –   with   their   respective  cities  –  provide  ample  potential  for  structural  comparison.    By  inquiring   with   design   professionals,   governments,   and   other   advocates   in   each   city,   models   of   implementation  emerge.   A   brief   presentation   of   experimental   urban   design   in   New   York   City   prefaces   the   discussion   of   California   cities;   providing   valuable   background.     In   NYC,   urban   design  experimentation  has  achieved  a  highly  regarded  and  institutionalized  status.     Underpinned  by  a  rich  and  thorough  heritage  of  urban  traditions  and  planning,  New   York’s  Plaza  Program  presents  an  ever-­‐relevant  model  for  study  and  appropriation.     Indeed,  the  Plaza  Program  in  New  York  has  directly  influenced  the  efforts  of  cities   elsewhere  in  the  country.     Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


Figure 1:  Categories  of  Public  Space  Intervention    (Abad  Ocubillo  2012).    The  typologies  examined  by  this  thesis  are   outlined  in  red.  


San Francisco’s  Pavement  to  Parks  Program  was  modeled  heavily  on  the  New  

York example.     San   Francisco’s   Pavement   to   Parks   program   just   completed   an   inaugural  two  years  and  can  be  understood  as  experimental  itself.    The  most  striking   features  of  the  San  Francisco  program  are  the  cross-­‐agency   coalition   on   one   hand,   and  on  the  other  hand,  the  emergence  of  the  Parklet,  an  unprecedented  public  space   typology   with   roots   in   avant-­‐garde   performance   art   endemic   to   San   Francisco.       A   research   focus   on   the   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   –   typologies   of   experimental  

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design –   sharpens   the   study   and   provides   a   ready   unit   of   investigation   in   all   four   concerned  cities.   San   Francisco   provides   a   rich   venue   for   discovering   how   ‘activist   architecture’,   ad-­‐hoc   urbanism,   and   the   initiatives   of   design   professionals   have   produced   not   only   landscapes   but   also   changes   in   policy   and   governance.     Describing   the   process   of   ‘bottom-­‐up’   urban   design   –   especially   that   emerging   explicitly  from  the  design  community  –  informs  potential  strategies  for  Los  Angeles   and   other   cities.     Here   the   thesis   identifies   three   other   cities   with   initiatives   that   parallel  those  in  New  York  and  San  Francisco.    The  study  tracks  possibilities  for  or   intentions   of   government,   community   organizations,   and   design   networks   to   institutionalize  experimental  programs  within  the  cities’  sanctioned  structures.    The   cities  examined  in  this  these  are  presented  order  of  their  relative  development:     1. The  City  and  County  of  San  Francisco   2. The  City  of  Long  Beach   3. The  City  of  Oakland   4. The  City  of  Los  Angeles  

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1.2.2 – Heuristic Urbanism

This thesis   examines   the   dialectical   relationships   between   urban   design  

experimentation and   planning;   tactics   and   strategies;   citizen   actions   and   government   policy.     The   recursive   interplay   between   these   overlapping   arenas   –   this  process  –  is  here  named  Heuristic  Urbanism.       Heuristic   Urbanism   observes   how   ephemeral,   renegade   actions   in   public   space  become  legible  to  and  assimilated  by  the  governance  regimes  of  cities.    This   assimilation   takes   the   form   of   permanent   legislation,   policies,   programs,   and   planning  imperatives.      This  process  of  institutionalization  –  resulting  in  great  part   from  grassroots  effort  –  entails  a  deeper  and  greater  citizen  involvement  that  tends   to  become  a  normative  and  engrained  element  of  the  new  policy  or  program.  

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Figure 2:   Heuristic   Urbanism   model     (Abad   Ocubillo   2012).     The   process   often   begins   with   a   radical   action   or   event   staged   by   radical   actors;   the   idea   then   becomes  institutionalized.    The  participation  of  radical  actors  –  and  the  radical  action  itself  –  becomes  normalized  within  this  process.    See  Figure  10  for  an   illustration  of  how  the  Parklet  became  a  Sanctioned  Typology.  


Heuristic Urbanism   refers   to   an   evolutionary   process   within   urban   design   rather   than   the   individual   constituent   actions,   typologies,   events,   tactics,   and   strategies   associated   with   that   process.     An   extensive   survey   of   those   actions,   typologies,   and   events   is   beyond   the   scope   of   this   thesis.     Instead,   this   study   focuses   on  two  new  and  related  urban  design  typologies  at  the  center  of  Heuristic  Urbanism:     the  Parklet  and  Pedestrian  Plaza.    

In outlining   the   shared   genealogy   of   Parklets   and   Plazas,   this   thesis   reveals  

four commonalities   which   characterize   the   two   interventions,   the   city   programs   through  which  they  are  implemented,  and  Heuristic  Urbanism:     1. Encroachment   onto   Auto-­‐Exclusive   Land   Use   –   Each   Program   deliberately   targets   the   automobile   right-­‐of-­‐way   for   opportunities   to   expand   the   pedestrian   realm.     This   fits   within   cities’   long-­‐term   intentions   to   create   more   spatial  balance  between  the  auto,  transit,  bicycle  and  pedestrian  modalities.   2. Experimental  Nature  –  Both  interventions  are  administered  under  programs   which   typically   begin   with   a   12-­‐month   pilot   phase.     Each   individual   project   usually  receives  a  provisional  permit  of  one  year  to  accommodate  monitoring   and  evaluation  on  a  site-­‐by-­‐site  basis.   3. Innovation  of  New  Government  Structures  and  programs  –  Parklet  and  Plaza     Programs   are   often   novel   inter-­‐departmental   partnerships   created   to   facilitate  implementation.    The  new  collaborative  program  is  self-­‐monitoring   –   becoming   more   sophisticated   through   successive   cycles   –   suggesting   exciting  potential  for  this  study,  and  for  longitudinal  analyses  as  well.     Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


4. Public-­‐Private Partnership   –   As   interventions   which   integrate   functional,   aesthetic,   and   experiential   considerations,   design   professionals   are   often   critical  initiators,  participants,  and  advocates  for  projects  and  programs.  This   community-­‐based   initiative,   sometimes   integrated   with   local   government   planning   activity,   can   predate   implementation   by   up   to   a   decade.   Furthermore,   the   public-­‐private   arrangement   also   aligns   with   the   fiscal   realities  of  governments,  who  rely  increasingly  upon  monetary  and  creative   investments   from   private   groups   and   citizens.     The   public-­‐private   structure   also  touches  issues  of  privatization,  policing,  and  design  ethics.     1.2.3 – The Parklet  

The term   ‘parklet’   has   heretofore   been   used   informally   to   refer   to   a   small  

urban park,   ‘mini   park’   or   ‘pocket   park’     (Gillool   2010;   Martin   1998;   The   Washington   Post   1967;     Z   Waugh   1947;   Zion   1962).     This   thesis   recognizes   the   Parklet   as   distinct   urban   design   typology   with   specific   spatial   characteristics   prototyped   in   San   Francisco:     the   Parklet   occupies   a   curbside   parking   lane,   often   reclaiming   contiguous   spaces,   functionally   expanding   the   pedestrian   realm   of   the   sidewalk.    

Parklet installations  are  essentially  temporary.    Projects  are  granted  permits  

on a   renewable   annual   basis,   which   implies   a   limit   to   their   lifetimes   and   their   potential   to   effect   –   as   individual   sites   or   cumulatively   –   more   permanent   interventions  and  policies.   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


Figure 3:     Parklet   at   Arlequin   Café,   Hayes   Street,   San   Francisco.     (Abad   Ocubillo   2012).       This   simple   platform   extends  from  the  sidewalk  into  the  curbside  parking  lane.    Most  other  Parklets  employ  a  greater  range  of  design   creativity   with   integral   seating,   unconventional   material   combinations   and   whimsical   plantings.     (Designer:“Arlequin  Café”)  

  Parklet   projects   are   funded   and   managed   exclusively   by   private   entities   (‘applicants,’  ‘sponsors’  or  ‘hosts’).    Only  one  city  in  California  surveyed  in  this  thesis   (Long   Beach)   allows   the   host   to   regulate   access   to   the   Parklet.     San   Francisco   stringently  stipulates  open  public  access  to  the  Parklet  as  a  condition  of  permitting.     Oakland  and  Los  Angeles,  both  in  various  stages  of  articulating  Parklet  regulations,   at  this  time  trend  towards  equal  public  access  as  well.1  

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The new   typology   described   here   as   the   Parklet   does   appear   elsewhere   under   different   monikers.     For   example,   the   New   York   City   Department   of   Transportation   refers   to   them   as   “Curbside   Public   Seating   Platforms”   or   “Pop   Up   Cafés”     (New   York   City   Department   of   Transportation   2011).   They   are   referred   to   alternatively   as   “Street   Porches”   or   “Street   Plazas”   in   community   planning   discussions   for   Northeast   Los   Angeles   (Newton   2012).   This   thesis   recognizes   all   interventions  that  share  the  same  programmatic  profile  outlined  above  as  Parklets.      

Figure   4:     'Curbside   Public   Seating   Platform'   or   Parklet   at   Cafe   Local,   144   Sullivan   Street,   Brooklyn.     (Designers:   Craig  and  Elizabeth  Walker;  Architect:  Sean  Gale)  

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1.2.4 – The Pedestrian Plaza

The term  ‘plaza’  is  imbued  with  rich  and  varied  meaning  in  western  culture  

which undergirds  its  application  to  the  specific  typology  studied  here.    In  this  thesis,   Pedestrian  Plaza  refers  directly  to  pedestrian  spaces  reclaimed  from  formerly  auto-­‐ exclusive   land   use;   often   at   irregular   intersections   or   along   the   margins   of   wide   roadways.     This   definition   comes   from   the   NYC   DOT   (2012a,   2012b),   which   by   originating   this   method   of   open   space   production,   formed   the   basis   for   like   procedures  in  San  Francisco  and  Los  Angeles.  

Figure 5:   "Castro   Commons”   Plaza     (Design   and   Rendering   by   Seth   Boor,   Boor   Bridges   Architecture   2009.   shown   with  permission).     Boor  generated  this  design  rendering  after  a  trial  street  closure  that  used  reclaimed  materials   and   temporary   barricades   (the   trial   phase   was   coordinated   by   Pavement   to   Parks,   The   Castro   CBD,   and   Public   Architecture).     The   second   and   permanent   phase   was   executed   using   Seth's   design   shown   here,   with   some   modifications  in  the  field.    The  checkered  surface  pattern  and  tall  planters  indicate  the  area  closed  to  auto  traffic.     See  Figure  23  and  Figure  29  for  examples  of  other  Pedestrian  Plaza  plans.  

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The ‘pilot’   phase   of   Pedestrian   Plazas   facilitates   two   crucial   aspects   of   experimentation:   performance   evaluation   and   resource   efficiency.     New   York   and   San   Francisco   systematically   study   the   impacts   of   road   closure   to   auto   traffic,   pedestrian  safety,  and  user  perception   (Dunlap   2009;   New   York   City   Department   of   Transportation   2011,   2012;   San   Francisco   Great   Streets   Project   2010,   2011).     In   terms   of   project   execution,   the   pilot   design   iterations   often   employ   recycled,   reclaimed   or   otherwise   inexpensive   materials   to   facilitate   speedy   implementation   (Arieff  2009).   Though   planning,   design,   and   implementation   is   funded   totally   or   in   large   part   by   their   host   cities,   Pedestrian   Plazas   are   often   predicated   on   significant,   longstanding   local   activism   of   community   groups,   associations,   and   Business   Improvement   Districts   (BIDs).     In   most   cases,   these   same   groups   also   assume   the   management,  maintenance,  and  programming  of  Plazas.    

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Table 1:    The  difference  between  Projects  and  Programs.     Programs  are  comprised  of  individual  Projects.    In  San   Francisco,  Parklet  and  Pedestrian  Plaza  Projects  are  administered  under  a  single  Program:  Pavement  to  Parks.    A   future  arrangement  for  Los  Angeles  could  also  place  Parklets,  Pedestrian  Plazas  –  and  even  other  related  typologies   –  within  a  single  Program.  

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1.3 -­  Questions    

The inquiry   in   this   thesis   is   guided   by   three   questions   examining   the   process  

of Heuristic   Urbanism,   through   the   lens   of   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plazas.     These   questions   address   the   larger   structural   context   within   which   the   Programs   evolved;   the   specific   spatial   and   social   conditions   of   project   sites;   and   the   significance   of   Programs  to  urban  design:     1. How   are   existing   structures   and   systems   of   governmental   and   social   organization   adapted   in   order   to   realize   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   in   California   Cities?     What   are   the   new   innovative   governmental,   private,  and  community  mechanisms  created?   2. Do   the   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   typologies   emerge   from   specific   spatial   and   social   conditions?     What   circumstances   engender   projects   and  their  viability?   3. What   are   the   long-­term   implications   of   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   Programs   in   cities?     For   newer   modes   of   producing   urban   space   and   culture?    What  are  factors  worth  watching?  

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1.4 –  Methods  of  Investigation  

Literature Review This study   reviews   the   extensive   literature   touching   experimental   urban   design   interventions,   laying   out   a   theoretical   and   epistemological   background   for   the   contemporary   cases   in   San   Francisco,   Oakland,   Long   Beach,   Los   Angeles   and   elsewhere.     Here,   Parklets   are   framed   within   a   historical   narrative   of   temporary   streetscape  intervention  in  modern  American  culture.      At  the  same  time,  synthesis   of   the   literature   furnishes   a   working   set   of   definitions   and   terms   specific   to   this   study   and   its   analysis.   Popular   press   and   media   material   include   newsprint,   blogs,   audio  and  video  interviews  related  to  experimental  urban  design.  

Stakeholder Interviews

A comprehensive  catalogue  of  projects  was  developed  by  reviewing  popular  

press on   programs   in   San   Francisco,   Oakland,   Long   Beach   and   Los   Angeles   (see   APPENDIX  C).    The  study  then  targeted  a  minimum  of  30%  of  cases  in  each  city  in   order  to  develop  representative  findings  for  each  city.    

The process   of   developing   a   catalogue   of   projects   helped   to   identify  

individual and  group  stakeholders  associated  with  each  city’s  program  and  its  cases.     At   this   stage,   it   became   apparent   that   stakeholders   across   all   cases   fell   naturally   within  groupings  indicative  of  their  roles  in  the  Heuristic  Urbanism  of  Parklets  and  

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Pedestrian Plazas.      (the  significance  of  this  organizational  structure  is  discussed  in   Sections   3.1.6   and   3.2.2).     In   terms   of   case   and   interviewee   selection,   the   study   then   targeted   at   least   one   individual   from   each   of   the   first   four   stakeholder   groups   for   every  case  profiled.    The  exclusion  of  Users  –  the  fifth  and  final  group  –  is  addressed   in  later  in  Section  4.3.2.     •

Government –  City  Departments  and  Staffers;  Elected  and  Appointed  Officials  

Private Partners  –  Businesses;  Parklet  and  Plaza  sponsors  

Community Partners  –  Local  Non-­‐profits,  Neighborhood  Groups,  Homeowner   Associations  

Designers –   Architects,   Landscape   Architects,   Landscape   Designers,   plant   experts  

Users –   Pedestrians   and/or   Parklet   Users;   Residents,   Neighbors,   Shoppers   and  Commuters  

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Figure 6:   Typical   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   Stakeholder   Structure   (Abad   Ocubillo   2012).     The   primary   research   revealed  five  main  categories  of  people  engaged  with  Projects  and  Programs.    For  each  case  study  project,  at  least   one  individual  from  each  group  was  targeted  for  interview.  

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CHAPTER 2 – LITERATURE REVIEW This Chapter   focuses   on   a   brief   historical   overview   that   outlines   the   theoretical   and   practical   context   from   which   Heuristic   Urbanism   emerges.     Here,   constructs   of   public,   private,   space,   permanence,   and   improvisation   are   surveyed   and  defined.    The  literature  review  then  develops  a  narrative  tracing  the  evolution   of   the   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   typologies;   connecting   them   with   avant-­‐garde   performance  art  and  establishing  a  genealogy  of  concepts  which  undergird  Heuristic   Urbanism,   and.     Finally,   the   literature   review   examines   the   impacts   of   Parklets,   Pedestrian  Plazas,  their  antecedents  and  related  typologies.      

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2.1 –  Planning  Context   Heuristic   Urbanism   signifies   a   radical   departure   from   the   ‘master   planning’   paradigm  that  dominated  the  first  half  of  the  previous  century.  Henri  Lefebvre’s  The   Right  to  the  City  (1967)  established  a  philosophical  benchmark  that  framed  planning   and  urban  design  discourse  in  following  decades.    Lefebvre  argued  for  a  collective,   collaborative,   and   holistic   mode   of   shaping   urban   life   and   experience.       This   contrasts   sharply   with   the   rigid   absolutism,   linear   rationality,   and   panoptic   ambition   of   modernist   urban   planning,   which   were   duly   criticized   by   Douglas   (1973),  Faludi  (1973),  Hall  (1983,  1992),  Jacobs  (1961),  and  Webber  (1983).       The   postmodernists’   attitude   towards   urbanism   moves   away   from   normativity,   universality,   and   conformity   towards   plurality,   multivalence,   and   flexibility   (Bugarič   2010;   Rowe   &   Koetter   1984;   Dear   and   Flusty   1998).     Davis   (1990/2006),   Harvey   (1990),   and   others   examined   the   production   of   urban   space   and   life   in   the   postmodern   era   in   great   detail.   Ellin   describes   the   emergence   of   “social   planning,   community-­‐based   planning,   participatory   architecture,   process   architecture,  advocacy  planning,  self-­‐building,  and  sweat-­‐equity”  (1996,  p.  49)  in  the   late   1960s   and   1970s   as   conscious   challenges   to   the   dominant   paradigms   of   the   prescriptive,   auto-­‐centric   tradition.         Alternative   approaches   including   “Incrementalism”   (Lindblom   1959)   and   “Mixed-­‐Scanning”   (Etzioni   1969)   entered   the   discourse   around   this   time;   and   are   especially   pertinent   to   the   process   of   Heuristic  Urbanism  in  the  present  day.    

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2.1.1 – Incrementalism and Mixed Scanning

Incrementalism was  first  proposed  by  Charles  Lindblom  (1959)  as  a  radical  

alternative to  long-­‐range  master  planning  typical  in  the  mid-­‐twentieth  century.    The   major   contribution   of   Lindblom’s   theory   to   that   of   Heuristic   Urbanism   relates   to   processes   of   self-­‐evaluation   and   adjustment   absent   in   the   regime   against   which   Lindblom  railed.    As  Marcus  Lane  enumerates  in  his  history  of  “Public  Participation   in   Planning,”   Incrementalism   according   to   Lindbolm   is   characterized   by   Marcus   Lane   in   large   part   by:   “continuously   adjusting   policy   objectives,”   “a   reconstructive   treatment   of   data,”   “serial   analysis   and   evaluation,”   and   “remedial   orientation   and   evaluation”   (2006,   p.   290).     Since   Lindblom’s   initial   treatise   in   1959,   “Incremental   change”   has   been   employed   in   discourse   when   referring   not   only   to   government   process  and  restructuring,  but  to  physical  changes  to  the  urban  fabric  as  well  (Hou   2010;   Street   Plans   Collaborative   2012).     This   thesis   found   that   amongst   stakeholders,   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   are   frequently   identified   with   “Incremental  Change.”    

David Harvey  argues  for  the  necessity  of  adopting  an  incremental  approach  

to the   interpretation   and   production   of   urban   space,   describing     The   Condition   of   Postmodernity  as   …a   conception   of   the   urban   fabric   as   necessarily   fragmented,   a   ‘palimpsest’   of   past   forms   superimposed   upon   each   other,   and   a   ‘collage’  of  current  uses,  many  of  which  may  be  ephemeral.    Since  the   metropolis   is   impossible   to   command   except   in   bits   and   pieces,   urban   design   (and   not   that   postmodernists   design   rather   than   plan)   simply   aims  to  be  sensitive  to  vernacular  traditions,  local  histories,  particular   wants,   needs,   and   fancies,   thus   generating   specialized,   even   highly   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


customized architectural   forms   that   may   range   from   intimate,   personalized  spaces,  through  traditional  monumentality,  to  the  gaiety   of  spectacle.  (1990,  p.  66)     Later,  Amitai  Etzioni  would  propose  the  Mixed  Scanning  approach  as  both  a  

critique of   and   alternative   to   Incrementalism.     Etzioni   sought   to   mediate   what   he   saw  as  a  polemic  between  “the  rationalistic  approach”  and  Incrementalism:   Mixed-­‐scanning   reduces   the   unrealistic   aspects   of   rationalism   by   limiting   the   details   required   in   fundamental   decisions   and   helps   to   overcome   the   conservative   slant   of   incrementalism   by   exploring   longer-­‐run   alternatives.   …The   mixed-­‐   scanning   model   makes   this   dualism   explicit   by   combining   (a)   high-­‐order,   fundamental   policy-­‐   making  processes  which  set  basic  directions  and  (b)  incremental  ones   which   prepare   for   fundamental   decisions   and   work   them   out   after   they   have   been   reached.   …The   flexibility   of   the   different   scanning   levels  makes  mixed-­‐scanning  a  useful  strategy  for  decision-­‐making  in   environments   of   varying   stability   and   by   actors   with   varying   control   and  consensus-­‐building  capacities.    (1969,  p.  385)     Contemporary   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   Programs   can   be   considered   Mixed   Scanning  in  practice.    Whereas  a  municipal  imperative  to  improve  and  augment  the   pedestrian  realm  can  be  considered  ‘high-­‐order’  policy,  the  organic  proliferation  of   Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas  –  through  mixed  community-­‐government  initiatives  –   embody  incremental  efforts.    

The concept  of  Mixed  Scanning  applied  by  Etzioni  to  decision-­‐making  can  also  

frame scales   of   space   and   time.     Klaus   Ronneberger   –   when   discussing   regulation   of   urban  development  –  acknowledges  the  agency  of  tactical  actors  often  operating  at  a   highly   localized   or   site-­‐specific   scale,   in   elastic   spaces   defined   by   social   meaning:     “…take  into  consideration  the  greater  whole  and  avoid  defining  any  one  spatial  level   as  the  decisive  field  of  action.    It  would  be  far  better  to  link  urban-­‐planning  schemes   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


at a  number  of  different  levels  with  projects  that  focus  on  social  space”  (2006,  p.  54).   Here,   Ronneberger   addresses   the   utility   –   and   indeed   necessity   –   of   accommodating   smaller,   temporary   programs   within   development   planning.     Not   only   do   these   experimental   programs   provide   crucial   information   by   way   of   monitoring   and   observation,  but  are  unto  themselves  distinct  and  valuable  (Temel  2006).   2.1.2 – Gradients of Permanence  

Heuristic Urbanism   observes   how   ephemeral,   renegade   actions   in   public  

space become  understood  and  assimilated  by  the  governance  regimes  of  cities.    This   assimilation   takes   the   form   of   permanent   legislation,   policies,   programs,   and   planning   imperatives.     However   the   transition   between   informal   tactic   and   formal   strategy   often   requires   intermediary   stages   of   vetting   and   experimentation   that   allows  all  stakeholders  to   become  accustomed  to  the  possibilities  of  change  (Jones   2008).    

In The   Condition   of   Postmodernity,   David   Harvey   contends   that   “the   most  

startling fact   about   postmodernism   [is]   its   total   acceptance   of   the   ephemerality,   fragmentation,   discontinuity,   and   the   chaotic…”   (1990,   p.   44).     Given   this   general   acceptance   of   the   temporary   and   shifting   nature   of   the   states   of   postmodern   life,   its   follows   that   urban   planning   has   –   in   transition   from   modernist   absolutism   –   assimilated   short-­‐term   tactics   and   strategies   into   its   practice.     This   mode   of   experimentation   and   engagement   is   described   variously   as   ‘semi-­‐permanent,’   ‘temporary,’   ‘interim,’   ‘provisional,’   and   ‘ephemeral.’     A   review   of   the   literature   reveals   varying   definitions   for   these   states   of   temporality   which   overlap   in   a   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


continuum.   By   describing   these   gradients,   a   territory   for   Heuristic   Urbanism   becomes  discernible.    The  literature  also  defines  aspects  of  the  ‘temporary’  which  –   as   corroborated   by   stakeholder   interviews   –   become   essential   in   the   execution   of   Parklets,  Pedestrian  Plazas,  and  like  projects.    

In Temporary   Urban   Spaces:   Concepts   for   the   Use   of   City   Spaces,   Haydn   and  

Temel (2006)   delineate   how   the   ‘temporary,’   ‘provisional,’   and   ‘ephemeral’   form   a   spectrum  of  potential  states:   ‘Ephemeral’  is  a  term  from  biology  that  refers  to  creatures  that  live  for   only   a   day.   Ephemerality   is   thus   an   existential   temporality;   the   ephemeral   has   a   short   life,   its   existence   cannot   be   extended.   This   contrasts   with   the   provisional,   which   begins   as   something   with   a   short   life   but   then,   not   infrequently,   remains   for   very   long   periods.   The   temporary   stands   between   these   two   positions.   It   is,   on   the   one   hand,   short-­‐lived   like   the   ephemeral,   but   unlike   the   latter   it   can   certainly   exist   for   a   longer   period   than   was   initially   intended.   It   is   possible  to  extend  its  life    (p.  55).     Heuristic   Urbanism   and   its   related   typologies   (see   Section   1.2   and   Section   2.3)   are   readily  categorized  according  to  the  construct  offered  by  Haydn  el  al.    For  example,   PARK(ing)   DAY   installations   –   which   exist   for   one   day   only   –   qualify   decidedly   as   ‘ephemeral.’    The  ‘testing’  phases  of  Plaza  interventions  –  often  employing  low-­‐cost   or  recycled  materials  to  reconfigure  use  of  the  ROW  (Arieff  2009)  –  are  ‘temporary.’     Parklets,   typically   permitted   for   a   year   at   a   time   and   perceived   as   urban   design   interventions   in   their   own   right,   might   be   categorized   as   ‘temporary.’     However   when   considering   Parklets   as   site-­‐   or   district-­‐specific   precursors   to   permanent   sidewalk  widening,  they  can  be  categorized  as  ‘provisional.’     Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


Figure 7:  Parklets  and  Plazas  in  a  Continuum  of  Permanence    (Abad  Ocubillo  2012).    Definitions  for  ‘Ephemeral,’   ‘Temporary,’  and  ‘Provisional’  are  based  on  Haydn  and  Temel,  2006.  


This condition   of   ‘temporariness’   –   incongruous   with   the   preceding  

conditions of   modernist   planning   practice  –   is   now   recognized   as   a   critical   mode   for   moving   towards   longer-­‐term   planning   goals   and   imperatives.     Framing   interventions  as  temporary  experiments  allows  for  monitoring  and  testing,  by  both   communities   and   government,   in   order   to   refine   permanent   strategies.     For   example,  the  impact  studies  conducted  in  New  York  and  San  Francisco  –  during  trial   phases  of  Plazas  and  Parklets  –  helped  justify  the  permanent  institutionalization  of   those   programs   and   projects   (Dunlap   2009;   New   York   City   Department   of   Transportation  2010,  2011;  San  Francisco  Great  Streets  Project  2010,  2011).  Parklet   programs   are   beginning   in   Oakland   and   Los   Angeles   as   one-­‐year   trials;   a   period   allowing  each  city  to  vet  the  viability  of  a  permanent,  ongoing  program.  

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Temporary programs  and  interventions  can  recast  the  use  of  urban  spaces  in   ways   previously   inconceivable   (Bugarič   2010;   Jones   2009;   Temel   2006),   as   the   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   have   done   in   New   York,   San   Francisco,   Los   Angeles,   and  elsewhere.  Peter  Arlt  describes  “Interim  Use…  as  a  provisional  measure  rather   than   as   a   permanent   solution,   although   it   can   also   be   a   way   of   demonstrating   a   concept’s  success  in  order  to  convince  and  investor  that  the  chosen  use  could  also   provide   a   permanent   solution.”   (2006,   p.39).       By   accommodating   an   increasingly   diversified   repertoire   of   temporary   programs   in   public   space,   cities   also   further   empower  their  citizens  to  engage  proactively  in  changing  their  urban  environment,   engendering   a   practice   of   engagement   described   in   Lefebvre’s   Right   to   the   City   (1967).   2.1.3 – Urban Design Research and Experimentation The   greater   flexibility   that   distinguishes   contemporary   urban   design   from   past   modes   also   allows   for   increased   sophistication   through   iterative   experimentation   and   monitoring.     Ephemeral,   provisional,   and   temporary   typologies,   projects,   and   phases   provide   for   continual   self-­‐evaluation   and   adjustment.     At   the   typological   and   project   level,   research   and   experimentation   programmes   monitor   human   factors   such   as   usability,   safety,   and   comfort.     At   the   program  level,  self-­‐evaluation  can  lead  to  more  efficient  procedures,  structures  and   policies;   modes   of   public   engagement   and   collaboration   with   other   city   agencies.     Thus  the  programs  and  projects  entailed  in  Heuristic  Urbanism  not  only  result  from  

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and are   subjects   of   social   science   research,   but   are   themselves   tools   in   ongoing,   long-­‐term  experimentation  by  cities.    

Jane Jacobs’  ethnographic  approach  to  documenting  the  vibrant  life  of  inner  

cities just   after   the   midcentury   can   be   considered   among   the   first   pieces   of   research   most  pertinent  to  the  process  of   Heuristic  Urbanism  observed  from  the  present  day.     The   Death   and   Life   of   Great   American   Cities   (1989/1961)   –   considered   by   every   measure  a  radical  work  at  the  time  of  its  publication  –  would  influence  generations   of  future  urbanists  and  planners.    Her  seminal  treatise  would,  over  decades,  become   assimilated  within  the  perspective  of  urban  design  and  planning.    

Around a  decade  after  the  publication  of  Jacobs’  first  work,  Donald  Appleyard  

outlined a   research   agenda   for   urban   design   and   decision   making   with   his   1973   article   Priorities   for   Environmental   Psychology;   the   tenets   of   which   filter   into   the   very  practice  of  Heuristic  Urbanism  today.    Here  he  advocated  for  the  integration  of   social   science   research   throughout   the   various   stages   of   architectural   and   urban   design     (Cuff   1984).     This   research   programme   emphasized   situational   research   such  as  user  interviews  and  observation;  simulation;  and  continual  augmentation  to   the   body   of   research   with   documented   findings   that   could   be   disseminated   for   practical  application.    Later,  William  Whyte  and  Jan  Gehl  would  each  practice  robust   variants   of   Appleyard’s   research   regimen   in   cities   around   the   globe.     Indeed,   Whyte’s   studies   of   parks   and   plazas   in   New   York   City   during   the   late   1960s   and   early  1970s  led  to  the  revision  of  municipal  codes  in  that  City,  resulting  in  increased   use   and   liveliness   of   once-­‐underutilized   open   spaces.     Decades   later   in   the   2000s,   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


Gehl Architects’   corridor   studies   of   Broadway   in   New   York   City   and   other   urban   districts   around   the   world   would   substantially   affect   the   planning   objectives   adopted   by   those   cities   for   redesign   and   reprogramming.     The   National   Complete   Streets  Coalition  (LaPLante  and  McCann  2008),    The  Alliance  for  Biking  and  Walking   (2012),   and   the   National   Bicycle   and   Pedestrian   Documentation   Project   all   base   their   highly   effective   advocacy   on   vigorous   research   programmes   that   test   the   effects  of  and  explore  the  need  for  policy  actions  and  streetscape  interventions.    

Others have  expounded  on  the  covalent  relationship  between  social  science  

research and  urban  design.    In  his  essay  The  Social  Construction  of  Public  Space,  Ezio   Manzini  observes  that   Academics   and   designers   are   shifting   their   attention,   and   issues   relating  to  the  social  city,  i.e.  to  the  communities  and  interconnected   networks  that  make  up  a  city,  are  attracting  increasing  interest.    This   has  led  us  to  observe  the  social  phenomena  taking  place  in  cities,  and   in   society   at   large,   more   attentively….   We   find   that   cities   are   like   huge   social   laboratories   where   new   ideas   and   new   solutions   are   being   invented   and   experimented   within   all   fields   of   daily   life…     These   are   feasible  solutions  that  have  already  been  implemented  and,  as  a  side-­‐ effect,   are   generating   unprecedented   forms   of   community   (elective   communities)   and   public   spaces   (shared   public   spaces).     (2010,   pp.   12-­‐13)     Kathy  Madden  revives   Donald  Appleyard’s  founding  argument  in  her  essay  Public  in   Place:   Creating   Successful   Public   Places.     Here   she   reiterates   the   critical   potential   for   social  science  research  to  affect  development  and  management  of  urban  space:   It  is  clear  that  public  space  planning  is  really  a  ‘science’  that  can  yield   important   data   to   inform   both   the   design   and   management   of   public   space.     The   challenge   remains   how   to   bring   this   science   into   the   mainstream  so  that  designers,  people  in  government  and  others  who   make  decisions  about  public  space  respect  and  use  this  knowledge  in   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


their work.    Only  then,  will  public  spaces  achieve  their  full  potential  to   positively  impact  the  lives  of  citizens  in  every  community  around  the   world.    (2010,  p.  93)     These  lines  of  inquiry  and  criticism  –  from  Jacobs  and  Appleyard  through  to   Whyte   and   Gehl   –   all   directly   influence   the   process   of   Heuristic   Urbanism   in   the   present  day.    The  pilot  Parklet  and  Pedestrian  Plaza  projects  in  New  York  City  and   San   Francisco   provide   opportunities   for   observation   of   onsite   uses,   traffic   impacts   and   other   factors;   producing   studies   that   heavily   influenced   final   decisions   for   permanent  interventions  at  those  individual  sites.      Occupancy  and  post-­‐occupancy   studies  help  shape  policies  and  standards  at  the  Program  scale  as  well.    In  2011,  NYC   DOT   published   the   Pilot   Program   Evaluation   Report   for   Curbside   Public   Seating   Platforms,   which   included   recommendations   for   the   NYC   Program   and   future   Parklet  projects.   The   necessity   for   research   expands   beyond   social   dimensions;   for   example   traffic   studies   are   especially   critical   in   situations   involving   road   reconfigurations   (LaPlante   and   McCann   2008).   When   referring   to   Plaza-­‐related   street   closures   in   Midtown,   NYC   DOT   Commissioner   Janette   Sadik-­‐Khan   carefully   indicated   that   ongoing   monitoring   and   communication   is   critical   to   projects’   success:     “It’s   an   important   first   step   to   ease   traffic   and   sidewalk   congestion   and   create   safe,   attractive  spaces  that  are  good  for  business…    But  it’s  a  work  in  progress,  and  we’ll   be  monitoring  the  area  closely  during  the  initial  adjustment  period”  (Dunlap  2009).   The   2010   Green   Light   for   Midtown   Evaluation   Report   helped   New   Yorkers  

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understand the   traffic   and   circulation   impacts   of   the   pilot   road   closures   along   Broadway.   Parklets  have  likewise  been  the  subject  of  close  scrutiny  in  both  New   York   City   and   San   Francisco.     The   first-­‐ever   Parklet   impact   study   was   conducted   by   the   Great   Streets   program   at   the   San   Francisco   Bicycle   Coalition  (2010).    SF  Greatstreets  published  more  studies  in  2011;  and  NYC   DOT   published   a   Pilot   Program   Evaluation   Report   for   their   Parklets   in   2011   as   well.     These   invaluable   studies   documented   user   behaviors   and   perceptions   specific   to   Parklets,   forming   a   foundation   of   applied   research   literature   particular   to   that   typology.     In   the   City   of   Oakland,   the   nonprofit   Walk   Oakland   Bike   Oakland   (WOBO)   partnered   with   a   City   Planning   Department   Intern   to   design   and   execute   pre-­‐Parklet   studies   of   project   sites;   to  be  followed  up  with  additional  observations  after  Parklet  installation.2  The   Parklet  initiative  on  Spring  Street  in  Los  Angeles  is  also  conducting  pre-­‐  and   post-­‐project  studies.3  

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2.2 –  From  Tactics  to  Strategies  and  Back:   Overlapping  Urbanisms   Heuristic   Urbanism   refers   to   an   evolutionary   process   rather   than   the   individual   constituent   actions,   typologies,   events,   tactics,   and   strategies   associated   with  that  process.    It  emerges  from  the  Tactical  vs.  Strategic  paradigm  established  by   Michel   de   Certeau   (1984);   where   tactics   are   employed   by   the   citizenry   while   negotiating   daily   life   in   the   city   and   strategies   emanate   from   the   state   and   corporations  in  the  form  of  government  regulation  and  production  of  public  space.     Heuristic  Urbanism  observes  how  ‘tactics’  become  assimilated  by  the  state  (or  city),   thereby   transitioning   from   guerilla   action   into   a   sanctioned   ‘strategy.’     Contemporary  Parklet  and  Plaza  programs  are  the  premiere  example  of  this  tactic-­‐ cum-­‐strategy,  and  thus  the  subject  of  this  thesis’  investigation.   The   tactics   first   defined   by   de   Certeau   have   been   further   elaborated   by   others,  signifying  a  broad  range  of  actions  and  intentions.    These  ‘other  urbanisms’   present   a   landscape   of   overlapping   fields   upon   which   Heuristic   Urbanism   is   inscribed   and   operates.     De   Certeau   constructed   a   “producer   /   consumer”   binary   that   dissociated   everyday   people   from   modes   of   production,   manipulation,   or   regulation   of   their   urban   environment.     An   abundance   of   subsequent   theory   and   practice   blurs   de   Certeau’s   dual   paradigm,   demonstrating   how   the   traditional   ‘consumer’   defined   by   him   is   in   fact   intensely   engaged   –   if   not   directly   influencing   –  

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the production  of  urban  experience.    Alvin  Toffler  (2008)  first  named  the  ‘prosumer’   or  producer-­‐consumer,  which  more  recently  Anna  Meroni  described  as    

The new  kind  of  aware  citizen  who  knows  what  the  right  solutions  are   for   his/her   local   situation.     Without   prosumer   action,   the   mere   physical   public   space   is   as   useful   as   a   piece   of   hardware   without   software.    The  community  is  the  context  in  which  to  orchestrate  this   plurality  of  voices  through  a  democratic  process  that  recognizes  equal   opportunities   to   all   member   s   and   allows   their   desires   to   guide   the   creation  and  implementation  of  solutions.    (2010,  p.  19)     The   prosumer   figure   presents   both   a   challenge   to   and   evolution   of   de  

Certeau’s dichotomy.     This   hybrid   citizen   appears   more   and   more   prominently   in   subsequent  urbanism  discourse  and  is  the  central  persona  enacting   Heuristic  Urban   Design  in  the  present  day.    Parklet  and  Plaza  Program  initiatives  emerge  from  both   communities   and   governments;   requiring   intimate   collaboration   between   both   groups   for   production,   management,   and   improvement   of   the   projects   and   programs.       Haydn   and   Temel   catalogue   Temporary   Urbanism   (2006)   in   Europe,   where   ephemeral  uses  recast  the  programmatic  potentialities  of  abandoned  or  underused   venues.     Many   of   their   examples   of   temporary   uses   were   intended   to   precipitate   structural  or  institutional  changes  and  therefore  cannot  be  categorized  as  ‘tactical’   in   the   sense   established   by   de   Certeau.     This   is   the   exact   case   with   the   Heuristic   Urbanism   of   Parklets   and   Demonstration   Plazas   –   which,   while   connected   with   a   ‘tactical’  heritage,  are  deliberately  cast  as  change  agents  and  not  just  reactions  to  the   physical  and  social  environment.  

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Temel uses   ‘tactical’   to   describe   the   orientation   of   Temporary   Urbanism,   while  at  the  same  time  defining  a  causal  relationship  between  ‘tactics’  and  change  in   a  way  that  diverges  from  de  Certeau:   …communities   neither   have   the   financial   means   nor   the   political   power   to   plan   entire   neighbourhoods   themselves.     Like   other   individual   actors,   they   have   to   proceed   tactically   rather   than   strategically,  reacting  to  existing  situations  by  attempting  to  locate  the   fulcrum   that   makes   it   possible   to   achieve   large   effects   with   limited   means,  by  making  arrangements  with  other  actors  or  by  cooperating   with  them.    (2006,  p.  57)     More   recently,   groups   such   as   the   Street   Plans   Collaborative   (2011,   2012)   employ   the   term   ‘tactical’   when   referring   to   a   broad   range   of   urban   interventions   enacted  by  both  sides  of  de  Certeau’s  tactical  /  strategic  divide:  the  grassroots  and   government.    Their  Tactical  Urbanism  explicitly  links  a  wide  spectrum  of  action  with   an  explicit  intent  to  create  change:    “While  larger  scale  efforts  do  have  their  place,   incremental,   small-­‐   scale   improvements   are   increasingly   seen   as   a   way   to   stage   more   substantial   investments”   (2011,   p.1)   They   also   acknowledge   the   epistemological   provenance   of   ‘tactic’   while   decidedly   expanding   its   realm   of   contemporary   application:     “While   the   term   is   not   our   own,   we   do   believe   it   best   describes   the   various   initiatives   surveyed   herein…   Sometimes   sanctioned,   sometimes  not,  these  actions  are  commonly  referred  to  as  ‘guerilla  urbanism,’  ‘pop-­‐   up  urbanism,’  ‘city  repair,’  or  ‘D.I.Y.  urbanism’”  (2011,  p.1).    

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Figure 8:  Tactical  Spectrum  (Street  Plans  Collaborative,  2012  p.7;  shown  with  permission).      PARK(ing)  DAY  and  SF   Pavement   to   Parks   appear   towards   the   ‘Sanctioned’   end   of   this   Spectrum.     Bu   involving   City   departments,   those   actions  become  ‘strategic’  as  much  as  ‘tactical.’  


Other inventories   of   “DIY   Urbanism”   diverge   from   de   Certeau   by   co-­‐

identifying initiatives  of  both  communities  and  governments.  In  a  September  2010   essay   accompanying   an   exhibit   at   the   San   Francisco   Planning   and   Urban   Research   Association   (SPUR),   author   and   curator   Ruth   Keffer   (2010)   lists   ‘Outdoor   Living   Rooms’  and  PARK(ing)  DAY  with  Parklets  and  San  Francisco  Sunday  Streets,  amongst   others.    These  cases  which  Keffer  groups  under  “DIY  Urbanism”  fall  on  either  side  of   the   tactical   /   strategic   divide;   their   agents   resembling   the   “prosumer”   rather   than   either   producer   or   consumer.     Furthermore   Keffer   celebrates   the   revolutionizing   ethos   driving   “DIY   Urbanism,”   with   implicit   cooperation   between   citizens   and  

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government: “these   projects   reveal   the   ways   in   which   small   or   finite   efforts   can   blossom  into  larger-­‐scale,  ongoing  transformations”  (2010).   Street   Plans   Collaborative   ‘Tactician’   Mike   Lydon   carefully   delineates   the   distinction   between   the   popular   term   ‘D.I.Y.   Urbanism’   and   Tactical   Urbanism   as   defined   by   the   SPC.     Shortly   after   the   online   publication   of   Tactical   Urbanism:   Volume  1  (March  2011)  via  the  Pattern  Cities  website,   Lydon  posted  an  entry  on  the   website  entitled  “The  Difference  Between  Tactical  and  DIY  Urbanism,”  in  which  he   expounds:   DIY   efforts   are   enacted   from   the   bottom-­‐up,   not   the   top   down.   In   other   words,   individuals   or   small   groups   of   people   work   together   to   make  an  improvement  or  to  communicate  a  message,  typically  at  the   scale   of   the   urban   block   or   building.   Tactical   Urbanism,   however,   allows   both   bottom-­‐up   and   top-­‐down   initiatives   to   proliferate.   Thus,   you   can   DIY,   or   sometimes,   if   you   are   luck   [sic]   enough   to   have   progressive  leadership,  the  city  may  do  it  for  you.    (2011)     Thus  DIY  Urbanism  –  as  framed  here  by  Lydon  –  can  be  associated  more  closely  with   de   Certeau’s   pure   concept   of   the   ‘tactical:’   actions   emanating   solely   from   the   disenfranchised   polity;   not   a   mode   of   engagement   employed   by   both   citizens   and   government.    

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Figure 9:    Guerilla  Sidewalk  Beautification  (Abad  Ocubillo  2012)  on  Valencia  Street,  between  15th  and  16th  Streets.     These   granite   curbs   have   been   painted   around   their   bases,   evoking   grass.     The   salvaged   blocks   also   provide   a   place   to  sit  and  rest.    (Guerilla  urbanist  unknown)  


The popular  moniker  “Guerilla  Urbanism”  is  also  subject  to  codification  and  

definition.  Jeffrey  Hou  begins  to  characterize  “Guerilla  Urbanism”  in  his  preface  to   Insurgent   Public   Space   (2010),   outlining   a   realm   of   investigation   that   is   decidedly   ‘tactical:’   The  making  of  insurgent  public  space  suggest  a  mode  of  city  making   that  is  different  from  the  institutionalized  notion  of  urbanism  and  its   association   with   master   planning   and   policy   making.     Unlike   the   conventional  practice  of  urban  planning,  which  tends  to  be  dominated   by  professionals  and  experts,  the  instances  of  insurgent  public  space…   suggest  the  ability  of  citizen  groups  and  individuals  to  play  a  distinct   role   in   shaping   the   contemporary   urban   environment   in   defiance   of   the   official   rules   and   regulations.     Rather   than   being   subjected   to   planning  regulations  or  the  often  limited  participatory  opportunities,   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


citizens and   citizen   groups   can   undertake   initiatives   on   their   own   to   effect   changes.     The   instances   of   self-­‐help   and   defiance   are   best   characterized  as  a  practice  of  guerilla  urbanism  that  recognizes  both   the   ability   of   citizens   and   opportunities   in   the   existing   urban   conditions   for   radical   and   everyday   changes   against   the   dominant   forces  in  the  society.    (2010,  p.15)     In   articulating   a   framework   for   “Guerilla   Urbanism,”   Hou   duly   acknowledges   “Everyday   Urbanism”   previously   articulated   by   Crawford,   Kaliski   and   Chase   (1999/2008).     “Everyday   Urbanism”   deliberately   turns   from   fixed   or   bourgeoisie   ideas   of   urbanism   to   those   forms   previously   undervalued.     Springing   from   Lefebvre’s   regard   for   the   “quotidian,”   Crawford   et   al.   exhibit   a   decided   focus   on   cultural  adaptations  to  the  environment;  bringing  certain  under-­‐examined  realms  of   urban   life   and   production   into   the   formal   discourse   through   the   very   act   of   defining   them  as  being  traditionally  excluded.     In  2008  –  the  same  year  as  Everyday  Urbanism’s  second  publication  –  Diego   Ramirez-­‐Lovering   published   “Opportunistic   Urbanism,”   examining   the   survival   adaptations  of  a  rapidly  expanding  population  of  Guadalajara,  Mexico:   Large,   disenfranchised   segments   of   the   population   in   this   vulnerable   economy  have  become  displaced  with  little  access  to  socio-­‐economic   infrastructures.  To  contend  with  such  pressures,  many  turn  to  a  well-­‐ established   culture   of   informality   where   housing,   commerce   and   public  space  -­‐  the  fundamental  elements  of  city  life  -­‐  are  shaped  by  the   ad   hoc,   the   contingent   and   the   easily   obtainable.   This   is   a   city   governed   by   opportunity   -­‐   an   Opportunistic   Urbanism.     (RMIT   Press   2008,  p.  27)     Of  the  constructs  thus  far  surveyed  in  this  thesis,  the  “Opportunistic  Urbanism,”  so   named   and   studied   by   Ramirez-­‐Lovering,   bears   the   closest   resemblance   to   de   Certeau’s  definition  of  the  tactical:  that  which  is  purely  responsive,  necessitated  by   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


daily survival,  and  enacted  in  spite  (or  in  absence)  of  the  state’s  apparatus  of  control   and  regulation.    

Reflecting upon   their   work,   Blaine   Merker   of   REBAR   Group   eloquently  

describes the   zeitgeist   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   with   the   concept   of   “Generous  Urbanism”    (2011).    As  an  organization  closely  associated  with  the  early   prototyping   of   Parklets   in   San   Francisco   (discussed   in   detail   in   Section   2.3),   Merker’s  precision  is  not  surprising:   Rebar  defines  generous  urbanism  as  the  creation  of  public  situations   between   strangers   that   produce   new   cultural   value,   without   commercial   transaction.     This   isn’t   to   say   that   money   doesn’t   play   a   role  in  the  execution,  since  materials  may  still  be  bought,  and  grants   or   commissions   distributed.     However,   the   ultimate   value   is   produced   independently   of   commerce.     It’s   possible   to   call   this   activity   art   production  (“art”  being  a  convenient  category  for  cultural  goods  that   are   ends   in   themselves),   but   there   are   not   absolute   “consumers”   or   “producers”  for  this  type  of  art,  only  participants  with  varying  levels   of  responsibility  for  instigating  the  situation.    (2011,  p.51)      “Generous  Urbanism”  is  not  specific  to  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas,  but  refers  to   a  broader  range  of  experiments,  and  overlaps  with  other  constructs  here  surveyed;   especially   in   terms   of   the   continually   shifting   roles   of   tacticians   and   strategists.   Merker   directly   evokes   the   ‘prosumer’   first   identified   by   Toffler   as   a   “new   kind   of   citizen”  but  who  has  since  become  prominent  and  recognizable  player  in  the  urban   sphere.    The  increasing  fluidity  between  tactics  and  strategies  create  an  interstitial,   dialectical  territory  within  which  Heuristic  Urbanism  is  situated.    

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Abad Ocubillo  2012  

Figure 10:    Heuristic  Urbanism  process  illustrated  with  the  PARK(ing)  -­-­>  Parklet  typology  (Abad  Ocubillo  2012)  


The Heuristic   Urbanism   posited   by   this   thesis   considers   the   progression   of   urban   interventions   from   guerilla   tactics   to   sanctioned   strategies.     Whereas   the     ‘Urbanisms’  surveyed  here  present  a  series  of  case  studies,  Heuristic  Urbanism  refers   to   a   specific   process   of   urban   change   engendered   by   those   cases:     the   Parklet   and   Pedestrian  Plaza  each  form  a  ready  unit  for  investigating  the  assimilation  of  tactical   prototypes  into  state-­‐sanctioned,  ‘prosumered’  programs.  

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2.3 –  The  Genealogy  of  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas   This   thesis   suggests   a   conceptual   and   physical   genealogy   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian  Plazas  by  identifying  their  historical  antecedents.    The  typologies  can  be   traced   to   a   series   of   precedents   strongly   linked   with   avant-­‐garde   performance   art,   especially   in   San   Francisco.     These   precedents   exemplify   a   provocative   and   transgressive   ethos   that   lends   a   particular   cast   to   the   genesis   of  Parklets,   especially.     As   the   outcomes   of   evolving   and   institutionalizing   processes   within   city   governments,   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   embody   the   potency   of   radical   grassroots  actions  to  effect  larger  systemic  changes.   2.3.1 – SITUATIONISTS and the AVANT-GARDE The  ethos  of  avant-­‐garde  art,  demonstration,  and  performance  in  the  public   realm  is  deeply  interrelated  with  the  Situationist  movement  of  the  mid-­‐nineteenth   century.    In  his  assessment  of  the  Situationists,  Boštjan  Bugarič  essentially  describes   the   philosophy   underlying   various   precedents   of   the   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   experiments:    “Temporary  installations,  performances  and  urban  actions  organized   in   public   space   represented   an   answer   to   social,   cultural,   and   spatial   discordances…     The   situationists   raised   space-­‐related   questions   through   staging   stiuationist   events…”     (2012,   p.22).     He   then   elaborates   on   the   effects   of   ‘temporary   installations’  in  the  contemporary  context:   The  concept  of  active  urban  scenes  increase  the  attraction  of  the  place   and  induce  the  consideration  of  issues  associated  with  the  site.    In  that   way   they   become   places   with   deliberately   constructed   events   or   spatial   installations   whose   staging   of   events   transforms   their   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


significance.   Staging   changes   non-­‐places   to   places   and   brings   in   all   symbolic   expression   displaying   its   character,   relations   or   historical   predispositions….     The   problems   associated   with   a   chosen   site   are   presented   to   the   wider   public   on   location   with   the   purpose   of   educating  and  justifying  physical  interventions.    (2010,  p22)     This  thesis  contends  that  the  1970s  performance  art  demonstrations  of  San   Francisco   artist   Bonnie   Ora   Sherk   form   the   first   major   preceptor   to   contemporary   Parklets  and  Plazas.    Her  work  anticipated  later  expressions  of  the  ‘tactical’  in  both   physical   and   conceptual   terms.     Sherk’s   Portable   Parks   I-­III   (installed   in   partnership   with  Howard  Levine)  temporarily  appropriated  road  and  highway  spaces  using  the   design   and   material   vocabulary   of   an   idealized   countryside;   importing   turf,   trees,   picnic   tables,   bales   of   straw,   and   farm   and   zoo   animals   (including   a   live   calf   and   llama)   into   the   urban   environment   (Lewallen   2011;   San   Francisco   Museum   of   Modern   Art   1970).     In   succeeding   decades,   she   explored   elements   of   agriculture,   animals,   and   the   urban/natural   construct   with   gallery   and   museum   installations,   public  performance  pieces,  and  at  the  Crossroads  Community  or  ‘The  Farm,’  1974-­‐ 80)     (Bradley   2005;   Sardar   2005).   “The   Farm,”   situated   underneath   the   101   Freeway   in   San   Francisco,   forms   another   distinct   typology   of   reclaimed   use.   Sherk’s   application  of  an  agricultural  program  to  abandoned  lots  and  highways  anticipated   widespread   experiments   in   the   current   era   characterized   by   ‘shrinking   cities,’   deindustrialization,   and   increasing   concerns   over   food   security.     The   Crossroads   Community   also   anticipated   the   Hayes   Valley   Farm   (Figure   12),   which   began   operating  in  2010  with  a  provisional  license  on  former  freeway  ramps  in  central  San   Francisco.   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


More recently,   Sherk   reprised   the   Portable   Park   concept   with   an   exhibit   at   Santa   Monica   Place,   a   mall   in   Southern   California.     Portable   Park   IV   (2011-­‐12)   converted  the  central  courtyard  of  a  private  mall  into  a  vegetable  and  herb  garden.     By   employing   symbols   of   self-­‐sustenance   agriculture   and   the   commons,   Portable   Park  IV    subtly  comments  on  contemporary  inversions  of  public  and  private  space.    

Figure  11:    'Portable  Park  IV'  (Abad  Ocubillo  2012)  at  Santa  Monica  Place.    (Artist:    Bonnie  Ora  Sherk)  


Sherk’s carefully  orchestrated  tableaus  on  San  Francisco  roads  and  highway  

underpasses underscored   how   autocentricty   accelerated   the   degradation   of   naturalized  environments  within  the  city;  and  the  ongoing  decimation  of  exurban    

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countryside via  sprawl.    Portable  Parks  I-­III  were  underwritten  by  the  Society  for  the   Encouragement  of  Contemporary  Art  (SECA)  grant  at  the  San  Francisco  Museum  of   Modern  Art,  which  mandated  that  funded  projects  acquire  the  proper  permits  and   clearances,  the  installations  exemplify  an  ongoing  tension  and  negotiation  between   renegade   actors   and   the   regulators   of   the   public   realm   (Merker   2010).   In   1981   Sherk  explained  that  “With  the  Portable  Parks  it  was  necessary  for  me  to  deal  with   certain   established   systems,   communicate   with   them,   and   convince   them   of   the   rightness  of  the  work”  (Burnham  1981).  This  negotiation  is  an  ongoing  dimension  of   Parklets,  Pedestrian  Plazas,  and  their  precedents.    

Figure  12:    Hayes  Valley  Farm    (Abad  Ocubillo  2011).    The  Hayes  Valley  Farm  is  a  temporary  program  located  at   the  site  of  the  Central  Freeway  onramps  and  offramps  at  Laguna,  Oak,  and  Fell  Streets  in  San  Francisco.  

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Other guerilla   actions   in   cities   across   the   globe   have   helped   to   reconceptualize   the   purpose   and   meaning   of   urban   space   by   temporarily   introducing   similarly   incongruous   programs.       For   example,   the   Permanent   Breakfast   art   experiment   began   in   Vienna   in   1996   as   a   way   to   challenge   the   traditional  regulation  of  public  spaces  (Hofbauer  2006).  Each  breakfast  participant   is  asked  to  organize  yet  another  meal  on  a  different  day,  inviting  new  guests;  who   then  organize  other  breakfasts  with  new  invitees,  and  so  on.      The  meals  have  been   staged  in  public  squares,  on  sidewalks,  in  traffic  islands,  and  on  even  on  beaches.   Permanent  Breakfast  founder  Friedmann  Dershmidt  evokes  Lefebvre’s   Right   to  the  City  in  an  interview:   Our  point  of  departure  is  the  question  of  who  owns  the  public  space   and  how  local  situations  determine  that.    Historically  the  open  domain   was  a  stage  for  authoritarian  entities.    Nowadays  there  is  supposedly   a   guaranteed   right   of   assembly   which   in   fact   is   more   than   infringed.   This   discrepancy   allows   us   to   engage   in   a   play   with   authorities.   Permanent  Breakfast  in  Chile  was  non-­‐stop  escorted  by  a  patrol  car...     (Derschmidt  2006)     An   ingenious   organizing   structure   leveraging   social   networks   rapidly   expanded   participation   in   permanent   breakfast   worldwide.     Between   1996   and   2010,   the   Permanent   Breakfast   demonstration   was   celebrated   around   in   over   25   countries   (2012).   The   dissemination   and   enactment   of   collective   street   demonstrations,   art   performance,   and   other   forms   of   spatial   appropriation   through   social   networking   is   an   emerging   hallmark   of   Heuristic   Urbanism.     As   discussed   later   in   Sections   3.1.6   and   3.2.2,   the   social   network   figures   prominently   into   the   processes   of   Heuristic   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


Urban Design   as   well;   where   the   inception,   advocacy,   execution   and   monitoring   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   are   highly   dependent   on   tightly   knit   social-­‐ professional  groups.     2.3.2 – PARK(ing) DAY This   thesis   further   contends   that   curbside   PARK(ing)   DAY   installations   (‘PARKs’)  are  the  immediate  preceptor  to  the   Parklet  typology  and  a  strong  relative   of   the   Pedestrian   Plaza   (indeed,   the   founders   of   PARK(ing)   DAY   designed   three   of   the   first   eight   pilot   Parklet   projects   and   one   pilot   plaza   in   San   Francisco).     Both   PARK(ing)  DAY  and  Parklet  installations  are  defined  physically  by  parallel  parking   space;   programmatically   by   their   connection   to   and   extension   of   the   sidewalk;   economically   in   terms   of   their   sponsorship   by   private   organizations;   and   by   a   temporary  or  provisional  existence.    

PARK(ing) DAY   began   in   2005   as   a   single   isolated   experiment   by   REBAR  

Group in  San  Francisco  and  has  since  evolved  into  an  annual  celebration  with  global   participation   (Merker   2010).   The   concept   involves   appropriating   curbside   parking   stalls  for  an  entire  day;  using  furniture,  vegetation  and  props  which  evoke  parks  and   leisure.     The   material   and   conceptual   palette   of   PARK(ing)   DAY   directly   recalls   Sherk’s   Portable   Parks   from   several   decades   earlier;   noted   most   recently   by   Constance   Lewallen   in   her   writing   on   Conceptual   art   of   the   1970s     (Lewallen   2011).   The  same  subtext  of  militancy  and  transgression  is  clearly  replicated  with       Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


Figure 13:   The   first   PARK(ing)   installation   (REBAR   Group   2005,   shown   with   permission).     Lifetime:   1   day,   voluntarily  self-­regulated,  non-­permitted.    (Designer  /  Installer:  REBAR  Group)    

Figure  14:  Parklet  (Abad  Ocubillo  2011)  hosted  by  Caffé  Roma    at  526  Columbus  Avenue,  San  Francisco.    Lifetime:     1+  years,  regulated  and  permitted  by  city.    (Designer:    REBAR  Group)  

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contemporary PARK(ing)   DAY   actions.     Others   have   observed   a   renewed   focus   within   contemporary   art   practice   which   fuses   “environmentalism   and   urban   planning,”   with   “a   resurgence   of   interest   in   1970s   street   actions   like   Sherk’s”     (Zimbardo  2011,  p.144).   We  see  how  ‘tactics’  such  as  Permanent  Breakfast    and  PARK(ing)  brilliantly   leverage  a  crowdsourcing  strategy  as  a  means  to  encourage  worldwide  participation   in  place-­‐specific  events.    The  first  annual  PARK(ing)  Day  in  2006  was  celebrated  in   forty-­‐seven  cities  and  in  2007  increased  to  fifty  cities  (Merker  2010).  In  September   2011,   over   975   ‘PARKs’   registered   for   PARK(ing)   DAY;   representing   162   cities   in   35   countries   (REBAR   Group   2012).       This   movement   (and   indeed   all   corollary   expressions   of   ‘Tactical   Urbanism’   cataloged   by   the   Street   Plans   Collaborative,   see   Section  2.1.2)  has  rapidly  and  radically  readjusted  the  popular  discourse  on  public   space  and  life  in  cities  in  several  ostensible  ways:   First,   the   simple   ‘open-­‐source’   formula   of   PARK(ing)   DAY   invites   easy   widespread   participation.   The   first   PARKs   were   organized   by   groups   of   architects,   landscape   architects,   urban   designers   and   planners;   however   now,   community   groups,   government   agencies,   neighborhood   associations,   and   even   private   individuals   increasingly   sponsor   them.   The   accessible   nature   of   PARK(ing)   Day   increases   the   possibility   for   citizens   to   experience   and   cultivate   a   ‘prosumer’   identity   (see   Section   2.2)   focused   directly   on   the   spatial   and   environmental   conditions   of   their   localities.     In   his   essay   The   Space   Formerly   Known   as   Parking,   John  Chase  credits  PARK(ing)  DAY  for  creating     Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


…a new   set   of   opportunities   for   an   individual   citizen   to   participate   in   ownership  of  the  city,  at  the  scale  of  a  quarter  in  the  meter  rather  than  the   quarter   million   dollars   and   up   that   it   would   cost   that   citizen   to   invest   in   a   place  to  live.  (2008,  p.195)     PARK(ing)  DAY’s  global  presence  amplifies  the  popular  dialogue  on  public  space  and   life   with   unprecedented   scope.     Abetted   by   information   technology   in   a   postmodern   era,   the   annual   celebration   is   –   in   spatial   and   temporal   terms   –   both   specific   and   transcendent.   Second,  the  PARK  challenges  casual  passersby  to  re-­‐envision  the  possibilities   for   public   life   and   mobility   through   its   provocative   combination   of   spatial,   programmatic,  and  temporal  novelty.    Its  temporary  re-­‐appropriation  of  the  street   with   highly   visible   and   often   flamboyant   installations   not   only   incites   renewed   dialogue   on   public   space,   but   also   actually   reinvents   a   new   vocabulary,   giving   us   new  images  and  experiences  with  which  to  discuss  the  land  typically  allotted  to  car   storage.     The   PARKs’   open   configuration   interacts   with   citizens   both   visually   and   experientially,   inviting   inhabitation   and   rendering   an   oft-­‐unforgettable   sensory   experience   for   observers   and   users   alike.     In   this   regard,   the   provenance   of   PARK(ing)   DAY   celebration   in   avant-­‐garde   art   is   unmistakable.     Indeed   contemporary   reflections   on   the   Situationists   readily   illuminate   the   parallels   between  both  movements  (Haydn  and  Temel  2006;  Bugarič  2010).   Third,  the  temporary  nature  of  PARKs  disarms  immediate  reactionary  fears   of   rapid   change.     Ephemeral   installations   such   as   the   day-­‐long   PARKs   allow   observers   to   reconsider   multiple   and   overlapping   uses   of   public   space   without  

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aggressively threatening  accustomed  patterns  of  behavior.    In  his  essay  Active  Urban   Scenes,  Boštjan  Bugarič  contents  that  

Participative techniques   of   cultural   practices   address   questions   concerning   various   urban   topics   as   means   of   inducing   development   of   programmes   in   various  urban  environments.    This  prevents  the  development  of  a  single  type   of   activities   by   encouraging   visits   to   certain   urban   areas,   which   are   facing   abandonment   due   to   various   urban,   social   and   economic   processes.     Temporary  installations,  performances  and  urban  actions  organized  in  public   space   represented   an   answer   to   social,   cultural,   and   spatial   discordances.   (2010,  p.22)     Lastly,   PARK(ing)   DAY   directly   influenced   the   formulation   of   the   Parklet  

typology itself     (Seltenrich   2011).     In   primary   research   undertaken   by   this   thesis,   stakeholders  draw  a  direct  association  between  PARK(ing)  Day  and  the  adoption  of   ‘Pavement   to   Parks’   and   like   programs   by   city   governments.     The   provisional   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   produced   by   such   programs   are,   in   turn,   positively   linked   in   stakeholder   interviews   with   an   intention   to   permanently   re-­‐appropriate   right-­‐of-­‐way  for  pedestrian  uses.    A  great  number  of  Parklet  locations  examined  in   this   thesis   were   anticipated   for   one   or   more   preceding   years   by   a   PARK(ing)   Day   installation   –   some   examples   include   Lakeshore   Avenue   and   Actual   Café   in   Oakland;4   Ritual   Coffee   in   San   Francisco;5   and   at   LA   Café   on   Spring   Street   in   Los   Angeles.    Thus,  PARK(ing)  DAY  can  be  understood  as  directly  advancing  –  through   ‘tactical’   means   –   the   long-­‐range,   ‘strategic’   agendas   of   cities   to   make   permanent   change.      

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2.3.3 – Analogues This thesis   cannot   ignore   the   significance   of   other   similar   forms   of   avant-­‐ garde  action  that  are  contemporaneous  with,  and  even  somewhat  precede,  the  rise   of  PARK(ing)  DAY  in  2005.      In  addition  to  the  cases  of  ‘Tactical  Urbanism’  indexed   by   the   Street   Plans   Collaborative     (2011,   2012),   other   guerilla   actions   bear   acknowledgement.    Artist  and  “traffic  campaigner”  Ted  Dewan  originated  the  “road   witching”  movement  in  Oxford,  England  in  2003.    These  “folk  traffic  calming”  tactics   employ   sculpture   and   household   furniture   staged   like   rooms   as   temporary   road-­‐ closure   devices   (Coughlan   2005).   Dewan’s   manifesto   frames   his   activism   as   “The   Road   Witch   Trial;”   an   ongoing   process   of   “Challenging   the   popular   delusion   that   roads   are   for   cars   to   drive   down   and   little   else”   (Dewan   2005)   One   road   witch   installation  was  staged  like  a  living  room  (“Room  Rage”)  in  the  middle  of  the  street,   replete   with   furniture   such   as   a   couch,   floor   lamp,   houseplants   and   television.     In   an   interview  with  the  BBC,  Dewan  states:   There's   an   element   of   fun   and   mischief,   but   underneath   is   the   ambition   to   encourage   people   to   re-­‐examine   how   roads   are   used…     With   the   living   room,   it   was   the   most   direct   way   of   saying   'We   live   here.  This  is  our  living  space.    (Coughlan  2005,  p.1)     Dewan  applies  the  moniker  “road  witching”  to  a  broad  spectrum  of  related  actions   overlapping  with  the  ‘tactical’  and  ‘guerilla.’    Indeed,  the  Road  Witch  website  refers   directly   to   the   first   PARK(ing)   installed   by   REBAR,   with   a   photograph   and   link   to   “Road  Witching  in  San  Francisco”  

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The ‘living   room’   program   deployed   quite   literally   by   Dewan   –   and   more   abstractly  by  PARKs,  Parklets  and  demonstration  Plazas  –  finds  other  creative  and   socially   conscious   applications   within   the   urban   context   of   California.     Having   pioneered  the  concept  in  Oakland  several  years  before  (Gropman  2008;  Steinhauer   2008),  landscape  architect  Steve  Rasmussen  Cancian  coordinated  the  installation  of     ‘Community  Living  Rooms’  throughout  Los  Angeles.    

  Figure  15:  ‘Community  Living  Room’  at  a  bus  stop  for  both  Metro  (regional)  and  LADOT  ‘Dash’  (local)  lines,  7th  and   Witmer   Streets,   Los   Angeles.     Besides   introducing   much-­needed   seating   facilities,   the   simple   sculptural   objects   transform  the  character  of  the  streetscape.  (Designer:  Steve  Rasmussen  Cancian)  


Cancian’s ‘Community   Living   Room’   tactic   issues   from   a   personal   philosophy  

especially attentive  to  the  spectre  of  gentrification.    Cancian  carefully  outlines  how  

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public space   improvements   can   contribute   to   larger   patterns   of   displacement   in   central   cities   (Jesi   2010;   Gropman   2008).   Cancian   emphasizes   a   ‘Planning   to   Stay’   approach   that   investigates   and   addresses   problems   identified   by   existing   resident   communities     (Jesi   2010;   Gropman   2008)   and   implements   solutions   through   simple   and   straightforward   means   that   are   carefully   calibrated   for   those   residents.     The   ‘Community  Living  Rooms’  explicitly  target  neighborhoods  deficient  in  public  space   amenities.    In  Los  Angeles,  a  survey  of  bus  riders  indicated  a  lack  of  seating  at  transit   stops;  in  response  to  the  survey,  7  of  the  15  living  rooms  catalogued  in  April  2008   were   installed   at   central-­‐city   transit   stops   (Steinhauer   2008).   The   ‘Community   Living   Rooms’   can   be   carefully   distinguished   from   other   typologies   of   ‘tactical   urbanism,’  which  (as  the  thesis  discusses  in  Section  4.1)  can  become  associated  with   gentrification,  displacement,  and  replicating  existing  patterns  of  inequity.     2.3.4 – A Genealogical Timeline  

Parklets and   Pedestrian   Plazas   are   no   longer   regarded   as   wholly   novel  

typologies, but   rather   tried   and   tested   interventions   incorporated   into   sanctioned   city   strategies.   Their   conceptual   and   material   expression,   however,   originates   in   a   militant  strain  of  avant-­‐garde  performance  art  which  challenged  dominant  modes  of   designing  and  managing  public  space.    An  analysis  of  the  typologies’  origins  reveals   a   marked   revolution   within   urban   design   and   planning   practice;   showing   how   radical  action  resulted  –  with  especial  rapidness  in  over  the  last  five  years  –  in  the   widespread  reconsideration  of  the  function  of  streets.   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


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Figure 16:    A  Historical  Timeline  for  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas    (Abad  Ocubillo  2012)  


2.4 -­  Integrated  Modes  of  Spatial  and  Social  Production   As   the   spatial   and   social   interface   between   public   and   private   domains,   the   sidewalk   has   been   the   venue   of   intense   contestation   throughout   history   (Ehrenfeucht  &  Loukaitou-­‐Sideris  2010;  Ford  2000).    The  sidewalk  remains  a  site  of   ongoing   negotiation   between   the   public   and   private   dimensions   of   our   society;   it   physical   and   spatial   manipulation   expresses   political,   social,   and   economic   dynamics.    Furthermore,  as  municipalities  continually  reassess  their  expenditures  in   order   to   balance   ever-­‐shrinking   budgets,   investment   in   and   stewardship   of   public   open  space  amenities  shifts  to  private  citizens  and  non-­‐governmental  groups.    This   presents   a   number   of   implications   specific   to   the   production   of   space   at   the   sidewalk;  and  the  following  section  establishes  the  historic  context  of  physical  and   social   production   and   re-­‐production   from   which   the   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   emerges.   2.4.1 – Grassroots Initiative, Organizing and Action: In   the   most   successful   and   inspring   cases   coming   from   Heuristic   Urbanism,   the   involvement   of   individuals   and   community   groups   can   initiate   greater   social   integration,  environmental  quality,  and   changes  in  city  polices  and  programs.    The   streetscape   provides   a   ready   arena   for   expression   and   experimentation,   where   Margaret   Crawford   sites   “the   intersection   of   publics,   spaces,   and   identities”   which   “delineate   a   new   urban   arena   for   democratic   action   that   challenges   normative   definitions   of   how   democracy   works.     Specifically   constituted   conunterpublics  

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organized around   a   site   or   activity   create   what   anthropologist   James   Holston   calls   ‘spaces  of  insurgent  citizenship’”  (2008,  p.35).       Meroni   and   Tapani   assert   that   bottom-­‐up   design   initiatives   inherently   reinforce   or   even   create   local   social   capital   where   none   had   existed   before,   thus   illustrating  “the  power  of  the  social  fabric  to  shape  the  meaning  and  structure  of  a   physical  public  space,  instead  of  the  other  way  round”  (2010,    p.16).    This  causality   lies  at  the  heart  of  Heuristic  Urbanism,  where  local  actors  or  groups  of  actors  assume   tactical  approaches  to  changing  government  strategies  of  planning,  production,  and   management  of  the  urban  topos.   In   California,   several   grassroots   initiatives   in   the   last   decade   directly   addressed   the   ecological   dysfunction   of   streets   and   sidewalks,   resulting   in   the   creation   or   adjustment   of   new   municipal   codes.     These   legislative   victories   anticipated  or  concurred  with  a  suite  of  actions  and  policy  changes  concerning  the   streetscape;   a   survey   of   which   is   beyond   the   scope   of   this   thesis.     In   brief,   the   ‘sidewalk  greening’  efforts  described  here  relate  to  a  broad  range  of  activism  around   bicycle   and   transit   mobility,   complete   and   living   streets   policy   (LaPlante   and   McCann  2008),  neighborhood  beautification  and  economic  development.   For   example   in   San   Francisco,   advocacy   by   landscape   architect   Jane   Martin   resulted   in   the   formulation   of   a   Sidewalk   Landscaping   Permit   (2006).     This   permit   created  a  valid  legal  definition  for  the  resident-­‐sponsored  replacement  of  sidewalk   concrete  with  plantings  –  an  informal  practice  of  parkway  intervention  technically   forbidden   before,   or   permittable   only   though   expensive   and   cumbersome   means.     Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


Martin’s pilot  landscaping  experiments  on  her  own  residential  block  in  the  Mission   District   also   functioned   as   a   community-­‐building   endeavor   –   giving   neighbors   reasons   to   speak,   interact   and   collaborate   where   they   had   never   done   so   before   (Bishop  2009;  Eaton  &  Sullivan  2009).    Martin  also  founded  Permeable  Landscape  As   Neighborhood   Treasure   in   San   Francisco   (PLANT   SF),   which   provides   technical   support   and   information   for   interested   residents.     Between   2006   and   2009,   the   City   of  San  Francisco  received  over  500  sidewalk  landscaping  permits  (Taylor  2009).    

Figure  17:  New  Sidewalk  Landscaping  at  24th  and  Alabama  Streets  in  San  Francisco    (Abad  Ocubillo  2012).    This   was  planted  by  Friends  of  the  Urban  Forest  through  the  Sidewalk  Landscape  Permit.  

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Similarly, in   Los   Angeles,   a   diverse   range   of   landscape   activists   also   thrive;   empowered   through   organizations   focusing   on   design,   ecological   restoration,   and   community   development.     These   nonprofits   in   southern   California   mediate   complex   relationships   between   the   City   and   local   communities,   setting   precedents   of   increased  interaction  with  demonstration  projects.   Recently,   a   new   Residential   Parkway   Landscaping   Guideline   (2010)   was   adopted   by   the   City   of   Los   Angeles.         The   guidelines   were   co-­‐authored   by   Tree   People,   “…an   environmental   nonprofit   that   unites   the   power   of   trees,   people   and   technology  to  grow  a  sustainable  future  for  Los  Angeles”  (2012).  The  new  guidelines   expanded   the   palette   of   plantings   to   include   native   and   drought-­‐tolerant   species,   whereas  before,  only  turf  grass  was  legally  permissible.    North  East  Trees,  founded   in   Los   Angeles   in   1989,   seeks   “To   restore   nature's   services   in   resource   challenged   communities,   through   a   collaborative   resource   development,   implementation,   and   stewardship  process"  (2012).    North  East  Trees  produced  a  number  of  pocket  parks   from  remnant  pieces  of  road  right-­‐of-­‐ways  in  working  class  neighborhoods  adjacent   to   the   Los   Angeles   River.     These   small,   networked   project   sites   were   produced   in   intimate   collaboration   with   community   residents.     North   East   Trees   also   works   closely  with  the  Los  Angeles  Department  of  Public  Works’  Bureau  of  Street  Services’   Engineering   Division   to   experiment   with   new   landscape   infrastructure   solutions   addressing   storm   water   mitigation.   Their   partnership   installed   demonstration   projects  with  parkway  rain  gardens  and  storm  water  infiltration  technologies  below   the   street;   an   integrated   mode   of   streetscape   and   infrastructure   enhancement   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


advised by   Ehrenfeucht   and   Loukaitou-­‐Sideris   (2010,   p.462)   and   others.     In   these   cases   of   ‘sidewalk   greening,’   a   nonprofit   group   bridges   the   political   and   technical   gap  between  communities  and  the  city  government.    

Figure   18:     Elmer   Avenue   Greenstreet     (Abad   Ocubillo   2011).       This   unincorporated   neighborhood   in   the   San   Fernando   Valley   was   prone   to   flooding   during   rainstorms.     The   streetscape,   which   previously   lacked   sidewalks,   became  untraversable  for  pedestrians  and  cars  alike.  


The creation   of   the   Sidewalk   Landscaping   Permit   (SF)   and   the   Residential   Parkway   Landscaping   Guideline   (L.A.)   clearly   demonstrates   how   design-­‐based   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


streetscape activism   can   produce   community   cohesion,   enhance   environmental   ambience,  and  affect  change  in  municipal  government.    Later,  this  thesis  reveals  how   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   initiatives   effect   the   same   changes   in   both   the   community  and  government  arenas.     2.4.2 – Public-Private Partnership in the Parkway The  American  tradition  of  planting  the  ‘parkway’  (the  strip  between  curb  and   sidewalk)  dates  as  far  back  as  the  early  nineteenth  century  (Lawrence  2006).    The   custom   of   private   citizens   cultivating   their   city-­‐owned   frontages   persists   to   the   present  day.    This  arrangement  has  since  been  formalized  in  municipal  codes,  which   typically  place  the  initiative  for  planting  –  and  the  burden  of  maintenance  –  on  the   fronting  property  owner.   The   Los   Angeles   Department   of   Public   Works’   Bureau   of   Street   Services   already  requires  a  3-­‐5  year  privately-­‐funded  maintenance  plan  for  all  new  parkway   landscape  projects  (City  of  Los  Angeles  2003).    While  the  cost  and  maintenance  of   ‘parkway’   plantings   has   always   rested   with   fronting   property   owners,   arboriculture   (care  of  trees)  is  typically  undertaken  by  municipal  urban  forestry  divisions  due  to   its   technical   complexity.     However   recently,   in   some   extreme   cases,   urban   forests   are  transitioning  away  from  governmental  management  entirely.    In  San  Francisco,   the   Department   of   Public   works   expects   to   relinquish   approximately   90%   of   the   urban  forest  into  the  care  of  fronting  property  owners  before  2019  (Gordon  2011;   Kuchar  2011;  Sabatini  2011).   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


As discussed  in  the  previous  Section,  numerous  nonprofit  programs  provide   fully  or  partially  subsidized  parkway  tree-­‐planting  programs:  Friends  of  the  Urban   Forest   (San   Francisco),   Tree   People,   North   East   Trees   and   the   Los   Angeles   Conservation  Corps  (Los  Angeles).    This  helps  to  offset  the  financial  hardship  faced   by   may   lower-­‐income   neighborhoods   which   suffer   from   a   historic   lack   of   investment.    At  the  same  time,  these  tree  plantings  tend  to  compound  the  resource   challenges   faced   by   governmental   forestry   divisions.     This   has   been   the   chief   criticism   of   Los   Angeles   Mayor   Villaraigosa’s   Million   Trees   L.A.   initiative   –   that   our   human   desire   and   ecological   necessity   for   augmenting   the   urban   canopy   directly   conflicts  with  the  city’s  capacity  to  manage  that  infrastructure  properly.    Without  a   robust  and  sustainable  stewardship  component,  the  future  outcomes  of  aggressive   tree  planting  programs  does  seem  uncomfortably  uncertain.    This  underscores  the   necessity   for   ongoing   maintenance   and   management   agreements   for   Parklets   and   Pedestrian  Plazas,  which  Sections  1.2  and  3.2.2  discuss  in  greater  detail.    

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Abad Ocubillo  2012  

Table 2:  Public-­Private  Arrangements:  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plaza  Implementation    (Abad  Ocubillo  2012)  



2.4.3 – Inequity and the Distribution of Open Space Amenities The historic   practice   of   privately-­‐sponsored   parkway   planting   created   uneven   tree   distribution   and   inequitable   streetscape   investment   from   the   very   beginnings   of   American   urbanization.     These   patterns   are   still   legible   today   –   the   environmental   infrastructure   of   mature   urban   forests   and   open   space   preserves   are   typically  associated  with  the  districts  of  wealthier  citizens    (Pincetl  &  Gearin  2005).     A   clear   correlation   exists   between   adjacent   open   space   amenities   and   increased   property   values,   further   reinforcing   preexisting   conditions   of   geographical   class   distribution  (Criscione  2001).    For  example  in  Los  Angeles,  Bel  Air  has  53%  canopy   cover,   whereas   South   Los   Angeles   has   less   than   7%     (McPherson   et   al   2007),   a   contrast   attributable   to   the   city’s   historic   narrative   of   class   settlement.     This   inequality   contextualizes   current   efforts   to   ‘green’   city   streets;   where   community   organizations   such   as   North   East   Trees   (Los   Angeles)   are   working   towards   environmental  and  social  equity  through  the  landscape  medium.   Class   and   race   intersect   as   well,   creating   a   condition   whereby   certain   ethnicities  are  disproportinately  affected  by  the  lack  of  open  space  amenies.    In  an   analysis  of  parks  and  park  funding  in  Los  Angeles,  Wolch,  Wilson,  and  Fehrenbach     found   that   “low-­‐income   and   concentrated   poverty   areas   as   well   as   neighborhoods   dominated   by   Latinos,   African   Americans,   and   Asian-­‐Pacific   Islanders,   have   dramatically  lower  levels  of  access  to  park  resources  than  White-­‐dominated  areas  of   the   city”     (2005,   p1).     Other   studies   track   the   same   perpetuation   of   historic   patterns   in  other  cities;  for  example  in  Baltimore  where  of  Boone,  Buckley,  Grove  and  Sister   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


assert that   “the   present-­‐day   pattern   [of   parks]…   should   be   interpreted   as   environmental  injustice”    (2009,    p.1).  

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2.5 –  Objectives  and  Outcomes  of  Heuristic  Urbanism   The   previous   section   explored   how   the   physical   sidewalk   is   a   product   of   social   forces;   the   manipulation   of   public   and   private   interests;   and   the   remnant   of   past  regimes  of  investment  and  management.    Conversely,  this  section  explores  how   physical   interventions   –   or   the   process   of   implementing   them   –   are   meant   to   influence  social  dynamics  and  contribute  to  the  formulation  of  a  new  urban  culture.     2.5.1 – Living Streets: Multimodality, Safety and Public Health Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas  form  integral  components  of  a  whole  suite  of   interventions   correlated   with   encouraging   pedestrian   and   bicycle   mobility.   The   primary   research   undertaken   by   this   thesis   found   that   stakeholders   universally   identify  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas  with  ‘Living’  and  ‘Complete  Street’  strategies.   ‘Living’  or  ‘complete  streets’  are,  according  to  LaPlante  and  McCann,  “designed  to  be   safe  for  drivers;  bicyclists;  transit  vehicles  and  users;  and  pedestrians  of  all  ages  and   abilities”     (2008,   p.24).         Physical   traffic-­‐calming   features   include   small   interventions   such   as   bulb-­‐outs,   neck   downs,   and   curb   extensions;   while   larger   projects   such   as   Pedestrian   Plazas   have   demonstrated   decreased   danger   to   both   pedestrians   and   motorists   (McFredies   2008;   Los   Angeles   County   2011).       For   example   robust   impact   studies   of   interventions   in   New   York   City   verified   reduced   pedestrian-­‐motorist   injuries   along   Broadway   (New   York   City   Department   of   Transportation  2010);  while  auto  collision  rates  on  Guerrero  Street  in  San  Francisco  

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were shown   to   decrease   by   53   percent   since   the   installation   of   Guerrero   Park     (Arieff   2009).     The   primary   research   undertaken   by   this   thesis   also   found   that   Parklets   are   perceived   as   having   traffic-­‐calming   effects   as   well   (presented   in   more   detail  in  Section  3.2.1),  although  these  effects  have  not  yet  been  tested.       Furthermore,  an  abundance  of  literature  documents  how  sedentary  lifestyles   contribute  to  widespread  obesity  and  other  health  issues    (Ashe  et  al  2009;  Frank,   Schmid   &   Sallis   2005;   Frumkin,   Frank   &   Jackson   2004;   Jackson   2003;   McCann   &   Ewing  2003).   Thus   much   of   the   rhetoric   of   streetscape   intervention   emphasizes   the   potential  for  more  walkable  communities  to  impact  public  health;  especially  that  of   children.     For   example,   Rahman,   Cushing   and   Jackson   (2009)   have   found   that   “children   lacking   access   to   sidewalks   or   paths,   parks,   playgrounds,   or   recreational   centers   have   20%   –   45%   higher   odds   of   becoming   obese   or   overweight   compared   with  children  who  have  regular  access  to  such  amenities”  and  that  “perceived  safety   from   traffic   and   crime   is   associated   with   higher   rates   of   children   walking   and   bicycling  to  school”  (201,  p.54).    The  ‘Safe  Routes  to  Schools’  movement  in  California   –  structured  heavily  around  a  multi-­‐stakeholder  community  engagement  approach  –   focuses   on   interventions   which   increase   pedestrian   and   bicycle   accessibility   for   young  people  (Seifert,  Christopher,  Farrar,  Preston,  Duarte  &  Geraghty  2009).     2.5.2 – Quality of Place Jane  Jacobs  (1961/1989),  Donald  Appleyard  (1981),  Davis  (1990/2006),  and   others   have   described   how   the   urban   environment   –   and   therefore   the   humane   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


urban experience   –   was   decimated   by   programmes   of   urban   renewal   and   the   predominance  of  traffic  planning  starting  around  the  mid-­‐twentieth  century.    They  –   along   with   Jan   Gehl   (1987;   2010),   William   Whyte   (1988/2009),   the   Project   for   Public   Spaces   (1975-­‐present)   –   also   developed   schema   for   a   high-­‐quality   urban   experience.    The  primary  research  undertaken  by  this  thesis  revealed  how  Parklets   and  Pedestrian  Plazas  are  positively  associated  by  stakeholders  with  creating  a  high-­‐ quality  urban  experience,  correlating  with  attributes  identified  by  the  literature.   The  Project  for  Public  Spaces  identifies  four  key  qualities  of  successful  open   spaces:    “…they  are  accessible;  people  are  engaged  in  activities  there;  the  space  is   comfortable   and   has   a   good   image;   and   finally,   it   is   a   sociable   place:   one   where   people  meet  each  other  and  take  people  when  they  come  to  visit”    (Project  for  Public   Spaces   2012).     The   primary   research   undertaken   by   this   thesis   (presented   in   Chapter  3)  links  stakeholder  perceptions  of  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas  to  all  four   of   these   qualities.     Additionally,   the   schema   articulated   by   The   Project   for   Public   Spaces   comprehensively   synthesizes   a   range   of   findings   identified   by   the   other   urbanists   cited   above,   and   provides   a   ready   structure   for   parsing   their   respective   contributions  to  a  definition  of  what  constitutes  a  successful  urban  place.    

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Figure 19:    What  Makes  a  Good  Place?    (The  Project  for  Public  Spaces  2012)  

  Jane   Jacobs   found   that   multi-­‐functional   spaces   and   a   concentration   of   users   were   key   elements   of   high-­‐quality   urban   places.     Similarly,   Gehl   Architects   and   William   Whyte   identified   (in   each   of   their   respective   studies)   that   a   range   of   activities  and  options  for  activities  are  also  a  characteristic  of  good  spaces.    Whyte      found   that   food   service   –   in   or   adjacent   to   urban   open   spaces   –   encouraged   occupation   and   inhabitation   throughout   greater   periods   over   the   day.     This   thesis  

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observed how   the   physical   implantation   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   expand   the  range  of  opportunities  for  gathering  and  therefore  activities.    

The work  of  Kevin  Lynch  (1960),  Peter  Bosselman  (1998;  2008),  and  Dolores  

Hayden (1995)  explored  how  people  remember  and  image  their  urban  experience.     Bosselman  documented  the  space-­‐time  experience  of  progressing  through  the  city;   while   Lynch   and   Hayden   studied   spatial   memory   and   perceptions   of   legibility   and   territory.    This  thesis  found  that  at  the  project  level,  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas   act   as   landmarks;   while   at   the   program   level,   they   contribute   significantly   to   the   image  of  the  city  in  terms  of  its  progressiveness.    Other  research  emphasizes  variety,   differentiated   articulation,   and   heterogeneity   of   urban   fabric,   architecture,   and   streetscape   environments   to   be   important   contributing   elements   to   successful   places   (Appleyard   1981;   Gehl   1987,   2010;   Project   for   Public   Spaces   1975-­‐present;   Whyte  1988).    

Appleyard correlated   wider   streets   with   greater   traffic   volumes   and   higher  

vehicle speeds,   which   in   turn   correlated   with   decreased   interaction   and   cohesion   between   neighbors   (1981).   Jacobs   (1961/1989),   Gehl   (2010),   and   Bugarič     (2010)   insist   that   a   variation   in   the   articulation   and   vintage   of   buildings   lends   added   interest  and  opportunity  to  the  street  scene;  while  Dover  and  King  (2007)  call  for  a   mix  of  land  uses  and  housing  types.    At  the  same  time,  Appleyard’s  work  emphasizes   the  necessity  of  pedestrian  connectivity  and  access  for  the  success  of  public  spaces.    

William Whyte   developed   the   theory   of   “Triangulation,”   whereby   “some  

external stimulus  provides  a  linkage  between  people  and  prompts  strangers  to  talk   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


to other  strangers  as  if  they  knew  each  other…    The  stimulus  can  be  a  physical  object   or  sight”  (2009,  p.154).    While  Whyte  was  refering  here  to  public  art  (sculpture),  his   theory   of   triangulation   also   applies   to   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   installations.       These   novel   insertions   into   the   urban   landscape   prompt   lively   discourse   in   the   popular   media   as   well   as   on   the   street,   in   their   immediate   environs.     In   this   way,   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   can   –   given   the   appropriate   prerequisite   conditions   (presented   in   Section   3.2.2)   –   be   understood   as   vital,   contributing   elements   of   successful  public  spaces.  

2.5.3 – Economic Boosterism

Pedestrian and   bicycle   enhancement   programs   can   correlate   directly   with  

increased economic  development  at  the  site  and  district  scales  (Drennen  2003;  New   York   City   2011;   Prokai   1999;   San   Francisco   Great   Streets   Project   2011).     Projects   that   improve   streetscape   ambience,   expand   the   pedestrian-­‐right-­‐of-­‐way,   and   even   close  streets  to  automobile  traffic  on  temporary  or  permanent  bases  are  perceived   as   positively   contributing   elements   of   a   business   environment   (Baltes   2004;   Schaefer   2011).       These   have   the   documented   effects   of   decreasing   local   vacancy   rates,   increasing   property   values,   and   diversifying   the   mix   of   business   types   (Prokai   1999).    

In particular,   the   few   impact   studies   of   Parklets   indicate   the   probability   of   a  

highly localized  enhancement  of  business  performance.    The  Divisadero  Trial  Parklet   Impact   Report   (SF   Great   Streets   Project   2010)   reported   that   increased   foot   traffic   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


correlated with   the   Parklet   does   “have   the   potential   to   contribute   to   economic   activity  in  an  area”  (p.  17).    Overall,  the  SF  Great  Streets  studies  were  not  at  the  time   of   their   publication   able   to   confirm   a   causal   relationship   between   Parklets   and   increased   profits   for   hosts   or   adjacent   businesses   (2010,   2011).   However,   the   scope   of  their  studies  focused  on  environmental  perception  and  pedestrian  amenity  only   months   after   the   completion   of   certain   Parklet   cases.     Its   likely   that   longitudinal   studies   that   focus   more   on   economic   impacts   would   reveal   the   true   effects   of   Parklets  on  local  business  performance.      The  Curbside  Public  Seating  Platform  Pilot   Program   Evaluation   Report   (New   York   City   Department   of   Transportation   2011)   reported  that  “Most  establishments  experienced  sales  increases,  and  they  all  felt  the   installations   were   good   for   business…   and   would   also   bring   financial   benefits   in   the   long  term”  (p.  14).     2.5.4 – Collective Identity and Citizenship  

By engaging  all  strata  of  society  in  its  processes,  Heuristic  Urbanism  effects  a  

sense of   group   and   community   identity   amongst   its   participants.     Rachel   Berney   identified   the   “Pedagogical   Urbanism”   (2011)   of   Bogotà,   Colombia,   where   public   infrastructure   programmes   initiated   by   civic   leadership   formulated   a   renewed   image  for  the  city  and  sense  of  collective  identity  for  its  citizens.    A  similar  dynamic   prevails  with  Heuristic  Urbanism,  whereby  citizens  are  invited  to  participate  in  the   improvement  of  urban  life  through  interventions  to  the  streetscape.    Indeed  much  of   the  tactical  action  associated  with  Heuristic  Urbanism  as  defined  by  this  thesis  was     Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


Figure 20:   ‘Deepistan   National   Parklet,’   937   Valencia   Street   (Abad   Ocubillo   2012).   “Trixie’   the   triceratops   has   become  a  mascot  for  mid-­Valencia.    (Parklet  Host:  Amandeep  Jawa,  a  private  citizen;    Designer:  Jane  Martin,  Shift   Design  Studio)  

  credited   by   interviewees   as   being   directly   inspired   by   strategies   employed   by   the   “Pedagogical   Urbanism”   described   by   Berney   in   Bogota.     For   example,   bicycle   street   festivals   such   as     ‘Sunday   Streets’   (San   Francisco),   ‘CicLAvia’   (Los   Angeles)’   and   ‘Critical  Mass’  (cities  worldwide)  were  patented  on  ‘Ciclovia,’  which  began  in  Bogota   in   the   late   1970s.     These   events   not   only   alter   street   functions   on   an   ephemeral   basis,   but   also   provide   alternative   modes   of   engaging   physically   with   the   city   and   identifying  with  a  civic  community.    In  Chapter  3,  this  thesis  will  describe  how  the   open   space   infrastructure   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   entails   intense  

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cooperation between   government,   neighborhood   groups,   business   operators   and   individuals;   engendering   a   type   of   community-­‐building   process   tied   closely   with   identities  as  the  neighborhood  and  civic  scale.      

The impact  studies  conducted  by  San  Francisco  Great  Streets  emphasized  the  

effects Parklets  have  on  neighborhood  identity.  This  exemplifies  what  Kevin  Lynch   called  “Place  Character,”  that  which  lends  a  sense  of  identity,  security,  pleasure  and   understanding  to  a  landscape  (1976).  The  character  of  a  neighborhood  is  enriched   by   the   diversity   and   variation   of   activity   on   the   sidewalk   (Ehrenfeucht   &   Loukaitou-­‐   Sideris  2010;  Ford  2000;  Gehl  2010;  Whyte  1988),  which  streetscape  interventions   can   support.     Parklets   tend   to   help   enhance,   or   in   some   cases   help   generate,   a   persona   for   their   neighborhood   where   none   had   existed   before.   Sole   installations   function  as  local  landmarks,  whereas  an  assemblage  of  Parklets  create  a  district  with   enhanced   or   special   character,   such   as   the   Valencia   Street,   Polk   Street,   or   Columbus   Avenue   Corridors   in   San   Francisco.     The   findings   of   this   thesis,   generated   from   stakeholder   interviews,   concur   decidedly   with   the   literature   by   confirming   place-­‐ making   effects   of   projects   like   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   on   their   respective   neighborhoods.    

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CHAPTER 3 – FINDINGS The   research   questions   structure   the   inquiry   and   subsequent   findings   into   discussions   focusing   on   three   different   scales:     that   of   the   city,   as   an   independent   case   and   in   terms   of   its   relationship   to   the   other   cities   being   studied;   that   of   the   individual  project  site;  and  that  of  development  over  time.    Only  questions  one  and   two  are  addressed  here  in  this  Chapter;  question  three  is  addressed  in  the  next  and   final  Chapter  of  the  thesis.   The   first   question   reveals   the   developmental   histories   of   Parklets   and   demonstration   Plazas   in   each   case   city;   which   taken   together   begin   to   outline   a   meta-­‐narrative  for  Heuristic  Urbanism  in  California.    The  second  research  question   investigates  pre-­‐existing  conditions  at  project  sites;  drawing  a  set  of  commonalities   across  Parklet  and  demonstration  Plaza  interventions.    The  third  research  question   considers   the   long-­‐term   implications   of   Heuristic   Urbanism   for   neighborhoods   and   cities  over  time.  

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3.1 -­  Innovation  and  Restructuring    

The Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   typologies   (defined   in   Section   1.2)   are  

relatively novel   in   comparison   to   existing   modes   of   urban   design,   especially   in   California.       Thus   their   implementation   requires   considerable   innovation   and   creativity  on  the  part  of  stakeholders.    The  thesis  explores  the  challenges  that  each   city   faces   with   the   Heuristic   Urbanism   of   Parklets     and   Pedestrian   Plazas,   revealing   sets   of   differences   and   commonalities   between   municipalities.     A   narrative   history   of   each   case   city   is   presented   here   in   order   of   their   relative   stage   of   development   with   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   experimentation:     San   Francisco,   Long   Beach,   Oakland,  and  Los  Angeles.    Though  not  in  California,  a  brief  narrative  of  New  York   City’s  Plaza  Program  is  provided  as  context  for  subsequent  program  developments   in  the  other  cities.    This  Chapter  considers  the  first  research  question:     1. How   are   existing   structures   and   systems   of   governmental   and   social   organization   adapted   in   order   to   realize   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   in   California   Cities?     What   are   the   new   innovative   governmental,  private,  and  community  mechanisms  created?  

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3.1.1 – Background: The New York Plaza Program The   New   York   City   Plaza   Program   provided   a   model   for   the   ‘Pavement   to   Parks’  program  in  San  Francisco.6  Recognizing  the  successful  formula  prototyped  by   New  York,  San  Francisco  assimilated  the  key  aspects  of  that  program  which  would   in  turn  influence  the  development  of  Parklet  programs  in  other  cities.    The  primary   characteristics   of   the   New   York   model   –   thence   disseminated   to   other   cities   –   are   both   spatial   and   social:     First,   the   program   redresses   the   imbalanced   allocation   of   uses   in   the   right   of   way.     Secondly,   the   interventions   were   staged   initially   as   temporary   experiments   whose   performance   would   inform   the   possibility   of   permanent   changes.     Third,   the   city   created   new   apparatuses   for   the   implementation,  evaluation  and  regulation  of  the  program  and  its  sites.    Lastly,  the   program   relied   upon   a   public-­‐private   partnership   for   execution   and   ongoing   management  of  the  interventions.     New   York   deliberately   targeted   sites   with   an   acute   spatial   imbalance   between   pedestrian   and   automobile   facilities;   identifying   areas   of   “underutilized   street  space”  as  potential  venues  for  expansion  of  the  pedestrian  realm:     Streets   make   up   approximately   25%   of   the   City's   land   area   and   yet,   outside  of  parks  there  are  few  places  to  sit,  rest,  socialize,  and  to  enjoy   public  life.  To  improve  the  quality  of  life  for  New  Yorkers,  DOT  creates   more  public  open  space  by  reclaiming  underutilized  street  space  and   transforming   it   into   pedestrian   plazas.     (New   York   Department   of   Transportation  2012a)     This   pervasive   spatial   condition   forms   the   logical   basis   for   intervention   by   other   cities,  amply  supported  by  the  primary  research  undertaken  in  this  thesis7.       Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


Experimentation –   by   way   of   monitoring   and   evaluation   –   facilitated   the   temporary  road  closures  on  Broadway  in  midtown  Manhattan  during  the  summer  of   2008  (Dunlap  2009;  Jones  2009;  New  York  City  Department  of  Transportation  2008,   2010).     The   popularity   of   this   seminal   experiment   prompted   the   ‘Green   Light   for   Midtown’   project,   an   even   larger   trial   substantiated   by   a   monitoring   program   evaluating   the   impacts   on   traffic   flow   and   pedestrian   safety.   The   results   of   the   “Green   Light   for   Midtown   Evaluation   Report”   (NYC   DOT   2010)   provided   concrete   justifications   for   transitioning   the   closures   along   Broadway   from   experimental   to   permanent.     Since   then,   all   plazas   created   from   closure   of   excess   roadway   are   studied   with   “pedestrian   and   vehicle   counts,   accident   data,   reports   from   the   nonprofit   partners   and   surveys   targeted   to   get   feedback   from   the   public,   businesses   and  landlords”    (NYC  DOT,  2012b).   The  creation  of  a  Plaza  Program  entailed  a  significant  cultural  shift  within  the   NYC   Department   of   Transportation   that   prioritized   pedestrian   amenity   over   automobile  efficiency.  As  this  shift  in  priorities  was  and  is  occurring  in  other  cities,   Parklet   and/or   Plaza   programs   within   those   cities   have   entailed   the   creation   of   new   interdepartmental   and   community   collaborations,   policy   innovations,   and   permitting  procedures.   Every   plaza   in   New   York   requires   advance   community   initiative   and   local   support   before   it   is   considered   by   the   City.     A   lead   nonprofit   assumes   responsibility   for   maintenance   and   programming   of   the   site;   also   garnering   endorsement   from   local  community  boards  and  elected  officials.  Likewise,  Plazas  in     Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


Figure 21:     Plaza   at   'Fowler   Square,'   Brooklyn   (Abad   Ocubillo   2012).     Despite   its   name,   Fowler   Square   is   actually   a   triangle  park  formed  between  Lafayette  Avenue,  Fulton  Street,  and  Elliot  Place.    This  plaza  was  created  by  closing   Elliot  Place  between  Lafayette  Avenue  and  Fulton  Streets.  

San Francisco   –   implemented   through   the   Pavement   to   Parks   Program   –   often   capitalize  upon  pre-­‐existing  community  organizing  and  local  planning  efforts.  These   Neighborhood  Associations  or  Improvement  Districts  become  the  natural  stewards   for   Plaza   sites   in   both   cities.     The   public-­‐private   arrangement   was   also   adapted   to   facilitate   Parklets   in   San   Francisco   and   New   York;   Long   Beach,   Oakland,   and   soon   Los  Angeles.    While  Plazas  are  installed  by  the  city  private  maintained,  Parklets  are   both   funded   and   maintained   through   private   means.     This   cost-­‐sharing   structure   provides  for  faster  public  realm  improvements  than  if  undertaken  by  the  city  alone.   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


A fascinating   dialectical   relationship   developed   between   these   two   flagship   initiatives:    Its  important  to  note  that  though  Pedestrian  Plazas  began  in  New  York,   San   Francisco   originated   the   Parklet   typology   which   was   subsequently   exported   back   to   New   York.     In   San   Francisco,   Parklets   are   administered   together   with   Pedestrian  Plazas  under  the  Pavement  to  Parks  program.  

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3.1.2 – San Francisco: Emergence and Evolution  

As the   Parklet   pioneer,   San   Francisco’s   Pavement   to   Parks   (P2P)   Program  

offers the  longest  narrative  and  history  for  examining  how  a  such  a  novel  initiative   evolves  within  a  California  city.    The  Program’s  inception  can  be  attributed  to  a  visit   of  New  York  City  Transportation  Commissioner  Janette  Sadik-­‐Khan  to  San  Francisco   in   2008.     She   addressed   Mayor   Gavin   Newsom   and   city   staff,   challenging   them   to   experiment   with   a   plaza   program   like   that   initiated   in   2007   by   NYC   Mayor   Bloomberg    (Jones  2008;  Seltenrich  2011).8  In  response,  Mayor  Newsom  issued  an   executive   mandate   to   city   staff   to   create   a   pilot   program.9     The   subsequent   interaction   between   New   York   City   and   San   Francisco   around   typologies   of   streetscape   intervention   exemplifies   a   dynamic   that   is   replicated   between   the   other   cities   in   this   thesis.     The   interviews   indicated   how   stakeholders   in   Long   Beach,   Oakland,  and  Los  Angeles  looked  towards  San  Francisco  and  New  York  for  models  of   projects   and   programs.     The   issuance   of   an   executive   mandate   –   in   this   case   by   Mayor   Newsom   –   also   resurfaces   as   a   tactic   in   other   cities;   notably   in   Los   Angels   where  city  departments  are  looking  to  City  Council  for  a  directive  to  create  a  Parklet   program.   In   response   to   Sadik-­‐Khan   and   Newsom,   various   city   departments   in   San   Francisco  appointed  staffers  to  an  internal  task  force  to  formulate  the  program.    The   initial  stakeholders  were  the  Mayor’s  Office  of  Greening,  the  Urban  Design  Group  of   the  Planning  Department,  the  Bureau  of  Street  Use  and  Mapping  of  the  Department  

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of Public  Works  (DPW),  and  the  Municipal  Transportation  Agency  (SFMTA).10    Since   the  initial  mayoral  mandate,  however,  the  Mayor’s  Office  of  Greening  has  not  been   involved.11    Together,  these  staffers  devised  a  program  with  two  distinct  typologies   of  intervention:  Plazas  and  Parklets.    The  first  typology  borrowed  directly  from  New   York’s  plazas;  whereas  the  latter  typology  evolved  from  PARK(ing)  DAY  installations   as  discussed  previously  in  Section  2.3.2.    

Figure  22:  'Pavement  to  Parks'  Inter-­Agency  Collaborators  (Abad  Ocubillo  2012)  

  At  this  stage,  the  Urban  Design  Group  (UDG)  from  the  Planning  Department   was   mutually   identified   as   an   appropriate   lead   agency   for   the   inter-­‐departmental   collaboration.    The  experimental  and  public-­‐private  characteristics  of  the  proposed  

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program were   identified   more   closely   with   a   public   engagement   strategy   rather   than   a   capital   improvement   program.     Whereas   the   latter   function   is   typically   handled  by  other  agencies,  the  former  is  endemic  to  the  Planning  Department;  thus   making   the   UDG   a   more   natural   choice   for   administering   the   program.12     Andres   Power   –   a   staffer   at   the   UDG   –   spearheaded   the   effort;   marshalling   resources,   materials,   and   information   while   coordinating   city   staff   members,   external   communications,  and  recruitment  of  design  talent.   The  program  officers  defined  a  trial  period  of  approximately  one  year,  during   which  interventions  were  granted  a  provisional  status  (the  significance  and  function   of   ‘temporary   urbanism’   was   introduced   in   Section   2.1;   and   is   discussed   in   detail   later   in   Section   3.1.6).     A   public-­‐private   partnership   emerged   as   a   viable   arrangement   for   implementation;   with   differing   application   to   the   Plazas   and   Parklets.     For   pilot   Plazas   in   San   Francisco,   the   City   typically   provided   capital   funding   and   installation   services   while   the   private   partner(s)   accepted   long-­‐term   stewardship13.     For   pilot   Parklets,   the   private   partner(s)   were   responsible   for   capital  costs,  liability  and  ongoing  maintenance.    For  both  pilot  Plazas  and  Parklets,   Andres   Power   was   involved   in   soliciting   designers   to   participate   on   a   voluntary   basis  with  the  demonstration  projects  (see  Table  2,  Section  2.4.2).14    In  later  cycles   subsequent   to   the   pilot   stage,   the   public-­‐private   structure   would   to   include   some   compensation  by  host  for  design  services.    

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Figure 23:   ‘Showplace   Triangle’   Plaza   (Designer:   REBAR   Group,   plan   rendering   shown   with   permission).     The   triangle  is  formed  at  the  intersection  of  Eighth,  Wisconsin  and  Sixteenth  Streets.    The  colored  portion  of  the  plan   represents   portions   of   Eighth   Street   closed   to   traffic   and   reclaimed   for   pedestrian   use.       A   similar   triangular   configuration   forms   other   San   Francisco   Plazas,   including   Jane   Warner   Plaza   or   ‘Castro   Commons’   (Figure   5)   at   Castro,   Seventeenth   and   Market   Streets;   and   at   Guerrero   Park   where   Guerrero   Street   terminates   at   San   Jose   Avenue.  


The Pavement   to   Parks   task   force   identified   four   sites   for   demonstration  

Plazas, employing   two   site   selection   criteria   common   to   other   programs   including   the  Streets  for  People  initiative  in  Los  Angeles:15    Firstly,  the  plaza  spaces  are  all   formed   from   excess   right-­‐of-­‐way16   (see   Figure   5,   Figure   23,   and   Figure   29).     Secondly,   the   P2P   program   in   two   cases   (‘Castro   Commons’   and   Naples   Green)   leveraged   existing   planning   and   conceptual   design   proposals   produced   by   local   community  and  business  organizations.17  At  the  same  time,  the  P2P  group  identified   eight   sites   in   four   neighborhoods   for   demonstration   Parklets.18     As   with   the   Plaza  

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demonstration projects,   Parklet   interventions   were   preceded   in   at   least   two   neighborhoods   by   significant   community   planning   (Noe   Valley)19   and   intervention   in   the   streetscape.     A   discussion   of   general   site   selection   criteria   for   both   Parklets   and  Pedestrian  Plazas  is  presented  in  Section  3.2.   The   proposed   interventions   were,   at   the   time,   legal   novelties   in   the   City   of   San   Francisco.     The   closest   legal   definition   for   the   plaza   was   a   temporary   street   closure.20      Permits  for  those  closures  and  encroachments  were  typically  processed   and   granted   by   the   Interdepartmental   Staff   Committee   on   Traffic   and   Transportation   (see   Figure   24).21   During   the   early   scoping   phases   of   P2P   Parks,   Andres  Power  presented  case  studies  to  ISCOTT  to  give  them  a  sense  of  what  was   being   planned.     It   was   through   this   body   that   provisional   approval   was   granted   to   the   trial   Plazas   and   Parklets   initiated   in   March   2010   and   completed   in   December   2010.  22   Concurrent   with   pilot   project   implementation   through   2010,   the   P2P   group   developed  a  structure  for  the  Program,  including  an  RFP  and  a  new  legal  definition   for   the   Plazas   and   Parklets.     Nick   Elsner   (DPW)   authored   a   Public   Works   Order   laying  out  the  structural  and  procedural  aspects  of  the  Pavement  to  Parks  program   (San  Francisco  Municipal  Code  2010).    The  new  order  was  modeled  on  the  existing   Table  and  Chairs  Ordinance  (San  Francisco  Municipal  Code  1993),  but  legally  tied  to   a  pre-­‐existing  Landscaping  Ordinance    (San  Francisco  Municipal  Code  2008).  DPW   Director  Ed  Rieskin  signed  the  order  into  effect  of  October  2010;  in  September,  the   first  Parklet  RFP  was  circulated  publicly  by  P2P.   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


Figure 24:     Interdepartmental   Staff   Committee   on   Traffic   and   Transportation,   San   Francisco   (Abad   Ocubillo   2012).     This  body  reviewed  and  approved  the  proposals  for  pilot  Parklet  and  Pedestrian  Plaza  projects.  

  At   present,   the   DPW   Order   facilitates   the   efficient   functioning   of   a   Parklet   Program   within   the   current   structure   of   municipal   code   and   does   not   necessitate   full  legislation  by  the  city  council.    However  as  the  nominal  application  processing   fees   do   not   offset   the   true   cost   of   staff   resources   devoted   to   project   management,   staffers  may  eventually  recommend  that  council  enact  legislation  that  could  secure   in  perpetuity  funding  and  human  resources  for  the  program.23        

A nonprofit   group   served   as   a   vital   complement   to   the   city   departments’  

internal efforts.     San   Francisco   Great   Streets   (SFGS),   a   program   of   the   San   Francisco   Bicycle   Coalition,   conducted   outreach   and   public   engagement   throughout   the   pilot  

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and ongoing  program  phases.24    Their  independent  Parklet  monitoring  programme   produced   some   of   the   first   research   on   the   short-­‐term   local   impacts   of   Parklet   interventions.   The   Divisadero   Parklet   Impact   Study   in   March   2010   focused   on   the   very  first  pilot  Parklet  project,  while  later  reports  with  a  broader  geographic  scope   allowed   for   comparison   across   different   neighborhoods   (SF   Great   Streets   2011a,   2011b).    

Ongoing monitoring   by   the   Pavement   to   Parks   Program   –   and   its   nonprofit  

partner SF  Great  Streets  –  resulted  in  careful  revisions  of  the  Parklet  RFP  and  permit   requirements.    The  pilot  stage  was  succeeded  (as  of  the  writing  of  this  thesis)  by  two   annual  cycles  of  open  RFPs  (SF  Planning  Department  2010,  2011).    Between  these   two   stages,   the   language   in   the   permit   evolved   in   response   to   emerging   issues   related  to  privatization  and  design  quality  (addressed  in  detail  in  Section  4.2.3).  In   preparation  for  the  release  of  a  third-­‐cycle  RFP,  the  P2P  program  plans  to  convene  a   working  committee  of  city  staffers  and  current  permit  holders  to  brainstorm  ways   to  improve  the  program  even  further.25  

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3.1.3 – The City of Long Beach: Straightforward Simplification  

The City   of   Long   Beach   created   its   Parklet   permitting   procedure   quickly,  

relative to   the   other   three   cities   (San   Francisco,   Oakland,   Los   Angeles)   profiled   in   this   thesis.     As   in   San   Francisco,   the   Long   Beach   Parklet   initiative   resulted   from   unilateral   priorities   within   the   city   government   and   strong   leadership   by   its   staff.     Long   Beach   is   committed   to   becoming   ‘America’s   Most   Bike   Friendly   City,’   and   agenda   which   is   systematically   reconceptualizing   and   reconfiguring   the   ROWs   throughout   the   entire   city.     The   Parklet   typology   fits   easily   within   the   city’s   improvement   of   bicycle-­‐pedestrian   facilities   and   was   rapidly   assimilated   by   the   Department  of  Public  Works  (DPW).   Sumi  Gant,  then  Transportation  Planner  in  DPW  Traffic  Engineering  Bureau,   presented   the   idea   in   early   2011   to   City   Engineer   Mark   Christoffels   and   Right-­‐of-­‐ Way  Coordinator  Sue  Castillo.26    All  three  immediately  recognized  the  potential  for   Parklets   to   enhance   a   bourgeoning   sidewalk   culture   in   Long   Beach.     As   with   San   Francisco,   a   lead   government   agency   in   Long   Beach   (DPW)   established   early   and   naturally,  without  the  same  difficulty  observed  later  in  the  cities  of  Oakland  and  Los   Angeles.   Sue   Castillo   was   well   positioned   in   her   capacity   as   plan-­‐checker   to   focus   attention   and   action   on   Parklets,   thenceforth   assuming   a   project   management   and   advocacy  role  for  the  fledgling  program.    From  inception  to  first  Parklet  installation,   Sue   diligently   shepherded   the   process   through   city   and   community   process;  

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resolving construction   and   safety   details   as   well   as   coordinating   with   the   architects,   local  business  and  community  groups  around  issues  such  as  site  selection.27   Castillo   identified   several   Long   Beach   neighborhoods   for   Parklet   demonstrations   and   worked   with   other   city   agencies   (Figure   25)   to   vet   their   viability.28     To   help   build   support   and   understanding   for   the   initiative   within   the   Department   of   Public   Works,   Sue   brought   DPW   Inspector   Rene   Bracamontes   on   a   tour  of  Parklets  in  San  Francisco  in  October  2011.29    This  provided  both  city  staffers   with   an   understanding   of   the   physical   realities   of   Parklet   installations   in   different   spatial   contexts;   and   develop   their   own   sensibilities   about   what   conditions   could   be   appropriate  for  installations  in  Long  Beach.    

Figure  25:    City  of  Long  Beach  –  Internal  Stakeholders  (Abad  Ocubillo  2012)  

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Equipped with   case   studies,   resources   from   San   Francisco’s  Parklet   program,  

and impressions   from   the   San   Francisco’s   Parklet   tour,   Castillo   then   worked   with   the  City  Engineer  (then  Mark  ChrisTofflers),  City  Traffic  Engineer  (David  Roseman)   and   the   City   Attourney   (Linda   Trang)   to   develop   criteria   for   Parklet   construction   and   operation.30     These   criteria   were   then   circulated   to   the   City   Departments   for   review   and   comment.   The   City   also   worked   with   a   local   architecture   firm   (Studio   111)   during   the   program   development   process.     The   firm’s   concept   drawings   and   renderings   helped   city   staffers   visualize   what   the   interventions   could   look   like   at   those  sites.31   Initial  concerns  with  the  Parklet  program  in  Long  Beach  were  both  technical   and   political   in   nature.       The   DPW   Traffic   Engineering   Bureau   anticipated   a   specification   for   a   no-­‐   Parklet   buffer   clearance   from   street   curbs32   –   already   articulated   in   the   San   Francisco   RFP  –   which   the   City   Attorney   duly   included   within   the   language   of   the   eventual   permit.33     The   Department   of   Safety   and   DPW   Traffic   Engineering   Bureau   were   concerned   with   liability   issues;   whereas   the   Planning   Department  anticipated  community  opposition  to  the  loss  of  parking.34      Eventually   the   City   Engineer,   City   Manager   and   City   Council   adopted   a   philosophy   that   the   anticipated   net   benefits   of   Parklets   (expanded   pedestrian   facilities,   economic   development,   public   space   improvement)   would   according   to   Castillo   “be   a   higher   win  than  losing  a  parking  space.”  

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At this   juncture,   the   city   attorney   was   asked   to   draft   a   modification   of   the   Public   Walkways   Occupancy   Permit   (PWOP   –   City   of   Long   Beach   1989/2010).35   Structurally,  the  modification  of  a  PWOP  was  more  efficient  as  it  didn’t  require  the   passing   of   a   municipal   code   change   by   City   Council.36     As   a   consequence   of   adapting   the   sidewalk   dining   (PWOP)   permit,   full   public   access   to   Parklets   in   Long   Beach   is   articulated   somewhat   differently   than   that   of   San   Francisco   and   other   cities.     Namely,  private  table  service  on  Parklets  is  permissible  in  Long  Beach  as  a  natural   extension  of  the  sidewalk  dining  permit.    The  public/private  dimensions  of   Parklets   are  addressed  in  more  detail  in  Sections  3.2  and  4.1.   The  PWOP  clearly  articulated    liability  as  the  business  owner’s  responsibility,   addressing   the   initial   concerns   brought   up   by   the   Bureau   of   Traffic   Engineering   (DPW).    In  contrast  to  other  cities,  Long  Beach  also  dispensed  with  creating  a  formal   RFP   process   like   that   pioneered   by   San   Francisco   (and   currently   in   development   during   Oakland’s   Parklet   pilot   cycle).     This   reflected   a   desire   for   streamlining   and   resource   efficiency   with   city   government.     The   pilot   program   was   initiated   the   winter   of   2011,   and   the   first   Parklet   installed   in   January   2012   at   Lola’s   Mexican   Restaurant  on  4th  Street.    

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3.1.4 – The City of Oakland: Synthesis and Synergy The  genesis  of  the  Oakland  Parklet  program  exhibits  a  clear  synergy  between   community   activists   and   government   actors.       A   significant   level   of   community-­‐ instigated  action,  intervention,  and  planning  predated  and  influenced  the  creation  of   a   pilot   parklet   program   by   the   City.37     As   with   San   Francisco   and   Long   Beach,   development   of   Oakland’s   city   program   is   attributable   to   strong   leadership   from   a   few  city  staffers.    However  despite  unilateral  commitment  to  the  program  across  the   community   and   government   of   Oakland,   the   collapse   of   the   Community   Redevelopment  Agency  (CEDA)  presented  immediate  organizational  challenges  for   the   city   which   severely   impacted   the   schedule   of   implementation   for   their   pilot   Parklet  program.   Blair  Miller  joined  (CEDA)  in  May  2010,  recognizing  that  a  general  awareness   of   Parklets   already   existed   within   city   government.     With   the   backing   of   Eric   Angstadt   –   then   Deputy   Director   of   the   CEDA   –   Blair   volunteered   to   lead   the   Parklet   initiative  within  city  government  by  adopting  the  orphaned  idea  into  the  Agency.38   While  Eric  handled  external  communications,  interfacing  with  the  City  Council  and   the  media,  Blair  led  the  internal  coordination  between  city  agencies.39       As   with   every   other   developing   Parklet   program   profiled   in   this   thesis,   Oakland’s   scoping   phase   began   with   the   formation   of   an   interdepartmental   task   force  and  research  into  San  Francisco’s  pioneer  program.  Miller  consulted  with  San   Francisco   Pavement   to   Parks   staff;   acquiring   the   Parklet   RFP   and   project  

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specifications from  Andres  Power.40    Miller  also  initiated  outreach  within  the  City  of   Oakland;  taking  David  Harlan  of  the  Oakland  City  Building  Department  on  a  tour  of   San   Francisco   Parklets   to   examine   the   installations   firsthand.     Harlan   agreed   to   serving   as   the   Building   Department’s   liaison   to   the   Parklet   initiative,   as   the   Department   would   be   the   city   agency   to   process   the   pilot   projects   with   ‘minor   encroachment  permits.’41    In  May  2011,  Miller  convened  an  internal  working  group   of   representatives   from   various   city   departments   (Figure   26).   The   initial   group   discussions  resulted  in  several  agreements  which  are  nearly  identical  to  those  of  the   other  cities  profiled  in  this  thesis:  42    


1. Test the  Parklets  with  a  pilot  program   2. Execute   the   program   efficiently,   without   changing   or   amending   municipal   code   through   legislative   action   by   City   Council   3. Implement   Parklet   projects   with   a   revenue-­neutral   (public-­ private)  model   Blair   Miller   then   set   about   developing   a   ‘notice   of   opportunity’   adapted  

directly from  San  Francisco’s  Pavement  to  Parks  RFP.43    This  was  presented  to  the   Rules   Committee   of   the   City   Council,   who   advised   her   to   reproduce   the   RFP   in   different  languages  to  better  represent  Oakland’s  ethnic  complexity.    

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Figure 26:    City  of  Oakland  -­  Initial  Internal  Parklet  Stakeholders  (Abad  Ocubillo  2012)  

Walk Oakland,  Bike  Oakland   At   the   same   time,   a   nonprofit   organization   –   Walk   Oakland   Bike   Oakland   (WOBO)   –   was   working   to   bring   awareness   of   Parklets   to   communities   and   neighborhoods.     As   with   agitators   in   the   cities   of   San   Francisco   and   Los   Angeles,     WOBO   leveraged   the   PARK(ing)   DAY   celebration   as   a   part   of   a   public   education   campaign  for  future  Parklets.    WOBO  had  directly  sponsored  a  number  of  PARK(ing)   DAY  installations  in  September  2010,  which  in  particular  provided  valuable  insights   for  the  organization’s  evolving  sensibilities  about  site  selection.44    For  example,  one   2010   PARK(ing)   installation   was   located   outside   a   bar,   which   WOBO   organizers  

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later concluded   would   not   be   ideal   for   a   Parklet   as   alcohol   consumption   is   not   permitted  on  city  streets.      In   the   next   year,   WOBO   would   transition   from   directly   sponsoring   PARK(ing)  DAY  installations  to  conducting  advocacy  and  research  around  Parklets.   For   example   on   Bike   to   Work   Day   2011   (Thursday   May   12),   WOBO   gathered   approximately   700   petitions   in   support   of   a   Parklet   pilot   program   for   the   City.45     Ruth  Miller  –  then  fellow  with  WOBO  –  worked  with  Oakland  North,  a  news  project   of   U.C.   Berkeley   Journalism   Program,   to   create   video   and   audio   explorations   of   a   Parklet  program.46    WOBO  also  worked  in  coordination  with  Stephen  Newhouse,  an   intern   staffer   within   the   city   of   Oakland,   to   develop   an   impact   study   for   the   pilot   Parklets  in  Oakland.    Ruth  Miller  and  Stephen  Newhouse  worked  together  to  devise   an   approach   methodology.     WOBO   recruited   and   trained   volunteers   who   executed   both  Quantitative  and  Qualitative  components  of  the  study  in  the  field.  47    

In 2012,  WOBO  selected  the  Parklet  initiative  in  Oakland  as  a  top  campaign  

priority,48 acting   at   both   the   project   and   citywide   program   levels.     They   identified   technical   support   as   a   key   function   of   a   nonprofit   Parklet   advocate,   and   currently   provide   assistance   to   applicants   by   helping   potential   Parklet   sponsors   complete   applications  to  the  level  required  for  approval.    Additionally,  WOBO  has  committed   to  assisting  hosts  with  community  relations  for    Parklet  projects  as  they  are  rolled   out,  advising  crafting  to  replies  to  appeals.49       Besides   assisting   with   individual   projects,   WOBO   also   campaigns   at   the   citywide  scale  and  aggressively  lobbyies  for  the  advancement  of  a  Parklet  Program   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


for Oakland.  


In 2011,   WOBO   initiated   an   advocacy   campaign   targeting   city  

officials, meeting   with   select   council   members   between   October   and   December   of   that  year  to  present   Parklet  case  studies  from  other  cities.51    At  the  writing  of  this   thesis,   WOBO   staff   expressed   the   desire   for   the   creation   a   new   ordinance   within   the   City   of   Oakland   institutionalizing   the   program   within   city   code,   passed   by   the   City   Council.52     According   to   WOBO   strategists,   this   code   could   be   modified   from   the   existing  minor  encroachment  permit,53  and  consist  of  a  temporary  one  year  permit   renewable  up  to  three  years.54      

WOBO is   committed   to   the   installation   of   at   least   one   Parklet   in   every  

Oakland Council   District,55   and   are   actively   identifying   other   sites,   neighborhoods,   and  businesses.56    Additonally,  the  organization  has  identified  itself  as  a  key  shaper   of   the   Parklet   culture   in   Oakland;   advocating   for   equity   in   geographic   distrubtion   and  access  for  the  City’s  diverse  classes  and  ethnicities.57      

Actual Café   In   2011,   Sal   Bednarz   –   the   proprietor   of   Actual   Café   –   contacted   WOBO   regarding   his   plans   to   transform   an   abandoned   bus   stop   fronting   the   café.58     Bednarz  exemplifies  the  Parklet  community  champion;  having  conducted  extensive   research  and  communication  in  order  to  execute  his  own  project  while  at  the  same   time   contributing   to   the   overall   movement   with   his   continued   commitment   to   the   realization   of   a   program   in   his   own   city.     Bednarz   had   already   assembled   the   funding   and   material   resources   to   execute   a   PARK(ing)   DAY   installation;59   and   so  

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WOBO and   the   East   Bay   Bicycle   Coalition   helped   to   recruit   volunteer   labor   to   construct  the  platform.    Bednarz  had  also  communicated  previously  with  AC  Transit,   who   confirmed   that   it   was   very   unlikely   that   the   bus   zone   would   become   active   again.    Sal  was  also  able  to  garner  tacit  support  from  the  City  Planning  Department   for   the   installation;60   however   approval   for   such   an   installation   lays   formally   within   the  purview  of  The  Department  of  Public  Works.    However  at  this  time,  the  DPW  did   not   have   an   appropriate   permit   for   such   an   installation.     The   Actual   Café   Parklet   crew   was   resolved   to   building   the   Parklet   anyway,   with   tacit   (but   not   official)   approval  from  city  officials,  with  whom  Sal  communicated  regularly  about  progress   at   his   site.     At   this   time,   Actual   Café   is   one   of   the   seven   approved   applicants   in   Oakland’s  pilot  program.  

Moving Forward  in  Oakland   Seven   applicants   responded   to   the   pilot   RFP   released   by   CEDA   in   fall   2011.61     As   of   March   2012,   Kaminski   was   in   the   process   of   finalizing   the   application   requirements  for  the  pilot  projects,  which  was  originally  intended  to  be  distributed   by   January   2012.62     The   final   application   is   based   on   the   minor   encroachment   permit,   which   names   commercial   liability   within   its   language;   ordinarily   with   an   encroachment   permit,   it’s   the   property   owners   who   carry   liability,   but   the   adaptation  allows  for  the  private  sponsor  to  take  it  on.63   At   the   writing   of   this   thesis,   several   of   circumstances   have   contributed   to   a   slowed   formation   of   the   pilot   Program’s   final   structure   and   procedures.     As   an  

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initiative led   from   within   CEDA,   the   program’s   goal   was   to   have   a   final   RFP,   with   internally-­‐approved   application   materials   by   winter   2011/2012.     However   with   the   dissolution  of  the  CRA  and  consequently  of  CEDA,  the  program’s  development  was   significantly  curtailed  and  those  materials  were  not  made  available  until  May  2012.     After   Blair   Miller’s   departure   from   the   City   of   Oakland   at   the   dissolution   of   CEDA,   Planning   Department   staffer   Laura   Kaminski   assumed   leadership   of   the   program   and   since   advanced   it   by   ensuring   the   City   Attorney’s   Office   and   Buildings   Department  reviewed  and  vetted  the  draft  application  materials.64   The   final   RFP   will   entail   “construction   level   approval”   reviewed   and   approved   by   the   Building   Department.65   The   pilot   phase   will   last   one   year,   during   which   Oakland   will   draft   a   permanent   program.66     The   Planning   Department   will   oversee   design   review   and   coordinating   with   the   technical   divisions   (Figure   26).67     In  the  event  that  a  permanent  Parklet  program  is  created  by  a  change  of  municipal   code,   the   City   Council   can,   before   enacting   the   new   legislation,   influence   the   program’s  structure  and  provisions.   Moving   forward,   the   pilot   program   will   likely   be   administered   from   within   the  Planning  Department,68  (or  possibly  from  Building  or  Public  Works).69    As  with   the   other   cities   profiled   in   this   thesis,   Oakland   began   its   citywide   Parklet   program   with   a   trial,   which   stakeholders   here   confirmed   as   the   best   tactic   for   garnering   approval  from  the  Oakland  City  Council  and  the  City  Attorney’s  Office.70    In  this  way,   CEDA   (now   Planning)   could   demonstrate   an   intention   to   learn   from   mistakes   as   the   program  was  seen  in  action.71   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


As Oakland  finalizes  its  pilot  stage,  and  evaluates  weather  or  not  a     permanent   program   is   feasible,   the   city   will   likely   modify   an   existing   permitting   mechanism   to   process   Parklet   applications.     The   Minor   Encroachment   Permit   has   been  identified  by  WOBO72;  however  some  city  staff    feel  that  it  may  be  too  unwieldy   a   process   for   a   permanent   Parklet   program.73     As   with   other   cities,   the   issue   of   liability  remains  sensitive  and  in  Oakland,  is  unresolved  at  this  time.    

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3.1.5 – Los Angeles: Fledgling Incubation The   narrative   in   Los   Angeles   is   much   more   complex   than   the   other   cities   covered   by   this   investigation   –   reflecting   the   city’s   geographic,   cultural,   and   jurisdictional   complexity;   an   enormous   government   apparatus   (Sonenshein   2006);   and   a   highly   idiosyncratic   political   landscape.       Despite   a   robust   and   diverse   coalition  of  public  and  private  agencies  working  in  and  around  the  streetscape,  local   leadership   around   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   is,   as   of   yet,   somewhat   more   diffuse  and  loosely  organized  than  initiatives  observed  in  the  other  cities.    

As with   other   cities   profiled   in   this   thesis,   Los   Angeles   is   currently  

undergoing a   renaissance   of   street   life   and   culture,   with   amplified   presence   in   the   public   consciousness.74   Department   of   Public   Works   Commissioner   John   Choi   referred   to   the   Parklet     and   Pedestrian   Plaza   experiments   as   “Symptomatic   of   [a   pervasive]   effort   to   try   and   rethink   our   urban   space”     (personal   communication,   interview   4/15/2012).     Growing   participation   in   ephemeral   and   temporary   street   celebrations   evidence   a   newfound   enthusiasm   for   public   life   and   citizenship,   setting   the   stage   for   more   permanent   forms   of   intervention   and   interaction   in   the   urban   fabric  of  Los  Angeles.        

Foremost among  these  energizing  events  is  CicLAvia,  a  day-­‐long  celebration  

which closes    miles  of  Los  Angeles  streets  to  automobile  traffic.  CicLAvia  began  as  a   single   event   in   October   2010   and   since   enjoyed   ever-­‐increasing   attendance,   popularity   with   city   officials,   and   an   expanding   portfolio   of   sponsors.     Organizers  

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have managed   to   produce   the   event   every   six   months,   with   the   possibility   of   even   greater  frequency.    The  self-­‐reinforcing  popularity  of  CicLAvia  follows  that  of  similar   pedestrian-­‐bicycle   events   such   as   Sunday   Streets   in   San   Francisco,   Pedalfest   in   Oakland,  BikeFest  in  Long  Beach.    

Figure  27:    CicLAvia,  Saturday  April  10  2012    (Abad  Ocubillo).  

This   thesis   documents   how   the   importation   of   PARK(ing)   DAY   links   to  

Parklet initiatives  in  cities.    The  first  PARK(ing)  DAY  was  celebrated  in  Los  Angeles   in  2007,75  and  as  with  CicLAvia,,  participation  increased  exponentially  over  coming   years.     This   thesis   will   describe  how   a   PARK(ing)   DAY   was   leveraged   in   2012   by   the   Downtown  Los  Angeles  Neighborhood  Council    to  advance  its  own  Parklet  campaign  

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while at   the   same   time   expanding   public   awareness   of   like   projects.     The   popularity   of   CicLAvia   and   PARK(ing)   DAY   events   indicates   an   increasing   receptiveness   of   public   and   government   to   temporary   street   closures   in   Los   Angeles:   at   a   large   geographic   scale   in   the   case   of   CicLAvia,   or   at   the   microscale   in   the   form   of   PARK(ing).     As   a   large   City   in   its   fledgling   stages   of   experimentation   with   Parklets   and   Pedestrian  Plazas,  each  project  in  Los  Angeles  was  initiated  independently  from  the   others.    This  typifies  the  City  and  Region,  described  by  stakeholders  as  a  ‘community   of   communities’   or   ‘city   of   cities.’76   This   also   underscores   the   highly   localized,   community-­‐driven   processes   inherent   to   the   ‘radical’   stages   of   Heuristic   Urbanism.     Each  community  in  Los  Angeles  adopted  different  approaches  of  interfacing  with  the   City  to  permit  and  implement  their  projects;  77  to  varying  degrees  of  success.  Despite   the  apparent  disjuncture  between  initiatives,  their  concurrence  is  creating  increased   consensus   among   community   organizers   that   a   unified   approach   to   the   City   could   expedite   and   consolidate   processes   of   approval.78     Some   community   stakeholders   also   suggested   that   uniting   under   a   single   brand,   coalition,   or   umbrella   organization   would  create  more  opportunity  to  share  tactics  and  approaches  that  could  transfer   successfully  to  other  projects  and  sites.   The   structure   and   culture   of   Los   Angeles’   government   shapes   Heuristic   Urbanism  in  ways  totally  unique  from  the  other  cities  profiled  in  this  thesis.    On  the     government  side,  Parklets  were  championed  by  individual  City  Council  members  –   elected   officials;   whereas   like   initiatives   in   other   municipalities   typically   emerged   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


from the   staff   of   city   agencies.     The   involvement   of   Neighborhood   Councils   also   distinguishes   the   Los   Angeles   cases.     The   Council   program   was   created   in   2001   to   improve   citizen   engagement   in   policymaking   through   local   boards   of   elected   volunteers.     These   bodies   comprise   a   unique   layer   of   civic   governance,   lending   their   respective   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   initiatives   with   added   political   and   even   fiscal  resources.   The   Parklet     and   Pedestrian   Plaza   interventions   are   located   in   3   adjoining   Council  Districts  comprising  some  of  Los  Angeles’  oldest  neighborhoods,  on  streets   which  continue  their  historic  function  as  local  shopping  districts.    Dating  to  an  era   before   auto-­‐dominance,   the   street  fabric  and  building  stock  in  these  districts  largely   retain  their  intimate  scale  and  humane  ambience.    This  spatial  and  social  character   generally   supports   the   findings   presented   in   Section   3.2.2,   which   suggests   that   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   tend   to   appear   in   –   or   are   proposed   for   –   neighborhoods   with   a   robust   pre-­‐existing   base   of   pedestrian   and   commercial   activity.    The  projects  are  presented  here  in  rough  order  of  when  planning  for  each   began:   A. Sunset  Triangle  Plaza  –  Silverlake   B. ‘Street  Porch’  Parklet  –  Highland  Park  /  York  Boulevard   C. ‘Street  Plaza’  Parklet  –  El  Sereno  /  Huntington  Blvd   D. Downtown  Los  Angeles  /  Spring  Street  Parklets    

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Figure 28:    Map  of  Relevant  Council  Districts  (as  of  March  2012)  .    A  –  Sunset  Triangle  Plaza;  Council  District  13,   Eric   Garcetti.     B   –   Highland   Park   /   York   Boulevard   ‘Street   Porch,’   and   C   –   El   Sereno   /   Huntington   Blvd   ‘Street   Porch;’   Council   District   14,   Jose   Huizar.     D   –   Downtown   Los   Angeles   /   Spring   Street   Parklets;   Council   District   14,   Jose   Huizar   and   Council   District   9,   Jan   Perry.     Redistricting   in   2012   will   bring   the   Spring   Street   Parklets   wholly   within  the  new  boundaries  of  Council  District  14)    Hoover  Street  (indicated  by  the  dotted  line)  marks  the  interface   between  the  historic  Spanish  street  grid  (angled  45  degrees)  and  the  Jeffersonian  street  grid.    (Map  generated  using   GIS  datasets  provided  by  the  Los  Angeles  City  Department  of  Planning).  

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Sunset Triangle  Plaza   As   in   New   York   City,   irregular   street   intersections   abound   in   Los   Angeles,   forming   triangular   islands   of   oft   undeveloped   value   and   amenity   to   pedestrians.     Several   concentrations   of   these   triangles   occur   throughout   the   city;   most   notably   along   the   Hoover   Street,   at   the   interface   of   the   Jeffersonian   and   historic   Spanish   street  grids  (Garde  1999).  Topography  of  the  Los  Angeles  basin  also  influenced  the   organization   of   streets,   especially   along   the   interface   with   the   Santa   Monica   Mountains.      The  trajectories  of  major  east-­‐west  corridors  (Hollywood,  Sunset,  Santa   Monica,   Melrose,   Beverly,   Wilshire   and   San   Vicente)   bend   in   conformity   with   the   mountainous   terrain   to   the   north;   generating   a   variation   of   interstitial   roadway   spaces  when  intersecting  with  regular  north-­‐south  streets.      Sunset  Triangle  Plaza  is   situated   at   just   such   an   intersection,   in   a   neighborhood   straddling   the   interface   of   the   mountains   with   the   Spanish   and   Jeffersonian   street   grids   (Figure   28,   Location   A).     The   project   site’s   geometry   resembles   that   of   numerous   Pedestrian   Plazas   in   New  York  City  and  San  Francisco,  where  an  aberration  of  an  orthogonal  street  grid   forms  opportunity  for  reclamation  by  closure  to  the  automobile.     Planning  at  and  around  this  site  dates  as  far  back  as  the  early  2000s,  when   Council   District   13   leveraged   Community   Block   Grant   Development   Funds   to   develop  a  vision  plan  for  the  neighborhood.79    Those  plans,  generated  by  Katherine   Cerra  Associates,80  were  only  partially  executed.    The  fountain  at  the  center  of  the   triangular   park   is   one   mark   of   the   Cerra   plan,   which   also   recommended   a   road  

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closure.   More   recently   the   site   was   considered   by   the   Living   Streets   LA   working   group   (part   of   the   Transportation   Working   Group   at   the   Green   Los   Angeles   Coalition,   a   nonprofit   housed   within   the   California   Endowment)81   in   community   meetings  as  a  potential  site  for  a  demonstration  project.        

  Figure   29:     Sunset   Triangle   Plan     (Design   and   Rendering   by   Rios   Clementi   Hale   Studios   2012,   shown   with   permission).    The  Los  Angeles  Department  of  Transportation  generated  final  construction  drawings  based  on  this   pro-­bono   design   developed   by   Rios   Clementi   Hale   Studios.     The   light   green   fields   are   new   pedestrian-­only   areas   created  from  the  closure  of  Griffth  Park  Boulevard  along  this  block  length.    The  dark  green  field  is  a  pre-­existing   park  in  the  triangular  traffic  island.  

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The Living  Streets  LA  working  group  provided  a  venue  for  resources  such  as    

funding,   expertise,   and   political   clout   to   coalesce   around   the   Sunset   Triangle   project.       In   August   2010,     Planning   Commission   President   Bill   Roschen   connected   with   Margot   Ocañas,   then   Policy   Analyst   the   Los   Angeles   County   Department   of   Public  Health.  Margot  oversaw  the  deployment  of  funding  through  project  RENEW   (Renew   Environments   for   Nutrition,   Exercise,   and   Wellness)   which   sought   to   change   environmental   conditions   contributing   to   obesity.82     Until   then,   RENEW   funding  had  supported    policy  and  planning  initiatives,  but  no  physical  interventions   in   the  execution  of  its  mission.    Both  Roschen  and  Ocañas  immediately  recognized   that   a   partnership   could   bring   such   a   demonstration   to   fruition.     Together   they   formed   Streets   for   People,   a   collaboration   with   their   two   agencies   (LA   City   Planning   Commission  and  County  DPH)  at  the  core;  partnering  with  other  city  agencies  and   community   groups   to   advance   the   repurposing   of   streets   for   pedestrian   use   and   mobility.       Despite  funding  provided  by  LAC  DPH,  and  the  considerable  political  backing   through   the   LA   City   Planning   Commission,   the   execution   of   a   demonstration   project   by  Streets  for  People  proved  challenging  for  two  reasons.    First,  a  funding  expiration   date   in   2012   demanded   an   expedient   implementation   schedule   that   precluded   extensive  site  scoping,  outreach,  and  vetting.    Second,  project  approval  by  the  city’s   technical   Departments   proved   elusive,   as   a   street   closure   of   this   kind   was   unprecedented  in  Los  Angeles.  

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A constrained   execution   timeline   strongly   influenced   site   selection   criteria.     The   Streets   for   People   team   initially   identified   a   number   of   locations,   with   underutilized   streets   space   appropriate   for   pedestrian   reclamation,   in   neighborhoods  with  documented  health  issues.83    However,  as  the  reality  of  ongoing   maintenance   became   more   and   more   prominent   in   discussions   with   City   staff,   it   became   apparent   that   the   presence   of   a   stable   community   partner   would   play   a   greater  role  in  site  selection.84    Finally  the  Sunset  Triangle  location  was  chosen,  with   the   Silverlake   Improvement   Association   as   a   community   partner   and   13th   Council   District   on   board   as   local   stewards.     A   strong,   pre-­‐existing  relationship  between  the   Association   and   Council   District   Office   better   ensured   long-­‐term   viability   of   the   demonstration   project,   addressing   concerns   with   maintenance,   programming,   and   ongoing  communication  with  local  stakeholders.   In   most   cases   of   Heuristic   Urbanism,   novel   ideas   face   skepticism   or   even   opposition   from   municipal   technical   Departments   whose   current   set   of   standards,   procedures,  and  policies  delimit  nonconforming  experimentation.    The  cases  in  Los   Angeles   experience   the   most   acute   difficulty   of   this   kind,   whereas   in   the   other   California   cities,   resolution   of   departmental   concerns   proceeded   more   quickly.     To   build  support  within  the  City  government,  Bill  Roschen  and  Margot  Ocañas  brought   Planning   Department   Director   Michael   LoGrande   to   NYC   in   June   2011.     There,   LoGrande   met   with   NYC   DOT   Commissioner   Janette   Sadik-­‐Khan,   Planning   Commissioner   Amanda   Burden,   Ethan   Kent   at   the   Project   for   Public   Spaces   and   others   to   discuss   how   Pedestrian   Plazas   are   implemented   and   operated   through   the   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


NYC Plaza  Program.    The  visit  also  provided  an  opportunity  for  LoGrande  to  observe   street-­‐reclamation   Plazas   firsthand.     Upon   his   return   to   Los   Angeles,   LoGrande   initiated   conversations   with   Jaime   de   la   Vega,   General   Manager   of   Los   Angeles   Department   of   Transportation   (DOT)   about   advancing   the   Sunset   Triangle   proposal.85      

Figure  30:    Sunset  Triangle  Stakeholder  Structure    (Abad  Ocubillo  2012)  

  In  order  to  execute  the  Sunset  Triangle  Plaza  on  time,  de  la  Vega  adopted  the   project  into  DOT,  issuing  an  executive  order  to  his  staff  to  implement  the  project.    In   making   the   project   one   of   its   own,   DOT   essentially   absolved   other   technical   Departments  (namely    the  Department  of  Public  Works  and  its  Bureaus)  of  further  

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interactions with   the   applicant   on   issues   of   review   and   permitting.   86     Thus   the   Streets   for   People   group,   through   the   implementation   of   Sunset   Triangle   Plaza,   established   an   important   precedent   for   Heuristic   Urbanism   in   Los   Angeles   by   leveraging  an  opportunity  within  City  government’s  existing  structure  to  minimize   and  streamline  approvals  from  different  agencies   Implementation   also   required   motions   from   City   Council   to   authorize   the   transfer  of  funding  from  LAC  DPH  to  LA  DOT;  and  to  authorize  the  street  closure  at   Griffith  Park  Boulevard  between  Sunset  and  Edgecliffe.87    LA  DOT  installed  the  Plaza   in   February   2012   (based   on   conceptual   designs   developed   by   Rios   Clementi   Hale   Studios   in   the   preceding   year).       The   Silverlake   Improvement   Association   officially   accepted  maintenance  of  the  space;  which  is  also  undergoing  continual  monitoring   by  Streets  for  People  volunteers.    Since  the  expiration  of  RENEW  funds  in  2012  and   the   consequent   departure   of   Ocañas   from   LAC   DPH,   Streets   for   People   remains   an   initiative  of  the  City  Planning  Commission  with  Bill  Roschen  as  its  current  President.      

The ‘Street  Porch’  and  ‘Street  Plaza’   The  interventions  proposed  in  Los  Angeles  Council  District  14  (Jose  Huizar)   do   conform   with   the   physical   and   programmatic   profile   of   a   Parklet   outlined   in   Section  1.2.3;  there  defined  as  a  removable  platform  extending  the  sidewalk  into  the   roadbed.    However  several  conceptual  and  philosophical  characteristics  distinguish   the   two   CD   14   cases   from   the   Parklet   appearing   elsewhere.     These   characteristics  

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(York Boulevard,   Highland   Park)   and   the   ‘Street   Plaza’   (Huntington   Boulevard,   El   Sereno)   installations   are   components   of   larger   Community   Vision   Plans   for   each   neighborhood,   not   isolated   projects   unto   themselves.     While   some   other   Parklet   cases  in  California  form  parts  of  larger  neighborhood  improvement  strategies,  these   are   the   first   to   emerge   directly   from   a   Councilmember’s   office.     Also,   the   two   projects  in  Highland  Park  and  El  Sereno  are  further  distinguished  by  their  funding   source.     Planning   and   design   funds   came   directly   from   the   Council   District   Office,   with   capital   costs   budgeted   there   as   well.     If   installed,   they   will   comprise   the   first   Parklets  funded  through  public  monies.       The   Community   Vision   Planning   facilitators   (Steve   Rasmussen   Cancian   and   Ryan   Lehman   of   Shared   Spaces   Landscape   Architecture)   deliberately   refer   to   the   proposed   interventions   as   a   ‘Street   Porch’   and   ‘Street   Plaza.’     This   distances   those   installations  somewhat  from  the  Parklet  proper,  which  as  discussed  later  in  Section   4.2,    can  be  associated  with  gentrification  and  privatization.    The  choice  to  deploy  a   Parklet   typology   –   but   refer   to   it   with   other   terminology   that   re-­‐emphasizes   the   democratic  essence  of  the  Parklet’s  origins  –  evidences  Cancian’s  ‘planning  to  stay’   approach  to  urban  design  exemplified  the  by  ‘Community  Living  Rooms’  presented   previously  in  Section  2.3.3.      

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Figure 32:     'Street   Porch'   on   York   Boulevard   in   Highland   Park,   Los   Angeles     (Design   and   rendering   by   Steve   Rasmussen  Cancian,  Shared  Spaces  Landscape  Architecture  2012,  shown  with  permission).    While  this  installation   matches   the   physical   definition   of   a   Parklet   outlined   in   Section   1.2.3,   it’s   deliberately   referred   to   as   a   'Street   Porch’   in  Community  Vision  Planning  discussions  in  the  neighborhoods  of  Highland  Park  and  El  Sereno.  

Spring Street  Parklets   The  Parklet  initiative  in  the  downtown  Historic  Core  is  highly  exceptional  in   terms  of  its  formation  through  a  Neighborhood  Council,  a  type  of  governance  body   of   grassroots   volunteers   empowered   through   a   municipal   ordinance   to   advise   on   the   creation   of   City   policy.     While   collaborations   between   governmental   and   community   actors   has   produced   pilot   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   experiments   in  

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other cities,   none   enjoyed   the   unique   institutional   backing   furnished   by   a   Neighborhood  Council  structure.    

The Downtown   Los   Angeles   Neighborhood   Council   (DLANC)   engages   in   a  

wide range   of   community   projects,   including   a   suite   of   bicycle   and   pedestrian   initiatives  through  its  Complete  Streets  Working  Group  (CSWG).    Valerie  Watson  –   then   Director   of   the   CSWG   –   already   spearheaded   the   organization’s   collaboration   with  the  Los  Angeles  County  Bicycle  Coalition  (LACBC)  and  the  LA  DOT  on  bicycle   infrastructure   improvements   downtown.     The   collaboration   would   bring   the   first   green-­‐striped,   dedicated   bicycle   lane   to   Spring   Street   in   the   downtown   Historic   Core.90    

Leveraging the   positive   social   and   political   capital   building   around   the  

bicycle lane   effort,   Watson   assembled   a   group   of   volunteer   designers   and   architects   to   explore   the   possibility   of   a   Parklets   on   Spring   Street.     Through   DLANC,   Watson   was   also   able   to   forge   collaboration   between   Council   Districts   9   and   14,   whose   jurisdictions  met  on  Spring  Street  (Figure  28,  location  D).    Concurrent  planning  by   CD   14   for   Parklet   interventions   in   Highland   Park   and   El   Sereno   complimented   the   effort  downtown.91    

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Spring Street.    This  outreach  effort  entailed  the  administration  of  a  short  intercept   questionnaire,   the   results   of   which   helped   Watson   and   her   team   understand   the   range   of   programming   desires   endemic   to   the   neighborhood.     The   survey   results   generated   three   different   themes,  which  then  directly  influenced  the  design  of   three   separate  Parklets  for  Spring  Street.       This   especially   deliberate,   research-­‐rich   approach   to   Parklet   design   and   programming   produced   a   collection   or   assemblage   of   Parklets   heretofore   unprecedented  in  California.    Designed  at  the  same  time,  the  three  Parklets  share  the   same  modular  elements,  detailing  and  materials;  but  are  each  executed  according  to   the   ‘Active,’   ‘Passive,’   or   ‘Communal’   theme   particular   to   each   site.     DLANC   also   initiated  an  Impact  Study  which  will  evaluate  the  effects  of  the  Parklets  on  a  range  of   local   issues   including   pedestrian   volumes   and   behavior,   environmental   perception   of   residents   and   neighbors,   and   the   business   confidence   of   merchants.     Another   partnership   between   DLANC   and   the   Lewis   Center   at   UCLA   will   both   fund   and   evaluate  a  single  Parklet  designed  to  encourage  walking  and  activity  in  “park-­‐poor,   low-­‐income   community.”     The   suite   of   research   programmes   at   DLANC   have   the   potential  to  help  Angelenos  understand  the  impacts  and  benefits  of  Parklets  on  local   sociability,  economy,  image,  identity,  human  activities  and  behaviors.93  

Moving Forward  in  Los  Angeles   As   different   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   projects   came   forward   during   2011   and  2012,  the  ‘family’  of  LA  City  Government  officials  and  staff  realized  the  necessity  

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for developing   a   standard   process,   program,   and   policy   for   vetting,   approving   and   regulating  the  requests  for  pilot  projects.94    Issues  of  permitting,  maintenance,  and   liability   became   magnified   as   the   technical   divisions   reviewed   proposals   for   the   projects  which  are  unprecedented  in  Los  Angeles.       At   present,   a   process   for   achieving   approval   for   current   pilot   Parklet   proposals   in   Los   Angeles   is   unclear.     Community   and   government   stakeholders   described  a  range  of  different  courses  of  action  that  could  –  in  various  combinations   –   garner   the   appropriate   sign-­‐offs   that   would   facilitate   implementation.     These   involve  application  through  existing  mechanisms  such  as  the  A-­‐Permit  (Minor  Street   Construction)   and   R-­‐Permit   (Revocable   Private   Use   of   Public   Right-­‐of-­‐Way)   with   DPW  Bureau  of  Engineering;  and  the  Adopt-­‐a-­‐Median  Program  within  the  Board  of   Public   Works’   Office   of   Community   Beautification.     All   stakeholders   indicated   the   eventual  necessity  of  a  Motion  from  City  Council  directing  the  Departments  to  move   forward   with   implementation   of   the   pilot   projects;   or   designating   a   single   Department  to  adopt  the  pilot  initiative.      All  stakeholders  likewise  indicated  that  a   Motion   from   Council   was   likely   required   for   the   Departments   or   a   Department   to   create  and  administer  a  permanent  program  for  Parklet  and/or  Pedestrian  Plazas.    

The re-­‐organization  of  Council  District  Boundaries  in  2012  will  also  bear  on  

the development  of  both  a  pilot  and  long-­‐term  program  within  the  City  for  Parklets   and/or  Pedestrian  Plazas.    The  thesis  observes  how  when  compared  to  other  cities,   the  championship  of  an  elected  Council  Member  is  an  especially  critical  element  of   successful  initiatives  in  Los  Angeles.    Outcomes  which  in  other  municipalities  might   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


not require  the  passing  of  a  full  Council  Motion  –  for  example  to  begin  a  trial  Parklet   program  –  seems  by  all  accounts  requisite  in  Los  Angeles.    With  the  absorption  of  all   current   Proposals   (Figure   28,   locations   B,   C,   and   D)   into   the   newly   redrawn   jurisdiction   of   Council   District   14,   especial   emphasis   is   placed   on   Councilmember   Jose  Huizar  to  advance  the  fledgling  effort.      

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3.1.6 – Heuristic Urbanism Across California

The cities  of  San  Francisco,  Long  Beach,  Oakland  and  San  Francisco  are  each  

undergoing a   renaissance   of   street   life   and   culture.95     This   manifests   in   citizens’   tactical  actions  and  experiments;  the  advocacy  and  organizing  of  community  groups   and  nonprofits;  and  the  steady  re-­‐alignment  of  planning  and  public  policy.    Cities  are   re-­‐prioritizing   the   use   of   streets   to   better   balance   between   pedestrian,   cyclist,   transit,   and   auto   mobility.     By   profiling   the   Heuristic   Urbanism   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   in   all   four   cities,   a   number   of   significant   themes   emerge   which   bear   upon   the   structures   and   even   cultures   of   city   government.     These   themes   center   on   experimentation,   adaptation   and   innovation;96   the   structure   of   city   governments   and   their   attendant   procedures   of   permitting   and   evaluation;   interdepartmental  collaboration  and  the  championship  of  individuals  and  agencies.  

Program Modelling  and  the  Social-­Professional  Network   Stakeholders   in   each   city   attested   to   the   strong   influence   of   New   York   and   then   San   Francisco   on   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   programs   in   their   own   cities.     Those   model   programs,   policies,   and   projects   were   examined   by   individuals   in   all   stakeholder   groups   –   from   city   staffers   to   architects   and   designers;   community   organizations   and   business   operators.     The   thesis   documented   the   directness   with   which  Commissioner  Sadik-­‐Khan  (NYC  DOT)  affected  Mayor  Newsom,  effecting  the   genesis   of   the   Pavement   to   Parks   Program   in   San   Francisco.     City   staffers   from   Long   Beach   and   Oakland   visited   San   Francisco’s   Parklets,   as   did   community   organizers  

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and designers   from   Los   Angeles.     Commissioner   Roschen   and   Director   Lo   Grande   from  the  Los  Angeles  Planning  Department  paid  visits  to  their  counterparts  in  New   York  City  and  experienced  those  Plazas  firsthand.   Stakeholders  universally  referred  to  San  Francisco’s  pioneering  of  the  Parklet   typology.     The   Parklet   design   standards,   RFPs,   and   permit   language   developed   by   San   Francisco   provided   models   for   organizers   and   governments   in   Long   Beach,   Oakland,   and   Los   Angeles.97     A   majority   of   interviews   with   designers   and   city   staffers   described   direct,   one-­‐on-­‐one   communication   with   and   support   from   Andres   Power   and   the   staff   at   San   Francisco   Pavement   to   Parks.     This   underscores   the   necessity  for  a  design  and  program  manual  which  synthesizes  all  the  practical  and   technical   aspects   of   creating   a   Parklet   program.     Neither   the   Pavement   to   Parks   Program  nor  their  nonprofit  corollary  SF  Greatstreets  are  developing  such  a  guide   or   toolkit   (although   Greatstreets   produced   several   substantial   impact   studies   on   Parklets   which,   when   taken   with   the   study   produced   by   NYC   DOT   on   Curbside   Dining   Platforms,   comprise   the   whole   of   practical   studies   on   the   typology).     The   Lewis   Center   at   UCLA   is   currently   developing   such   a   toolkit,   with   publication   targeted  for  summer  2012.   The  interpersonal  interaction  between  SF  Pavement  to  Parks  staff  and  other   interested  stakeholders  –  so  critical  to  the  dissemination  of  the  Parklet  throughout   California   and   indeed   elsewhere   –   had   the   effect   of   amplifying,   replicating,   and   enlarging  a  social-­‐professional  community  associated  with  Heuristic  Urbanism.    This   thesis   contends   that   such   a   network   is   requisite   for   the   advancement   of   radical   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


actions to   institutionalized   projects,   for   example   from   PARK(ing)   DAY   to   Parklet   programs;  anarchist  Critical  Mass  bike  rides  to  the  creation  and  implementation  of   municipal   bicycle   plans   and   infrastructure.     These   networks   span   professional   disciplines   (design,   planning,   engineering);   the   governance   spectrum   (community,   advocacy   groups,   neighborhood   councils,   city   agencies   and   staff);   and   geographies   (between  efforts  in  different  neighborhoods,  cities,  regions).  

Experimentation A  pilot  phase  figured  into  every  project  and  program  in  all  cities  profiled  in   California;  and  in  New  York  as  well.    The  merits  of  temporary  or  provisional  projects   were   presented   in   Section   2.1;   and   stakeholders   universally   acknowledged   the   utility   of   –   and   necessity   for   –   structuring   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   around   temporary   or   experimental   phases.     The   practical   dimensions   of   pilot   phases   are   twofold.     First,   demonstrations   at   both   the   project   and   program   level   function   as   critical  public  outreach  and  education  tools.    A  majority  of  stakeholders  referred  to   the  potential  for  built  demonstrations  to  galvanize  support  and  positive  opinion  of   Parklet   and   Plazas.     Often,   built   projects   had   the   effect   of   reversing   negative   or   oppositional  attitudes  of  which  may  have  preceded  implementation.     Second,   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   pilot   projects   facilitated   greater   understanding   of   those   novel   typologies   within   city   government.98     Stakeholders   often   referred   to   differences   of   culture   and   values   between   city   agencies  –   rooted   in   the   training   of   their   respective   disciplines   –   which   exacerbate   the   challenges   with  

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experimental projects   and   programs.99     However   stakeholders   also   observed   how   processes  of  negotiation  associated  with  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas  –  and  indeed   the   built   projects   themselves   –   helped   to   change   the   traditional   cultures   of   city   departments.100   On  the  project  level,  demonstrations  allowed  city  agencies  to  assess  site  and   situation,   and   to   develop   technical   standards   related   to   construction,   drainage,   clearance,   materiality,   etc.101   A   majority   of   stakeholders   cited   the   utility   of   pilot   projects   to   allow   for   more   conservative   elements   of   city   governments   –   for   example   technical   divisions   such   as   traffic   engineering   –   to   evaluate   nonconforming   interventions  before  denying  their  installation  outright.102    Issues  of  insurance  and   liability   surfaced   most   often   as   the   single   biggest   impediment   to   the   project   implementation;   insurance   arrangements   were   tested   and   resolved   during   the   demonstration  stage,  setting  important  precedents  for  proceeding  with  an  ongoing   program.     On   the   program   level,   trials   also   give   cities   the   opportunity   to   test   resource  allocation,  structural  and  procedural  aspects  of  a  potential  future  program;   better   informing   the   creation   of   related   policies   or   legislation.103  Thus,  the   Heuristic   Urbanism   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   effect   cultural   shifts   within   both   the   government  and  public;  at  the  program  and  project  level.  

Adaptation Interviews   with   government   stakeholders   (and   other   informed   individuals)   confirmed  that  rather  than  enact  new  municipal  code,  Parklet  and  Pedestrian  Plaza  

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projects were   implemented   by   re-­‐interpreting   current   laws.     Existing   permits   and   approval   processes   were   adapted   to   accommodate   the   new   typologies.     This   facilitated  speedy  execution  of  pilot  projects,   104  as  well  as  efficient  management  of   long-­‐term   programs.     Interviews   with   all   government   stakeholders   indicated   a   preference   for   adaptation   of   existing   permits   and   working   within   existing   legal   frameworks,105   while   other   community   stakeholders   (for   example   WOBO   in   Oakland   and   others   in   Los   Angeles)   believed   that   the   creation   of   new   municipal   code(s)  for  Parklets  and/or  Pedestrian  Plazas  was  either  ideal  or  necessary.106   In  San  Francisco,  the  Parklet  permit  was  based  on  that  used  for  ‘Tables  and   Chairs   (sidewalk   dining),’   and   connected   formally   with   the   ‘Sidewalk   Landscaping   Ordinance.”     This   permitting   structure   still   operates   today.     Long   Beach   adapted   the   existing   ‘Public   Walkway   Occupancy   Permit’   for   its   Parklets;   whereas   staffers   in   Oakland   and   Los   Angeles   based   their   proposed   pilot   program   structures   directly   on   those   of   San   Francisco.107     With   the   absence   of   pilot   program   at   this   time   stakeholders  in  Los  Angeles  are  experimenting  with  standard  ‘A’  and  ‘R’  permits.    

Where a   Parklet   permitting   process   does   exist   –   in   San   Francisco   and   Long  

Beach (and   in   Oakland   as   a   pilot)   –   stakeholders   expect   to   see   the   procedure   and   requirements  change  over  time  in  response  to  new  conditions  and  situations.108    For   example  in  San  Francisco,  the  language  of  the  permit  evolved  to  address  the  design   of   Parklet   seating   elements.     Some   Parklet   designs   in   constructed   in   2011   employed   a  very  minimal  program  consisting  of  a  deck,  planters  and  railing.    Consequently  the   language   in   the   RFP   for   the   succeeding   cycle     was   amended   to   encourage   greater   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


interest and   variety   by   suggesting   the   incorporation   integral   seating   in   Parklet   designs.   In   another   San   Francisco   case   (discussed   in   detail   in   Section   4.2.3),   neighborhood   controversy   over   perceived   privatization   prompted   the   revision   of   the   permit   to   prohibit   the   use   of   matching   street   furniture   in   the   Parklet   and   sidewalk  dining  areas  of  sponsors.109  

Agency Adoption    

Heuristic Urbanism   entails   highly   functional   collaboration   across   city  

agencies, often   engendering   the   creation   of   new   inter-­‐departmental   coalitions   and   partnerships,   typically   with   a   single   agency   at   the   lead.     In   San   Francisco,   pilot   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   were   vetted   through   ISCOTT   (Figure   24);   later,   projects  were  processed  by  the  formally  created  Pavement  to  Parks  Program  led  by   the   Urban   Design   Group   of   the   Planning   Department.   Pavement   to   Parks   officers   represent   a   number   of   key   city   Departments   (Figure   22).     In   Long   Beach,   city   staffers  identified  a  lead  agency  naturally  and  with  relative  ease.    That  Department   also   led   Parklet   effort   by   coordinating   between   technical   and   legal   agencies,   communicating   with   Council   District   offices   and   business,   and   setting   up   policies   and  procedures  for  project  implementation.    

In the   Cities   of   Oakland   and   Los   Angeles,   where  Parklet  and  Pedestrian   Plaza  

initiatives are   less   developed   as   of   yet,   interaction   between   city   agencies   has   been   less   clear.     In   Oakland,   the   early   reticence   of   the   Planning   and   Zoning   Department   and   Public   Works   Agency   to   spearhead   the   initiative   caused   frustration   for   eager  

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community partners.110      Later,  the  pilot  Parklet  Program  in  Oakland  suffered  from   the  dissolution  of  the  CRA  which  delayed  the  release  of  a  final  pilot  RFP  by  several   months.     The   Oakland   program   finally   found   a   home   within   the   Planning   Department  which  will  likely  administer  a  permanent  Parklet  program  as  well.      

In Los   Angeles,   a   single   lead   agency   or   ‘home’   for   Parklets   and   Pedestrian  

Plazas has   not   been   confirmed   as   of   yet.     This   is   the   chief   difficulty   cited   by   a   majority  of  Los  Angeles  stakeholders  regarding  the  implementation  of  pilot  Parklet   proposals  currently  in  circulation  amongst  city  agencies.      The  Sunset  Triangle  Plaza   project   demonstrates   how   a   nonprofit   community   forum   (Green   LA   Coalition)   provided  a  venue  for  brokering  new  collaborations  between  government  agencies.     The   only   built   project   to   date,   Sunset   Triangle   Plaza   was   executed   by   the   Department  of  Transportation  through  an  initiative  of  the  City  Planning  Commission   and   funding   from   the   County   Department   of   Health   (Figure   29).     However   moving   forward,  its  unclear  if  the  precedent  set  at  Sunset  Triangle  –  where  DOT  acted  as  the   ‘owner’   and   lead   –   will   result   in   DOT   permanently   adopting   the   Streets   for   People   program   and   projects.   111     Furthermore,   stakeholders   varied   in   their   opinions   on   which   department   should   lead   the   approval   of  Parklet   proposals;  112   DPW,   DOT,   and   Department   of   City   Planning   were   all   cited   as   preferred   ‘home’   agencies.     The   majority   of   non-­‐governmental   stakeholders   in   Los   Angeles   identified   DOT   as   the   most   logical   choice   for   a   Parklet   program   (pilot   and   permanent),   due   to   the   precedent   set   with   DOT’s   adoption   of   the   Sunset   Triangle   Plaza.     A   majority   of   stakeholders   from   all   cities   agreed   that   review   processes   for   both   the   Parklet   and   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


Pedestrian Plaza   typologies   should   be   consolidated   within   a   single   Department;   or   a   collaborative  of  departments  with  one  as  the  lead.    

This thesis   contends   that   strong   leadership   of   a   single   city   agency   is  

absolutely requisite   to   the   process   of   Heuristic   Urbanism;   facilitating   the   advancement   of   radical   ideas   to   pilot   projects,   and   the   successful   development   of   those   projects   into   viable   city   programs.     The   thesis   documented   how   such   leadership   brought   about   institutionalization   of   programs   in   San   Francisco,   Long   Beach,   and   Oakland.   Los   Angeles   progresses   somewhat   more   slowly   due   to   the   absence   at   this   time   of   a   single   agency   lead;   despite   an   abundance   of   dedicated   individual  champions  and  the  consolidation  of  proposed  Parklet  sites  within  a  single   Council  District  in  summer  2012.  

Internal vs.  External  Generation    

The emergence   of   the   Parklet   idea   –   and   implementation   of   the   typology   –  

typically followed  one  of  two  patterns  in  the  case  cities.    In  San  Francisco  and  Long   Beach,  the  ideas  were  nurtured  primarily  by  city  staff  and  introduced  to  the  public   at   large   with   a   fairly   organized   program   devised   by   city   government.     However   in   Oakland  and  Los  Angeles,  the  Parklet  typology  percolated  upward  into  government   from  grassroots  and  community  efforts;  which  then  compelled  city  staff  to  respond   with  program  development.   The  relative  distinctiveness  of  these  two  patterns  may  bear  on  the  efficiency   and   speed   with   which   cities   were   able   to   implement   programs.     Its   clear   that   the  

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successful formation  of  a  pilot  program  hinges  upon  leadership  by  a  single  agency   within  the  city;  and  that  ongoing,  permanent  programs  require  a  ‘home’  agency  to   coordinate  between  government  divisions,  community  groups,  applicants,  and  other   stakeholders.     In   the   cases   of   San   Francisco   and   Long   Beach   –   each   characterized   by   strong   leadership   by   a   single   department   –   the   Parklet   went   from   idea   to   pilot   implementation  in  a  little  over  a  year.    In  Oakland  and  Los  Angeles,  the  process  from   community   agitation   to   city   adoption   may   take   between   a   year   and   a   half   to   two   years;  possibly  longer.  

Above and  Beyond   The   advocacy   and   internal   leadership   of   city   staffers   is   also   another   necessary   element   in   the   process   of   Heuristic   Urbanism.   Stakeholder   interviews   consistently   cited   one   or   two   such   leaders   in   every   city   profiled   here.       These   agents   coordinated   between   departments,   set   up   public   fora,   and   helped   broker   new   agreements   between   stakeholders.     Pilot   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   initiatives   are   typically  managed  without  city  Program  budgets,  further  underscoring  the  deep  of   commitment  and  leadership  exhibited  by  city  staffers  who  often  assume  these  new   responsibilities   in   addition   to   their   existing   workload.113   This   was   emphasized   by   interviews  in  San  Francisco,  Oakland  and  Los  Angeles.   Fee   structures   for   permit   processing   do   not   offset   the   cost   of   staff   time   required  to  review  applications.    In  Los  Angeles,  some  interviewees  suggested  that   in   addition   to   capital   costs,   applicants   for   Pedestrian   Plazas   should   fund   city   staff  

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time associated   with   that   particular   project.114     Irrespective   of   how   city   staff   are   compensated  in  ongoing,  institutionalized  city  programs,  its  clear  that  the  process  of   Heuristic   Urbanism   entails   not   only   the   championship   but   extraordinary   commitment   of   time   from   individuals   in   government;   especially   during   pilot   and   demonstration  phases.   This   thesis   also   observed   how   championship   for   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas  does  emerge  from  other  quarters  of  the  government  besides  that  of  city  staff.     In   some   cases,   a   kind   of   executive   mandate   galvanized   stakeholders   into   action.     This  was  the  case  with  San  Francisco  Mayor  Newsom115  and  the  Pavement  to  Parks   Program;   or   Los   Angles   DOT   Director   de   la   Vega   and   the   Sunset   Triangle   Plaza   demonstration.     Los   Angeles   Planning   Commissioner   Roschen   was   widely   cited   as   the   personality   leading   the   Sunset   Triangle   Plaza   effort,   connecting   resources   and   decision-­‐makers   around   the   project.     Interviews   in   Los   Angeles   universally   acknowledged   the   necessary   advocacy   of   Los   Angeles   City   Councilmembers   and   their  staff  in  advancing  projects  Silverlake,  Highland  Park,  El  Sereno  and  downtown.     Leadership  on  the  part  of  individual  government  agents  –  working  in  tandem  with   their   corollary   champions   in   the   general   public   –   creates   a   ‘bottom-­‐up   meets   top-­‐ down  dynamic’  that  animates  Heuristic  Urbanism.  

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3.2 –  Pre-­Existing  Conditions  and  Emerging  Criteria  for  Viability   Whereas  the  previous  Section  explored  Heuristic  Urbanism  using  the  City  as   the   unit   of   investigation,   this   Chapter   focuses   the   scale   of   analysis   to   the   site   and   neighborhood.      The  interviews  reveal  a  common  set  of  conditions  at  the  local  scale   that  tend  to  anticipate  Parklet  and  Pedestrian  Plazas.    In  some  cases  the  conditions   appear   universally   across   all   cases   and   can   be   considered   requisite   for   the   successful  implementation  of  project  proposals.   At   times   the   popular   discussion   around   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   refers   to   them   as   agents   which   activate   neighborhoods;   whereas   this   thesis   actually   contends   that   conditions   of   public   life   and   liveliness,   commercial   success,   and   revitalization  in  fact  anticipate  proposals  for  the  projects.116    Parklets  and  Pedestrian   Plazas   are   seen   to   enhance   what   already   exists,   rather   than   introduce   wholly   new   elements.    The  narrative  here  begins  to  define  criteria  for  the  viability  of  Parklet  and   Pedestrian  Plaza  proposals,  ranging  from  physical  prerequisites  such  as  the  size  and   configuration  of  pedestrian  facilities  to  social  factors  such  as  community  networks   and  fiscal  potency.   A   successful   project   is   here   defined   as   one   which   is   not   only   implemented,   but  is  used  by  the  community  as  intended.    A  successful  project  is  also  sustainable   over   the   long-­‐term;   the   continual   beneficiary   of   local   investment   and   stewardship.     Anna  Maroni  described  “physical  public  space”  as  “hardware”  which  is  only  as  useful  

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as its  software  –  the  people  and  programs  which  animate  it.117    In  this  Chapter,  we   consider  the  second  research  question:     1. Do   the   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   typologies   emerge   from   specific   spatial   and   social   conditions?     What   circumstances   engender   projects   and  their  viability?  

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3.2.1 – Spatial and Physical Conditions

The prevailing   rhetoric   justifying   the   creation   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian  

Plazas centers   largely   on   correcting   a   pervasive   spatial   imbalance   between   pedestrian   and   automobile   uses   in   the   public   right-­‐of-­‐way.       Historical   overviews   have   documented   how   over   the   last   century,   street   functions   rapidly   transitioned   from   prioritizing   pedestrian   circulation   to   that   of   the   automobile   (Barthold   1993;   Ehrenfeucht   &   Loukaitou-­‐Sideris   2010).   Others   have   observed   how   our   legacy   of   modern   Euclidean   zoning,   planning   regulations,   and   the   dominance   of   traffic   engineering  in  structuring  the  urban  environment  produced  a  street  network  which   treats   its   pedestrian   function   as   secondary   to   that   of   the   car   (Appleyard,   1981;   Garde  1999).     As   our   principal   open   space   network,   streets   form   the   single   largest   opportunity   for   reinventing   urban   life   –   as   experienced   in   public   space   –   through   physical,   design-­‐based   interventions.     In   Rediscovering   the   City,   William   Whyte   enjoins  cities  to   take   a   closer   look   at   what   they   already   have.     Most   of   them   are   sitting   on   a   huge   reservoir   of   space   yet   untapped   by   imagination.   …In   their   inefficiently   used   rights-­‐of-­‐way,   their   vast   acreage   of   parking   lots,   there   is   more   than   enough   space   for   broad   walkways   and   small   parks   and   pedestrian   places   –   and   at   premium   locations,   at   ground   level.   (2009/1988,  p75)     Heuristic   Urbanism   observes   how   Whyte’s   call   to   action   becomes   institutionalized   within  city  planning  processes  and  policies.    The  New  York  City  Plaza,  San  Francisco   Pavement  to  Parks,  and  Oakland  Parklet  Programs  all  refer  explicitly  to  repurposing  

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of the  ROW.    In  its  Background  Statement  for  the  Pavement  to  Parks  Program,  the   San  Francisco  Planning  Department  declares:     San  Francisco  ’s  streets  and  public  rights-­‐of-­‐way  make  up  fully  25%  of   the  city’s  land  area,  more  space  even  than  is  found  in  all  of  the  city’s   parks.   Many   of   our   streets   are   excessively   wide   and   contain   large   zones   of   wasted   space,   especially   at   intersections.     San   Francisco’s   new   “Pavement   to   Parks”   projects   seek   to   temporarily   reclaim   these   unused   swathes   and   quickly   and   inexpensively   turn   them   into   new   public  plazas  and  parks.    (San  Francisco  Planning  Department  2010)     All  the  interviews  referred  to  common  spatial  and  physical  conditions  –  at  both  the   city   and   site   scale   –   which   justify   the   necessity   for   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas.     These  factors  relate  to  the  proportion  of  roadway  to  sidewalk;  the  presence  or  lack   of   pedestrian   amenities;   environmental   factors   such   as   urban   vegetation;   and   remnants  of  historic  urban  fabric.  

Excess and  Irregularity   Most   interviews   expressed   the   perception   that   in   general   streets   in   their   cities,   and   in   the   vicinity   of   their   proposed   project   site,   are   ‘unnecessarily,’   ‘needlessly,’   or   ‘excessively’   wide.118     Many   interviewees   correlated   wider   streets   with   faster   traffic119   while   at   the   same   time   expressing   a   belief   that   Parklets   could   act  as  traffic  calming  devices  that  change  driver  behavior  and  speed.120    Nonetheless,   streets   with   speed   limits   over   25   mph   are   generally   considered   unsuitable   for   Parklet  installations.   Besides   creating   excess   roadway,   irregular   intersections   tend   to   present   human  safety  issues.    Motorist  and  pedestrian  behavior  is  often  unpredictable  and  

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difficult to   regulate   at   street   intersections   of   varying   geometry   (NYC   DOT   2010).   Pedestrian  safety  did  figure  into  the  creation  of  Pedestrian  Plazas  in  New  York,  San   Francisco,  and  Los  Angeles.    As  presented  earlier  in  Sections  2.1.3  and  3.1.1,  robust   impact   studies   of   interventions   in   New   York   City   verified   reduced   pedestrian-­‐ motorist  injuries  (NYC  DOT  2010,  2011).    At  Sunset  Triangle  Plaza  in  Los  Angeles,   stakeholders   attested   to   the   mitigating   effects   of   the   road   closure   on   dangerous   motorist   behavior.     Before   Plaza   installation   there,   Griffith   Park   Blvd.   provided   a   direct  route  into  the  neighborhood  which  encouraged  speeding,  while  a  blind  corner   at   its   intersection   with   Maltman   Avenue   caused   a   number   of   vehicle-­‐pedestrian   accidents.     Thus   the   simplification   of   irregular   intersections   –   by   using   street   closures   to   eliminate   redundant   paths   of   vehicle   travel   –   renders   the   multiple   benefits  of  creating  expanded  pedestrian  spaces,  reducing  traffic  speeds  and  traffic-­‐ related  injuries.  

Constrained Pedestrian  Right-­of-­Ways   A   poor   pedestrian   facilities   or   a   lack   of   amenities   formed   the   principal   concern   for   many   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   stakeholders,   especially   merchants   and  neighborhood  groups.    For  example  in  majority  of  cases,  stakeholders  referred   to  sidewalks  being  too  narrow  to  accommodate  existing  levels  of  pedestrian  activity   at  their  sites.121  This  was  the  case  in  middle  Valencia  Street  and  at  Powell  Street  in   San  Francisco;  on  4th  Street  in  Long  Beach;  at  40th  Street  and  on  Lakeshore  Avenue   in   Oakland.     Interviewees   often   described   streetside   conditions   as   congested   not  

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only by  high  volumes  of  pedestrian  traffic,  but  bicycle  racks,  newspaper  stands  and   other   fixtures   on   the   sidewalk.122     Cities   recognized   these   constrained   conditions   which  furnished  much  of  the  justification  for  experimenting  with  curbside  Parklets.     In   the   case   of   upper   Valencia   Street   (between   15th   and   19th   Streets)   in   San   Francisco,  the  city  actually  widened  the  sidewalk  to  accommodate  high  pedestrian   volumes   generated   by   the   local   shopping   district   and   Bay   Area   Rapid   Transit   (BART)  station.    In  some  situations,  areas  with  amply  proportioned  sidewalks  were   discounted   by   government   stakeholders   as   viable   locations   for   Parklet   installations.     This   was   the   case   in   the   Naples   neighborhood   in   Long   Beach,   which   was   considered   by   city   staffers   during   early   scoping   but   later   discounted   due   to   the   12-­‐foot   sidewalks.  

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Figure 34:    Four  Barrel  Coffee  Parklet,  375  Valencia  Street,  San  Francisco.    Valencia  Street  was  recently  subject  to  a   'road   diet'   that   introduced   bicycle   lanes   and   conversion   of   the   parking   lane   between   15th   and   19th   streets   with   permanent  sidewalk  extensions.    The  rest  of  Valencia’s  length  features  the  highest  concentration  of  Parklets  on  a   single  street  anywhere  in  the  world.  (Design:  Seth  Boor,  Boor  Bridges  Architecture)  

Lack of  Seating  Opportunities   The   next   most   pervasive   factor   cited   by   stakeholders   was   an   acute   lack   of   seating   opportunities   at   or   near   project   sites.123     At   times   this   shortage   forces   pedestrians  to  improvise  seating  in  uncomfortable  and  potentially  dangerous  ways.     For   example   on   Lakeshore   Avenue   in   Oakland   –   a   busy   shopping   district–   patrons   are  accustomed  to  sitting  literally  on  the  curb;  sandwiched  between  the  congested   pedestrian   thoroughfare   and   parked   cars.124   The   Greater   Lakeshore   Retail   Association   Group   produced   a   study   in   2008   which   documented   how   seating   and   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


pedestrian facilities  in  the  district  did  not  support  current  or  projected  levels  of  use.   Demonstrating   a   scarcity   of   safe   seating   options   is   perhaps   the   single   most   important  and  reliable  factor  for  helping  Parklet  organizers  garner  project  support   and   approval   from   local   stakeholders   and   governments.     This   thesis   notes   how   pedestrian   advocates,   in   justifying   a   range   of   interventions   in   the   ROW   (not   just   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   but   also   their   antecedents),   refer   often   to   the   deficiency  or  complete  absence  of  seating  facilities  where  they  are  most  needed.    In   selecting   sites   for   2011   PARK(ing)   DAY   installations,   Walk   Oakland   Bike   Oakland   (WOBO)   deliberately   targeted   areas   where   they   observed   seating   was   most   needed.125    As  presented  previously  in  Section  2.3.3,  a  survey  of  transit  riders  in  Los   Angeles   substantiated   the   installation   of   ‘Outdoor   Living   Rooms’   at   transit   stops   throughout  central  Los  Angeles.  

Greening the  Gray   Augmenting  human  comfort  and  amenity  emerged  as  a  significant  driver  for   the   creation   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas.     Besides   expanded   walkways   and   seating  facilities,  nearly  every  interview  described  the  projects  as  opportunities  for   introducing   vegetation   and   trees   to   environments   that   typically   lacked   such   features.126     This   attitude   concurs   with   the   genealogy   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas  presented  in  Section  2.3,  which  traces  the  typologies’  genesis  to  precedents   that   employed   the   material   vocabulary   of   parks   and   countryside.     Indeed   every   Parket   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   studied   here   incorporates   plants   and   trees   as   an  

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integral design   component,   at   times   with   great   virtuosity   and   inventiveness.     The   Parklet   at   Four   Barrel   Coffee   on   Valencia   Street   in   San   Francisco   incorporates   a   trellis   and   canopy   for   climbing   vines   (Figure   34),   while   the   Deepistan   National   Parklet  further  south  features  a  topiary  dinosaur  (Figure  20).    

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3.2.2 – Social Prerequisites

Anna Meroni  referred  to  “physical  public  space”  as  “hardware”  made  useful  

only through   the   ‘software’   of   human   activity,   inhabitation   and   use.     This   thesis   documents   a   number   site-­‐scale   social   factors   that   precede   the   inception   and   implementation  of  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas.    Stakeholders  routinely  referred   to  a  suite  of  conditions  related  to  commercial  activity  and  pedestrian  traffic;  social   networks;  political  and  financial  backing;  and  supportive  public  policy.    This  thesis   contends  that  these  pre-­‐existing  social  conditions  –  universally  present  in  all  cases   examined  by  this  study  –  as  absolutely  requisite  for  both  implementation  and  long-­‐ term  viability  of  projects.      

Bases of  Captive  Pedestrians  and  Commerce  

“…visitors did   not   create   the   foundations   of   diversity   in   areas   like   these,   nor   in   the   many   pockets   of   diversity   and   economic   efficiency   scattered  here  and  there,  sometimes  most  unexpectedly,  in  big  cities.     The   visitors   sniff   out   where   something   vigorous   exists   already,   and   come  to  share  it,  thereby  further  supporting  it.”    -­‐  The  Death  and  Life   of  Great  American  Cities,  Jane  Jacobs  1961,  p149     All  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plaza  projects  rely  upon  local  foot  traffic,127128  an  

assumption confirmed  by  all  stakeholder  interviews.    This  emerged  as  the  principal   factor  for  evaluating  appropriate  neighborhoods  and  sites.    Though  not  codified  as   an  official  criterion  in  Parklet  RRPs  or  permit  documents,  the  instinct  for  a  steady,   ‘captive   ‘pedestrian   base   affected   how   project   sites   were   targeted.     For   example   when  editing  a  shortlist  of  neighborhoods  for   Parklet  pilot  projects  in  Long  Beach,  

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city staff  opted  for  “Retro  Row”  on  4th  Street  over  the  Naples  neighborhood  as  the   former  exhibited  higher  volumes  and  variation  of  pedestrian  activity.  129   Stakeholders   attribute   high   levels   of   foot   traffic   to   various   factors;   notably   local   commercial   activity   or   recurrent   temporary   programs   such   as   festivals   and   markets.     The   great   majority   of   projects   examined   by   this   thesis   are   sited   on   local   shopping  streets  embedded  in  neighborhoods  of  relative  commercial  and  residential   density,   creating   a   suite   of   nested   social   structures   referenced   by   stakeholder   interviews  as  ideal  for  project  success.130    Valencia  Street  and  Columbus  Avenue  in   San   Francisco,   4th   Street   in   Long   Beach,   and   ‘Sunset   Junction’   in   Los   Angeles   are   excellent  examples.   Often,   interviewees   correlated   projects   with   extant   processes   of   neighborhood  revival;  for  example  in  formerly  blighted  shopping  districts  reviving   an   historic   character   of   bustling   commercial   activity.     Stakeholders   described   the   recent   resurgence   of   ‘Retro   Row’   and   East   Village   in   Long   Beach;131   ‘The   Lakeshore’   and   downtown   in   Oakland;   132,   133,   134,   135   Highland   Park   and   Spring   Street   in   downtown   Los   Angeles.  

136, 137  

Interviews described   how   new   energy   and  

investment targeting   those   districts   naturally   drew   the   interest   of   Parklet   and   Pedestrian  Plaza  organizers;  engendered  local  receptivity  to  project  proposals;  and   helped  establish  local  sources  of  funding  and  stewardship  for  projects.    Section  4.2.2   discusses   how   in   turn,   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   elevate   the   profile   of   neighborhoods,  drawing  even  more  patrons  which  fuel  local  revival.  

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Stakeholders also   linked   other   soft   factors   to   a   robust   pedestrian   presence   that   in   turn,   support   the   placement   and   use   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas.     Events,   festivals,   and   markets   –   by   temporarily   transforming   sites   with   their   programme   –   often   anticipated   projects   in   neighborhoods.     Interviews   referred   specifically   to   the   Farmer’s   Markets   at   Sunset   Triangle   in   Los   Angeles   and   in   the   Lakeshore   district   of   Oakland.138     Stakeholders   in   Oakland   also   cited   the   summer   events   staged   by   Manifesto   bicycle   shop   and   Subrosa   Café   on   40th   Street;  139   and   the   ‘Art  Murmur’  events  in  downtown.140  

Social and  Political  Capital    

This thesis   identified   how   robust   social   networks   undergird   the   creation   of  

projects and   programs   associated   with   Heuristic   Urbanism.       The   networks   encompass   government   and   community   agents,   designers   and   planners,   elected   officials  and  everyday  citizens.        Almost  every  single  project  profiled  by  this  thesis  is   preceded  with  vigorous  local  community  outreach  and  planning  efforts,  even  before   the   inception   of   a   Parklet   or   Pedestrian   Plaza   in   those   neighborhoods.     At   times,   those   local   fora   produced   proposals   for   interventions   resembling   Parklets   and   Pedestrian  Plazas  many  years  before,  evidencing  the  appropriateness  of  projects  in   the  local  social  context.    

For example,   community   organizations   in   San   Francisco   –   such   as   the  

Castro/Upper Market   CBD,   Noe   Valley   Association,   and   Outer   Mission   Merchants   and   Residents   Association   –   had   for   many   years   explored   the   potential   for   street  

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closures in   their   neighborhoods.     These   local   planning   efforts   were   eventually   leveraged   by   the   Pavement   to   Parks   Program   in   pilot   Parklets   and   Plaza   demonstrations  in  the  Castro,  along  24th  Street,  and  at  Naples  Green.    Similarly,  the   4th  Street  Business  Association  in  Long  Beach  had  for  years  explored  possibilities  for   public  realm  improvements  in  their  district.141    In  most  cases,  these  BIDS,  CBDs,  and   Associations   became   natural   stewards   for   Pedestrian   Plaza   interventions,   entering   formal  agreements  to  manage,  maintain,  and  program  the  newly  created  spaces.    

The culture   in   Los   Angeles   of   strongly   self-­‐identified   communities   was  

presented in  Section  3.1.5;  and  every  case  of  Heuristic  Urbanism  there  emerged  from   pre-­‐existing   local   community   organizing.     Sunset   Triangle   had   been   subject   to   planning  in  the  early  2000s  through  Community  Development  Block  Grant  funding.   142  Community  Vision  Planning  in  Highland  Park  and  El  Sereno  –  spearheaded  by  the  

Council District  but  heavily  engaging  local  neighborhood  Councils  –  rendered  ‘Street   Porch’  and  ‘Street  Plaza’  proposals  in  those  neighborhoods.   143    The  Downtown  Los   Angeles   Neighborhood   Council’s   Complete   Streets   Working   Group   had   partnered   with  the  LACBC  and  DOT  to  bring  bicycle  infrastructure  downtown;   144  introducing   Parklets  more  recently.        

In cases  where  Parklets  emerged  as  initiatives  of  individual  business  owners  

and/or intrepid  design  professionals  instead  of  larger  community  planning  efforts,   public   outreach   and   education   still   played   a   critical   role.     This   is   due   in   most   part   to   the   provisions   of   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   permitting   procedure,   which   in   San   Francisco,   Long   Beach   and   Oakland   (patterned   on   New   York   City)   require   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


demonstration of   local   support   from   merchants,   residents,   and/or   other   groups.     Lack   of   demonstrated   support   leads   to   rejection   by   city   regulators.     Or,   in   some   cases   in   San   Francisco   where   Parklets   were   approved   by   the   city,   subsequent   community   opposition   expressed   during   the   public   hearing   period   belayed   construction   altogether.     For   those   cases,   city   staffers   in   San   Francisco   concluded   that  pre-­‐application  public  engagement  had  been  minimal.  145      Thus,  local  outreach   and  support  forms  a  critical  factor  to  successful  project  implementation  and  use.      

This thesis  documented  the  natural  tendency  of  many  Parklet  organizers  to  

themselves be   active   stakeholders   in   their   communities,   lending   a   additional   layer   of   social   and   political   integrity   to   their   projects.     Interviews   often   cited   particular   individuals   whose   advocacy   in   other   areas   besides   Parklets   or   Plazas   exemplified   their  roles  as  community  champions.    Amandeep  Jawa  –  who  sponsors  a  Parklet  in   front  of  his  residence  in  San  Francisco  (Figure  20)   –  is  an  avid  bicycle  activist  and   had   been   involved   with   sidewalk   widenings   on   Upper   Valencia   street.     Before   designing   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas,   Jane   Martin   led   an   effort   to   create   San   Francisco’s  Sidewalk  Landscaping  Permit  (Section  2.4.1).    Sal  Bednarz  of  Actual  Café   in   Oakland   pioneered   discussions   with   city   staff   and   transit   authorities;   coordinating   first   semi-­‐permanent   Parklet   –   billed   as   an   extended   PARK(ing)   DAY   installation   –   at   a   decommissioned   bus   stop,   in   advance   of   a   sanctioned   city   pilot   program.     Valerie   Watson   leveraged   a   considerable   network   of   engaged   stakeholders   already   working   around   complete   streets   projects   in   downtown   Los   Angeles.   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


The backing   of   political   figures   or   high-­‐ranking   city   managers   also   bears  

upon the  successful  implementation  of  projects.    In  some  cases,  a  strong  executive   mandate  created  a  progressive  operating  environment.    This  was  the  case  with  San   Francisco   Mayor   Newsom146   and   Oakland   CEDA   Deputy   Director   Angstadt.     In   Los   Angeles,   Councilmembers   Huizar   and   Perry   introduced   the   first   Council   Motion   addressing   pilot   Parklets,   while   Huizar   continues   to   advocate   for   the   projects   now   consolidated   within   his   newly   redrawn   District.     Sunset   Triangle   Plaza   in   Los   Angeles  is  associated  with  the  backing  of  Planning  Commissioner  Roschen,  Planning     Director  Lo  Grande,  and  Department  of  Transportation  General  Manager  Jaime  de  la   Vega.    In  Long  Beach,  the  approval  of  City  Council  is  required  for  the  execution  of  the   permit  associated  with  Parklets.    

Finally, the   involvement   of   nonprofit   advocates   comprises   an   invaluable  

element of   the   social-­‐political   network   associated   with   Heuristic   Urbanism.     The   Great   Streets   program   of   the   San   Francisco   Bicycle   Coalition   produced   the   first   Parklet   impact   studies   on   the   west   coast,   establishing   a   critical   foundation   for   ongoing   monitoring   and   analysis   of   the   new   typology   in   San   Francisco   and   elsewhere.     Walk   Oakland   Bike   Oakland   (WOBO)   sponsored   a   number   of   PARK(ing)   DAY   installations   in   2011,   and   also   collaborate   with   the   city   to   execute   impact   studies   of   Parklet   projects   in   Oakland.     WOBO   identified   the   Parklet   campaign   as   their   ‘top   priority’   for   2012,147   committing   to   provide   technical   assistance   to   applicants,   engage   in   community   outreach   and   education,   and   lobby   for   new   municipal   code   for   Parklets.     Along   with   WOBO   in   Oakland,   Bicycle   Coalitions   in   San   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


Francisco and   the   County   of   Los   Angeles   are   strongly   associated   with   the   successful   advancement  of  Parklet  and  Pedestrian  Plaza  experiments.  

Generosity of  Design  Professionals   This   thesis   discovered   that   leadership   and   involvement   of   designers   is   a   defining   element   of   Heuristic   Urbanism.     Architects,   landscape   architects,   urban   designers  and  horticulturalists  contributed  much  more  than  just  designs  to  Parklet   and  Pedestrian  Plaza  projects.    The  literature  review  and  findings  revealed  how  the   same   designers   were   already   involved   as   agitators   and   advocates   in   other   arenas   of   urban  design  –  from  guerilla  gardening  and  sidewalk  landscaping  to  bicycle  activism   and  car  parking-­‐occupying.       Notably,   a   great   majority   of   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   designers   worked   pro-­‐bono   on   the   cases   studied   here.     This   emphasizes   that  Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas  are  first  and  foremost  products  not  only  of  design,  but  of  love  and  a  certain   pronounced   altruism.   During   the   pilot   program   stages   in   San   Francisco,   Oakland,   and  Los  Angeles,  design  professionals  worked  for  free.    In  San  Francisco,  a  number   of   designers   contributed   work   to   more   than   one   project   at   a   time,   advancing   the   movement  through  their  generosity  of  time  and  spirit.  

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


Abad Ocubillo  2012  

Figure 35:  A  network  of  design  and  planning  professionals  involved  with  Heuristic  Urbanism  of  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas  in  San  Francisco.    (Abad  Ocubillo   2012).    Often,  individuals  contribute  to  multiple  projects.    The  projects  shown  here  are  those  targeted  in  this  thesis  –  every  designer  shown  was  interviewed.    The   actual   network   in   San   Francisco   is   much   larger,   involving   many   more   designers   and   fabricators;   individuals,   organizations,   business   operators   and   other   stakeholders.    This  network  also  interacts  with  those  in  New  York,  Long  Beach,  Oakland,  and  Los  Angeles;  mainly  through  communications  between  Pavement   to   Parks   staff   with   their   corollaries   in   other  city   governments,     but   also   through   the   involvement   of   designers   in   multiple   places.     For   instance,   Riyad   Ghannam   (rg-­Architecture)   designed   and   constructed   projects   in   both   San   Francisco   and   New   York.     The   international   influence   of   REBAR   group   –   especially   with   PARK(ing)  DAY  –  was  presented  in  Section  2.3.2.  


Designers of  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas  exemplify  the  “Prosumer”  figure  

presented in   Section   2.2.     Thus   far,   those   involved   the   early   stages   of   Heuristic   Urbanism  have  all  advanced  the  movement  without  making  their  living  from  doing   so;  and  this  thesis  contends  that  their  donation  of  time  and  expertise  is  a  recurring   feature  of  pilot  projects  and  programs  in  cities.  

Financial Capital    

In an   era   of   waning   budgets,   cities   increasingly   rely   upon   public-­‐private  

partnerships in  order  to  implement  projects.    Therefore  Parklets  rely  upon  the  ready   availability   of   private   financial   resources   for   implementation   and   stewardship;   while   Pedestrian   Plazas   also   rely   on   private   management.     Given   the   necessity   of   local   foot   traffic   and   therefore   adjacent   commercial   programs,   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   routinely   appear   in   neighborhoods   of   economic   significance   and   stability.     As   discussed   earlier,   these   districts   are   often   supported   by   BIDs   and   CBDs   who   –   if   not   outright   initiators   of   Parklets   and   Plaza   projects   –   become   the   managers,   maintenance   partners,   and   programmers   of   the   spaces.     In   the   cases   of   Parklets,   a   private   sponsor   underwrites   capital   costs   as   well   as   assumes   maintenance   responsibilities.       These   public-­‐private   arrangements   have   profound   implications  for  issues  of  access  and  equity,  discussed  in  Sections  4.2.3  and  4.24.  

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


Policy Frameworks    

A progressive   policy   framework   establishes   social-­‐political   contexts  

amenable to  the  Heuristic  Urbanism  of  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas.    For  example   San   Francisco   has   declared   itself   a   ‘transit-­‐first   city,’   undertaking   infrastructure   projects   which   encourage   pedestrian,   bicycle   and   transit   mobility.     Similarly,   Long   Beach  adopted  an  aggressive  bicycle  plan,  the  aims  of  which  intersect  with  those  of   the  Parklet  experiments  there.    In  downtown  Los  Angeles  a  suite  of  recent  policies   set   the   stage   for   the   emergence   of   a   Parklet   initiative   there.148   First,   the   Adaptive   Reuse   Ordinance   (1999)   introduced   a   new   residential   community   to   downtown,   which  then  spurred  the  development  of  local-­‐serving  businesses  there.    Secondly,  a   number  of  related  efforts  emerging  from  the  Urban  Design  Studio  of  the  Los  Angeles   City   Planning   Department   explicitly   address   the   streetscape;   most   notably   the   reclassification   of   downtown   streets   with   the   Downtown   Street   Standards   (2009)   and  the  corresponding  Downtown  Design  Guide  (2009).    Other  documents  include   the   Walkability   Checklist   (2006),   Urban   Design   Principles   (2008),   Bicycle   Plan   and   Bicycle  Plan  Technical  Design  Handbook  (adopted  as  components  of  the  General  Plan   in  2011).  

Abad Ocubillo  2012  



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4.1 –  Radical,  Incremental,  Catalytic    

The literature   review   (Chapter   2   )   established   a   prevalent   appreciation   for  

temporary tactics   within   contemporary   urban   design,   planning   and   practice.     The   interviews   likewise   confirm   how   ephemeral,   temporary,   and   provisional   projects   are  perceived  as  instrumental  for  achieving  larger-­‐scale,  longer-­‐term  change.    A  vast   majority  of  interviews  referred  to  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas  as  on  the  one  hand   having   their   own   merits   unto   themselves,   but   on   the   other   hand   as   provisional   measures  leading  towards  more  permanent  transformation;  at  both  the  site  and  city   scale.      

Parklets were   universally   cited   as   a   catalyzing   agent,   149   encouraging   the  

production of   even   more   Parklets   which   in   turn   galvanize   other   types   of   local   change.    A  number  of  stakeholders  clearly  linked  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas  with   the   future   possible   permanent   closure   of   streets   to   automobile   traffic;   citing   precedents   in   Denmark,   New   York,   and   elsewhere.     The   small   acts   of   reclamation   enacted  by  Parklets  were  understood  as  incremental  means  towards  more  sweeping   changes;150   practicing   a   form   of   Incremental   Urbanism   first   posited   by   Charles   Lindblom  (1959)  so  many  years  ago.    

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


Figure 36:     Concentric   Circles   of   Catalysis,   Illustrated   with   PARK(ing)   Day   as   the   root   action.   This   model   is   synthesized   from   stakeholder   interviews,   which   in   different   ways   described   this   progression   of   transformative   action/events  

  Stakeholders   also   observed   that   as   privately   funded   public   infrastructure   projects,   Parklets   demonstrate   immediate   and   tangible   transformation;151   while   at   the   same   time   concluding   that   they   should   lead   to   more   investment   of   public   resources   towards   the   improvement   of   the   public   realm.152     Specifically,   Stakeholders   in   San   Francisco   described   the   potential   for   corridors   of   Parklets   to   result   in   permanent   sidewalk   widening,   like   that   implemented   on   Valencia   Street   between  15th  and  19th  Streets.153   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   are   perceived   as   change   agents   not   only   for   physical  public  space,  but  for  social  and  cultural  spaces  as  well.    Chapter  3  described  

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


how demonstration   projects   can   effect   shifts   in   the   cultures   of   city   agencies   and   governments.    A  majority  of  stakeholders  described  how  the  Heuristic  Urbanism  of   Parklets   and   Plazas   effect   a   shift   in   the   public’s   perception   of   how   public   space   should  and  can  be  used.    Thus  the  sidewalk  becomes  the  venue  for  transforming  and   enlarging   physical,   social,   and   cultural   public   spaces   through   urban   design   interventions  on  ephemeral,  temporary,  provisional  and  permanent  bases.  

Abad Ocubillo  2012  



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Plazas came   up   as   an   issue   in   only   a   small   minority   of   cases.   A   number   of   possible   factors   might   account   for   this.     First   (as   noted   in   Chapter   3),   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   projects   are   often   preceded   by   significant   outreach   that   crystallizes   support   at   the   local   level.     Second,   permitting   processes   for   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   (where   existing)   entail   two   measures   that,   when   not   satisfied,   tend   to   disqualify   project   eligibility:   proof   of   support   (usually  in  the  form  of  a  letter)  by  neighboring  merchants  and  residents;  and   a  period  of  public  comment  for  addressing  outstanding  community  concerns.       Third,  the  realignment  of  city  policies  –  and  public  attitudes  –  towards  more   balance   between   modalities   (presented   in   Section   3.2.2)   creates   an   operating   environment   which   favors   the   creation   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas.154     This   thesis   documented   how   an   executive   (mayoral)   mandate   in   the   cities   of   New   York   and   San   Francisco   provided   an   aegis   for   both   experimentation   and   the   de-­‐emphasis   of  factors  related  to  the  private  automobile.      Lastly,   all   the   stakeholders   interviewed   are   involved   with   the   creation   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   and,   as   a   group,   regard   the   repurposing   of   car   parking  as  a  necessary  consequence  of  project  implementation.    In  many  interviews,   especially   those   with   sponsoring   businesses,   car   parking   was   perceived   as   negatively   impacting   businesses.     For   example   at   Manifesto   bicycle   shop   and   Subrosa  Café  on  40th  Street  in  Oakland  –  one  block  away  from  a  regional  BART  train   station   –   onstreet   parking   is   both   free   and   without   time   limit.     Often,   curbside   parking  spaces  fronting  the  two  businesses  are  occupied  all  day  by  the  cars  of  BART   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


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overused areas  while  increasing  use  of  underutilized  areas  of  the  city.    In  November   2011,   NYC   DOT   Commissioner   Janette   Sadik-­‐Khan   announced   plans   to   establish   a   similar  system  in  New  York.   4.2.2 – Identity and Economic Incentive The   literature   review   (Section   2.4)   and   subsequent   findings   (Sections   3.1.6   and  3.2.2)  outlined  how  Heuristic  Urbanism  fortifies  local  social  capital  by  focusing   community  organizing,  action  and  interaction  around  a  common  objective.    The  vast   majority   of   interviews   indicate   that   first   and   foremost,   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas  come  to  symbolize  community  effort  and  pride.157    Additionally,  the  projects   –   products   of   tightly   interwoven   networks   of   local   residents,   business,   and   designers  –  represent  those  stakeholders’  economic  hopes  and  desires.      

A majority   of   stakeholders   held   the   perception   or   assumption   that   Parklets  

and Pedestrian   Plazas   result   in   economic   development,   at   the   site,   neighborhood,   or   even   civic   level.     The   literature   does   confirm   that   some   types   of   pedestrian   improvement   programs   can   yield   economic   benefits   in   discrete   districts   as   a   function   of   increased   foot   traffic.     The   few   studies   in   New   York   and   San   Francisco   targeting   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   do   indicate   a   slight   increase   volume   for   the   sponsoring  and/or  adjacent  businesses  (see  Section  2.5.3).    However  these  studies   were  undertaken  within  months  of  Parklet  installation,  suggesting  that  longitudinal   studies  could  confirm  the  expected  increase  in  business  performance.158    

Stakeholders at   the   government   level   identified   how  Parklet   and   Pedestrian  

Plaza projects   tend   to   elevate   the   profile   of   their   cities,   reinforcing   civic   image   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


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Figure 37:     Noe   Valley   Parklets   (Abad   Ocubillo   2011).     This   pair   of   Parklets   is   sponsored   by   the   Noe   Valley   Association.     They   were   designed   and   installed   together   as   part   of   the   Association’s   ongoing   streetscape   improvement  initiative.    (Designer:    Riyad  Ghannam,  rg-­architecture)  

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Parklet and  Pedestrian  Plaza  projects  act  not  only  as  a  district  landmarks,  but  

as a   marker   for   sponsoring   business(es)   as   well.     Though   the   Parklet   culture   originating   in   San   Francisco   strongly   discourages   the   application   of   graphic   branding   (logos)   onto   Parklets,   their   adjacency   to   the   business   is   enough   to   indicate   sponsorship.   The   uniqueness   of   Parklet   designs   reflect   their   respective   host   businesses,166   resulting   in   a   diverse   collection   of   installations   comprised   of   a   wide   range   of   design   expression   (a   discussion   of   sub-­‐typologies   is   presented   later,   in   Section   4.2.5).     A   number   of   stakeholders   expected   their   Parklet   to   make   the   sponsoring  business  “more  visible”  to  passersby  on  all  modes  of  transportation.167   4.2.3 – Shifting Motivations  

As the   Parklet   typology   gains   increasing   notoriety   and   popularity,   its  

significance expanded   beyond   the   core   objective   of   improving   and   augmenting   pedestrian   amenity   and   ambience.     The   ‘generous   urbanism’   with   which   Blaine   Merker   characterized   the   founding   ethos   of   Parklet   experiments   seems   to   some   extent   challenged   or   even   endangered   by   the   spectre   of   gentrification   and   privatization  associated  with  some  cases.168    As  Merker  presaged  in  his  essay  Taking   Place:  Rebar’s  Absurd  Tactics  in  Generous  Urbanism:   There   is   always   the   danger   among   the   more   successful   forms   of   generous  situations  that  they  will  absorbed  by  the  dominant  cultural   milieu  and,  once  absorbed,  their  critical  dimension  diminished  as  they   join   familiar,   acceptable,   and   potentially   commercial   categories   of   festival  and  spectacle.  (2012,  p.51)    

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In certain   instances,   private   commercial   interests   seem   to   override   free   public   access   to   Parklet   installations.     These   interests   can   manifest   in   the   design   and   material  execution  of  Parklets.    In  one  case  city,  sanctioned  privatization  sits  at  the   heart  of  the  Parklet  permitting  process.    

As the   Parklet   program   evolved   in   San   Francisco,   planners   recognized   that  

public-­‐private partnership  was  essential  for  the  execution  of  individual  projects  and   the  success  of  the  Program  as  a  whole.169    The  first  pilot  Parklets  were  executed  by   businesses   and   organizations   who   shared   a   collective   priority   with   the   Planning   Department  to  improve  the  public  realm.170    In  later  permitting  cycles,  city  staff  (?)   attested   to   the   diversifying   motivations   of   applicants;   some   of   whose   intentions   clearly  tied  more  closely  with  commercial  gain  for  their  businesses.171    

The first   San   Francisco   Parklet   permit   emphasized   an   all-­‐public   access   policy  

that also   restricted   how   hosts   incorporate   their   Parklet   into   business   operations.     For   example,   while   hosts   assume  responsibility  for  cleaning,  maintenance,  and   daily   stewardship   of   movable   furniture   on   the   Parklet;   they   are   not   legally   permitted   to   bar   access   to   the   amenity.   In   the   case   of   cafés   and   food   service   establishments   –   which   comprise   a   majority   of   Parklet   hosts   –   policies   in   San   Francisco   adhere   to   a   strict   ethic.     The   Parklet   permit   does   not   extend   the   right   to   provide   table   service   within   the   Parklet;   table   service   is   permissible   only   on   the   sidewalk   immediately   adjacent  to  the  storefront,  and  only  when  the  business  already  holds  a  pre-­‐existing   permit   for   sidewalk   dining.     Through   the   experience   of   several   successive   annual  

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cycles of   Parklet   permits,   these   basic   rules   would   become   even   more   specific   in   response  to  certain  cases  that  challenged  the  spirit  of  the  Program.   The   Parklet   at   the   ‘Squat   &   Gobble   Café’   on   16th   and   Market   Streets   in   San   Francisco  is  the  premiere  example  of  how  a  private  sponsor’s  choices  challenge  both   city   policy   and   local   neighborhood   support,   prompting   the   city   to   revise   its   permitting   standards   for   future   applicants.     At   the   Squat   &   Gobble,   the   Parklet   furnishings   exactly   match   those   of   the   Café’s   sidewalk   dining   area.     This   confused   both   the   general   public   and   café   patrons   as   to   the   subtle   operational   distinctions   between   the   Parklet,   sidewalk   dining   area,   and   the   restaurant   (Nevius   2011).   Despite   the   standard   city   signage   posted   at   the   Parklet   and   additional   signage   posted  by  the  Squat  &  Gobble  (Figure  39),  the  overall  impression  of  that  site  can  still   mislead  patrons  and    passersby  as  to  the  functional  and  philosophical  status  of  the   Parklet  installation.    

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Abad Ocubillo  2012  

  Figure   38:       Parklet   signage   at   Absinthe   restaurant,     384   Hayes   Street,   San   Francisco.    The  language  in  this  sign  differs  subtly  from  that  in  Figure  39.  

Figure 39:     Parklet   signage   at   the   'Squat   &   Gobble   Café,’   3600   16th   Street,   San   Francisco    (Abad  Ocubillo  2011).    Interpreted  with  this  sign,  the  intentions  of  the   Parklet  sponsor  here  contrast  sharply  with  others’.      


In response,  the  City  decided  to  permanently  update  the  language  for  future   RFPs   and   permits   to   help   ally   confusion   about   the   purpose   of   Parklets.     The   2011   RFP   was   the   first   to   address   this   issue   by   specifying   that   moveable   furniture   at   Parklets  be  distinctly  different  than  those  used  by  the  host  business.      

Figure   40:     Standard   Cafe   Furniture,   1755   Polk   Street,   San   Francisco     (Abad   Ocubillo   2012).     The   same   folding   tables   and   chairs,   manufactured   by   Fermob,   are   used   in   New   York   City   Plazas   and   the   Sunset   Triangle   Plaza   in   Los   Angeles.    These  models  are  recommended  by  San  Francisco  for  use  in   Parklets  and  Plazas.    Using  the  same  movable   furniture   in   all   Parklets   and   Plazas   also   helps   to   unify   disparate   sites   under   the   same   city   program.     (Parklet   Designer:  Riyad  Ghannam,  rg-­architecture.    Bicycle  Corral  installed  by  SFMTA).  

Other tactics   employed   by   the   Squat   &   Gobble   disrupted   the   community’s   initial   support   of   their   Parklet   installation.   Besides   using   identical   outdoor   furnishings,   the   café   operators   deployed   matching   potted   plants   and   lights   strung   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


over the   Parklet   and   sidewalk,   further   enhancing   the   impression   of   a   private   extension   of   their   restaurant.     This   conflicts   with   local   community   expectations   about   the   provision   of   truly   publicly   accessible   open   space,   as   well   as   prevailing   attitudes  about  the  aesthetic  character  of  the  neighborhood.    During  the  writing  of   this   thesis,     San   Francisco   Pavement   to   Parks   staff   were   engaged   in   ongoing   conversations   with   the   Squat   &   Gobble   operators   to   address   conflicts   with   neighbors.   Iterative   changes   to   the   San   Francisco   Parklet   permit   illustrate   a   process   of   Heuristic  Urbanism  whereby  public  policy  adapts  to  protect  the  foundational  ethos   of   an   urban   design   idea;   namely   unmitigated   public   access   to   an   enhanced   public   realm.    Thus  the  Parklet  program  in  San  Francisco  remains  alert  to  the  spirit  of  the   first,  radical  PARK(ing)  installation  staged  by  REBAR  group  which  reclaimed  public   space  from  privatized  (car  parking)  use.   In   the   City   of   Long   Beach,   the   adaptation   of   an   existing   permit   to   accommodate  Parklets  creates  a  wholly  different  functional  arrangement  than  that   of   San   Francisco   and   Oakland.     As   described   in   Section   3.1.3,   Parklets   in   Long   Beach   are   approved   through   the   ‘Public   Walkways   Occupancy   Permit   (PWOP),’   a   tool   already  used  to  sanction  sidewalk  dining.    The  PWOP  essentially  grants  the  right  to   provide  table  service  on  the  sidewalk;  thus  extending  that  right  out  into  the   Parklet   as  well.172    

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Figure 41:     Parklet   at   Lola's   Mexican   Cuisine,   4th   Street,   in   Long   Beach.     Lola's   is   the   first   Parklet   in   Southern   California  and  provides  table  service  within  the  Parklet.    (Designer:    Michael  Bohn,  Studio  111).  

The   use   of   a   PWOP   to   approve   Parklet   installations   in   Long   Beach   essentially   creates   an   expanded   private   encroachment   into   the   public   realm;   sandwiching   the   pedestrian   right-­‐of-­‐way   with   private   commercial   operations   at   both   the   building   line   and   in   the   curbside   parking   lane.     While   the   installations   themselves   provide   some  benefits  (see  Section  2.5)  to  the  streetscape,  in  reality  the  Parklet  situation  in   Long  Beach  does  not  augment  publicly  accessible  open  space.    Here,  sponsors  retain   vested  authority,  through  their  city-­‐issued  permit,  not  only  to  refuse  service  but  to   bar   access   to   their   Parklet.173     This   sits   in   direct   opposition   to   the   functional   and  

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philosophical origins  of  the  Parklet  prototyped  in  San  Francisco  which  (as  discussed   in   Section   2.3)   emanated   from   a   then-­‐radical   set   of   actions   and   there   prioritizes   truly  full  public  access.    Oakland  also  remains  committed  to  a  policy  of  open  access   to   Parklets,   articulated   in   their   draft   RFP   and   permit   materials.174     The   Oakland   Planning   Department   is   also   developing   Parklet   signage   inspired   by   those   in   San   Francisco.175    

Figure   42:     Parklet   access   should   not   be   restricted   or   regulated   by   private   entities.     The   full   spectrum   of   urban   inhabitants  have  a  right  to  public  open  space;  for  example  this  transient  citizen  at  Powell  Street  Promenade  in  the   early  morning  (Abad  Ocubillo  2012).  

The   condition   of   Long   Beach   Parklets   replicates   forms   of   privatization   decried   by   Davis   (1990/2006),   Ehrenfeucht   &   Loukaitou-­‐Sideris   (2010),   Kohn   (2004),   and   Mitchell   (1995);   while   realizing   Merker’s   prediction   that   ‘generous   situations’   become   co-­‐opted   and   commodified   into   ‘commercial   categories’   of   policy  

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and action  (Merker  2010).  As  more  and  more  cities  across  the  country  experiment   with   and   adopt   Parklet   programs,   the   typology’s   original   cast   may   morph   into   a   wholly   different   set   of   meanings,   potentialities,   and   functions   within   the   larger   discourse   of   urban   public   space.     The   Parklet   may   come   to   signify   less   for   enhancement   of   the   accessible   pedestrian   realm   and   more   for   economic   boosterism   and  privatization.    This  thrust  would  concur  readily  with  opinions  that  Parklets  and   Pedestrian  Plazas  are  a  function  and/or  facilitators  of  gentrification.    

4.2.4 – Public-Private Partnership, Classism, and Inequity The literature   review   outlined   both   the   necessity   for   and   problems   with  

public-­‐private partnerships.     In   his   essay   “Deregulation   and   Urbanity,”   Peter   Arlt   (2006)   describes   how   governments   which   traditionally   acted   as   ‘strategists’   no   longer   have   the   resources   to   do   so;   establishing   an   operating   environment   which   relies  upon  the  solutions  generated  from  the  ‘bottom-­‐up.’    Recent  structural  changes   in  California  –  such  as  the  dissolution  of  the  Community  Redevelopment  Agency  in   2011-­‐12  –  underscore  the  imperative  for  private,  non-­‐governmental  stakeholders  to   invest   more   in   public   infrastructure.     This   imperative   was   described   almost   universally  by  stakeholders  in  all  groups,  including  those  in  city  governments.   The   creation   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   was   often   –   and   rightly   –   touted  by  stakeholders  as  real  examples  of  ‘Participatory  Planning.’      Despite  near-­‐ universal  enthusiasm  for  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas,  the  ‘Participatory  Planning’   paradigm   itself   has   been   duly  criticized  by  Arnstein  (1969),  Sandercock  (1994),   and  

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others for   its   limitations.     The   chief   indictment   of   ‘Participatory   Planning’   is   its   tendency   to   tokenize   the   planning   process   or   to   exclude   certain   classes   or   populations.     This   line   of   criticism   usually   outlines   exclusion   in   terms   of   economic   class;    for  example  ESL  populations  and/or  working  class  groups  without  the  means   or   free   time   to   participate   in   public   fora.     The   same   classicism   inherent   in   ‘Participatory   Planning’   can   also   manifest   in   the   geography   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian  Plazas.     The  work  of  Wolch,  Wilson  &  Fehrenbach  (2005)  on  equity  mapping  in  Los   Angeles   revealed   that   despite   new   innovations   in   park   funding,   the   distribution   of   open   space   assets   remained   relatively   unchanged   from   historical   patterns.     In   other   words,   investment   in   parks   continued   to   occur   in   communities   of   higher   socio-­‐ economic  status  instead  of  underserved  areas.    Some  stakeholders  interviewed  for   this   thesis   believe   that   a   like   dynamic   effects   the   distribution   of   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   today.     For   example,   some   stakeholders   observed   how   to   date,   Parklets   tend   to   occur   in   neighborhoods   of   relative   affluence.   This   observation   concurs   with   the   Findings   (Section   3.2.2),   which   indicated   the   success   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   depends   on   a   robust   baseline   of   pedestrian   activity   which   exists   in   a   complimentary   relationship   with   a   diverse   and   plentiful   local   merchant   population.     Furthermore,   as   Parklets   rely   upon   private   partners   for   design,   construction,   and   ongoing   maintenance,176   they   most   often   appear   in   districts   of   economic  significance  and  stability;  or  districts  transitioning  into  increased  levels  of   commercial   activity.177     This   has   the   effect   of   concentrating   public   space   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


improvements in   areas   already   experiencing   influx   of   investment   (Wolch   et   al   2005).    

  Figure  43:    Standard  Signage  for  NYC  'Public  Curbside  Seating  Platforms'  or  Parklets    (Abad  Ocubillo  2012).    This   unobtrusive  sign  is  affixed  to  Parklets  in  New  York  City,  for  example  at  this  installation  at  Cafe  Local,  144  Sullivan   Street.  

The   rhetoric   of   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   emphasizes   the   creation   of   ‘public   open   space’   in   highly   urbanized   parts   of   the   city.     While   Parklets   do   augment   the  pedestrian-­‐accessible  realm  of  the  sidewalk,  they  do  so  at  a  highly  localized  scale   that   perhaps   reinforces   –   in   physical   and   spatial   terms   –   current   patterns   of   inequity.     In   terms   of   park   funding,   Wolch   et   al.   (2005)   concluded   that   in   order   to  

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achieve better   distribution   of   open   space   assets,   policy   should   shift   to   prioritize   currently   underserved   areas;   and   provide   technical   assistance   to   applicants   from   those  neighborhoods.    The  New  York  City  Plaza  program  incorporates  such  a  policy   measure   by   awarding   ten   extra   points   to   Plaza   applications   from   low-­‐   or   moderate-­‐ income   neighborhoods.   Their   “NYC   Plaza   Program   Application   Guidelines”   (March   2012)   even   provides   a   “Priority   Map”   (Figure   44)     indicating   where   Plazas   are   most   in  need.      This  thesis  asserts  that  California  cities  should  adopt  a  similar  framework   for  the  publicly  funded  Pedestrian  Plazas.    

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Figure 44:     "Priority   Map"   from   the   "NYC   Plaza   Program   Application   Guidelines,"   (New   York   City   Department   of   Transportation,   March   2012,   p.13).   In   addition   to   low-­   or   moderate-­income   neighborhoods,   NYC   DOT   prioritizes   proposals  from  communities  lacking  open  space.  

Some stakeholders  do  believe  that  the  public-­‐private  partnership  for  Parklets  

should evolve   to   include   support   from   public   sources,   in   the   form   of   partial   or  

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matching funds   for   capital   costs;   178   or   possibly   maintenance.     Such   arrangements   could   help   certain   neighborhoods   develop   unrealized   economic   potential   –   as   the   literature   review   and   findings   revealed   how   Parklets   do   tend   to   increase   the   confidence   of   adjacent   business   operators.     This   thesis   noted   how   cases   in   Highland   Park   and   El   Sereno   in   Los   Angeles   are   funded   through   public   sources   (via   the   Council  District),  which  entailed  higher  levels  of  community  engagement,  planning   and  participatory  design  than  seen  in  most  other  Parklet  cases.    Partial  or  full  public   funding   for   Parklets   would   also   further   democratize   not   only   the   process   of   implementing  them,  but  possibly  their  distribution  across  the  cities  also.    Still  other   measures   could   help   to   encourage   equity   in   the   Parklet   permitting   process;   for   example   in   Oakland,   pilot   Parklet   RFPs   were   provided   in   multiple   languages.179   Moving  forward,  Parklet  programs  in  cities  should  consider  evolving  their  selection   and   funding   structures;   which   would   not   only   encourage   greater   equity   but   also   mitigate   the   associations   of   gentrification180   and   classism   which   some   believe   are   overtaking  the  Parklet  movement.    

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! 4.2.5 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Emerging Sub-Typologies of Parklets !

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Francisco) and   future   40th   Street   Parklet   (Manifesto   Bicycles   and   Subrosa   Coffee,   Oakland)   feature   integral   custom-­‐made   bike   racks.     A   majority   of   stakeholders   referred   to   bicycle   planning   and   infrastructure   in   interviews;   and   these   ‘bikelets’   emphasize   the   influence   and   overlap   of   bicycle   culture   with   that   of   the   Parklet   movement.    

Figure   45:    Freewheel  Bike  Shop   Parklet  and  Bike   Corral    (Abad  Ocubillo  2012).    See  Figure  40  for  another  Parklet-­ Bike   Corral   pairing   on   Polk   Street   in   San   Francisco.     (Parklet   Designer:   Kanbayashi   Designs;   Planting   Design   by   Micah  Reed  of  Thrive  Landscaping;  Bicycle  Corral  installed  by  SFMTA)  

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Figure 46:   40th   Street   Parklet   or   ‘bikelet,’  Oakland,  CA.    (Designers:   Andrea   Gaffney   and   Justin   Viglianti,   Rendering   dated  May  2012,  shown  with  permission.    Sponsors:  Manifesto  Bicycles  and  Subrosa  Coffee.)    

The ‘Artscape’   A  children’s  art  gallery  on  22nd  Street  in  San  Francisco  leveraged  the  Parklet   format  to  create  an  ‘artscape.‘  The  concept  here  is  to  host  different  artists  to  create   new  installations  on  the  Parklet  on  a  quarterly  basis.    The  Fabric8  Parklet  explores  a   whole   new   dimension   of   community   engagement   and   interaction   by   inviting   community   artists   to   shape   the   installations;   and   for   extending   the   community-­‐ based  programming  from  inside  the  gallery  outside.    This  Parklet  demonstrates  how   other   types   of   businesses   besides   food   and   coffee   service   can   come   forward   and  

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sponsor a   meaningful   place.     Another   gallery-­‐adjacent   Parklet   is   proposed   in   Oakland  at  the  Marquee  Lofts  building.    

Figure  47:    Fabric8  Parklet  or  'Artscape.’  3318  22nd  Street,  San  Francisco.    (Designer  /  Artist:    Erik  Otto).  

The Trapezoid   Increasingly,   communities   become   interested   in   the   Parklet   concept   and   adapt   it   to   unique   physical   site   conditions.     For   example,   proposals   for   angled   parking   situations   have   been   put   forth   in   San   Francisco,   Oakland,   and   Los   Angeles.182   These   proposals   are   subject   to   considerably   more   revision   and   adjustment   given   their   nonconformity   to   the   parallel   parking   configuration.     The  

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Pavement to   Parks   officers   in   San   Francisco   have   acknowledged   an   intention   to   develop  guidelines  for  Parklets  in  non-­‐parallel  parking  stalls.183    

The ‘Collection’   Several   groupings   of   Parklets   emerged   from   the   efforts   of   BIDs,   CBDs,   and   neighborhood   groups,   often   as   part   of   district   brand   identity   campaigns.     The   24th   Street   Parklets   sponsored   by   the   Noe   Valley   Association   in   San   Francisco   were   discussed  in  Section  4.2.2.    As  a  ‘collection’  of  interventions  designed  together,  these   Parklets   can   be   understood   as   defining   a   subset   unto   themselves.     Additionally,   within   these   ‘collections,’   certain   sub-­‐typologies   emerge   that   further   evolve   the   diversity  of  the  Parklet’s  form  and  function.  

The Parkmobile   The   Yerba   Buena   CBD,   also   in   San   Francisco   produced   Parkmobiles   with   its   design  partner  CMB  Landscape  Architecture.    The  Parkmobile  emerged  as  one  of  the   36   components   of   the   Yerba   Buena   Street   Life   Plan   developed   by   CMG   for   the   District.     The   Parkmobiles   are   easily   relocated   using   a   trailer   truck:   “repurposed   dumpsters   which   include   a   bench   and   planting   space   for   distinct   gardens   ranging   from   bird   habitats   to   prehistoric   Tasmanian   fern   landscapes.   The   six   Parkmobiles   will   rotate   around   parking   spots   throughout   the   district   every   2-­‐3   months   so   that   businesses  and  institutions  can  have  chances  to  engage  Yerba  Buena's  street  life  at   their  doorstep”    (CMG  2012).      

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Figure 48:    Parkmobile  mobile  Parklet    (Abad  Ocubillo  2012).    The  repurposed  dumpster  is  modified  on  the  sidewalk   side  with  a  long  bench.    (Designer:  CMG  Landscape  Architecture)  

Sponsoring businesses   and   institutions   are   able   to   host   the   Parkmobiles   with   a  maintenance  agreement  with  (property  owner  or  business  operator??)  to  do  light   cleaning.    The  YBCBD  maintains  the  plantings  through  their  contract  with  a  vendor   (Gardens   Guild).     The   as   with   the   Powell   Street   Promenade,   Parkmobiles   are   permitted  through  the  Pavement  to  Parks  Program.184  

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The pre-­programmed  Parklet   In   Los   Angeles,   the   Downtown   Los   Angeles   Neighborhood   Council   took   a   research   and   design   approach   to   developing   concepts   for   three   Parklets   in   the   Historic  Core  (see  Section  3.1.5).    They  leveraged  PARK(ing)  Day  in  2011  to  conduct   on-­‐street   surveys   of   local   residents   to   gain   an   understanding   of   preferred   programmes   for   future   Parklets   in   the   area.   Consequently,   the   design   tem   in   the   Complete   Streets   Working   Group   developed   three   Parklet   “typologies”   for   implementation  at  three  separate  sites  on  Spring  Street:    the  “Active,”  “Passive,”  and   “Communal”   Parklets.     The   “typologies”   incorporate   different   design   strategies   to   encourage   certain   uses   and   situations   according   to   the   Parklet   theme.     The   programs  for  each  “typology”  were  generated  based  on  observation  of  the  existing   life  at  each  identified  location  and  were  crafted  to  enhance,  support  or  compliment   the  lively  activity  already  present.185     For   instance,   the   design   team   observed   that   LA   Café   already   has   a   busy   sidewalk   seating   area   and   so   surmised   that   more   cafe-­‐style   seating   could   be   redundant.    They  instead  proposed  instead  “active  uses”  such  as  a  foosball  table  and   exercise   equipment   for   that   Parklet   that   would   to   further   enliven   the   storefront   and   adjacent   residential   building   entrances.   The   proposed   Parklet   location   north   of   LA   Café     suffers   from   a   constrained   sidewalk   condition,   due   to   the   presence   of   utility   boxes  and  other  physical  impediments  to  pedestrian  flow.  The  restaurant  and  cafe   businesses   along   that   stretch   have   more   limited   capacity   for   sidewalk   dining.  

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


The pre-­programmed  Parklet   In   Los   Angeles,   the   Downtown   Los   Angeles   Neighborhood   Council   took   a   research   and   design   approach   to   developing   concepts   for   three   Parklets   in   the   Historic  Core  (see  Section  3.1.5).    They  leveraged  PARK(ing)  Day  in  2011  to  conduct   on-­‐street   surveys   of   local   residents   to   gain   an   understanding   of   preferred   programmes   for   future   Parklets   in   the   area.   Consequently,   the   design   team   in   the   Complete   Streets   Working   Group   developed   three   Parklet   “typologies”   for   implementation  at  three  separate  sites  on  Spring  Street:    the  “Active,”  “Passive,”  and   “Communal”   Parklets.     The   “typologies”   incorporate   different   design   strategies   to   encourage   certain   uses   and   situations   according   to   the   Parklet   theme.     The   programs  for  each  “typology”  were  generated  based  on  observation  of  the  existing   life  at  each  identified  location  and  were  crafted  to  enhance,  support  or  compliment   the  lively  activity  already  present.185     For   instance,   the   design   team   observed   that   LA   Café   already   has   a   busy   sidewalk   seating   area   and   so   surmised   that   more   cafe-­‐style   seating   could   be   redundant.    They  instead  proposed  instead  “active  uses”  such  as  a  foosball  table  and   exercise   equipment   for   that   Parklet   that   would   to   further   enliven   the   storefront   and   adjacent   residential   building   entrances.   The   proposed   Parklet   location   north   of   LA   Café     suffers   from   a   constrained   sidewalk   condition,   due   to   the   presence   of   utility   boxes  and  other  physical  impediments  to  pedestrian  flow.  The  restaurant  and  cafe   businesses   along   that   stretch   have   more   limited   capacity   for   sidewalk   dining.  

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Additionally, designers   observed   how   residents   of   all   walks   of   life   seem   to   gather,   socialize,  and  linger  at  that  location  despite  narrow  sidewalk  conditions.  Thus,  the   Parklet  “typology”  proposed  there  focused  more  on  provision  of  communal  seating   and   is   arranged   to   encourage   group   interactions.   The   “Passive”   Parklet   was   designed   with   more   opportunities   for   quietly   sitting,   people-­‐watching,   or   using   computers  and  smart  phones.    

Figure   49:     Spring   Street   Parklet   Typologies   (Downtown   Los   Angeles   Neighborhood   Council,   Complete   Streets   Working  Group.    Architects:    Tony  Lopez,  Rob  Berry,  Daveed  Kapoor.    Graphic  layout  by  Valerie  Watson;  shown  with   permission).  

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The Promenade   On   Powell   Street   in   San   Francisco,   Walter   Hood   designed   a   series   of   8   platforms  which  flank  the  street  and  are  collectively  referred  to  as  The  Powell  Street   Promenade.     Organized   through   the   Union   Square   BID   and   sponsored   by   Audi,   186     the  Promenade  was  approved  using  the  same  permit  as  that  used  for  Parklets.    This   indicates  the  flexibility  and  inventiveness  that  the  San  Francisco  permit  encourages.     To   date,   Parklet   projects   are   typically   sited,   designed,   and   executed   as   single   interventions,  but  the  Promenade  permutation  allows  us  to  understand  the  potential   for  integrated  series  or  assemblages.    

The Future  of  Parklet  Sub-­Typologies   Given   the   relative   newness   of   the   Parklet   typology,   a   great   variety   of   permutations   and   adaptations   of   the   concept   has   yet   to   evolve.       However   even   a   cursory   inventory   in   the   present   day   reveals   the   adaptability   and   flexibility   of   the   Parklet   concept.     At   present   its   is   most   associated   with   adjacent   food   service   land   uses,   however   even   a   cursory   inventory   of   Parklet   sponsors   reveals   an   ever-­‐ diversifying  set  of  sponsors  with  equally  varied  business  programs.        

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Figure 50:   The   Powell   Street   Promenade.     The   sweeping   aluminum   forms   create   a   signature   for   Powell   Street   at   Union   Square,   which   experiences   some   of   the   highest   pedestrian   volumes   of   any   two   blocks   in   San   Francisco.     (Designer:  Walter  Hood)  

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4.3 –  Epilogue:    Recommendations  for  Further  Study     4.3.1 – Long-Term Economic Impacts  

To date,   Parklets   have   been   subject   to   only   a   handful   of   impact   studies;  

mostly undertaken   within   months   of   Parklet   installation.     Some   measures   –   especially   those   related   to   economic   impacts   –   revealed   little   to   no   change   in   the   immediate   term.     However   the   willingness   of   so   many   private   entities   to   invest   in   these  unique  public-­‐space  improvements  indicates  an  intuition  that  Parklets  can  and   will   render   economic   benefits   to   sponsors.     Other   studies   have   attempted   to   examine  the  economic  impacts  of  related  streetside  infrastructure  improvements  –   for   example   bicycle   facilities   (Drennen   2003).     Longitudinal   studies   of   Parklets   –   both  as  individual  cases  or  as  a  local  assemblage  of  installations  –  have  the  potential   to   help   substantiate   prevailing   opinions   about   the   economic   benefits   of   the   interventions.       4.3.2 – User Behavior and Perception This   thesis   focused   on   the   four   stakeholder   groups   directly   involved   with   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   implementation:   Government,   Private   Partners,   Community   Partners,   and   Designers.     Users   –   the   fifth   and   final   group   –   were   excluded  as  not  all  project  cases    were  built  during  the  execution  of  this  thesis.    Only   cases   in   San   Francisco,   and   one   in   Long   Beach,   had   been   installed.     Cases   were   selected  to  represent  all  four  cities,  the  range  of  sponsor  types  (cafes,  bike  shops,  art  

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galleries, BIDs,   CBDs,   etc),   and   to   represent   all   stages   of   project   design,   planning,   and  operation.     4.3.3 – Heuristic Urbanism and the Grand Narrative of Parks  

Galen Cranz’s  Politics  of  Park  Design  (1982)  established  a  critical  framework  

for the   social   and   spatial   history   of   parks   in   the   United   States.     Later,   Cranz   and   Boland   would   advance   the   narrative   with   the   Ecological   Park   (2003)   and   the   Sustainable  Park  (2004).      Others  (Byrne  &  Wolch  2009;  Low,  Taplin  &  Scheld  2005)   further   explored   the   social,   cultural,   and   political   dimensions   of   our   park   legacy.     Byrne   and   Wolch   explore   “ethno-­‐racial”   and   “socio-­‐ecological”   factors   of   park   production,   while   Cronon   (1996)   and   others   critiqued   our   culture’s   construct   of   ‘nature.’      This  thesis  attempted  to  historicize  the  Parklet  and  Pedestrian  Plaza,  thus   establishing  a  basis  for  placing  them  within  a  larger  narrative  of  the  development  of   park  types  in  the  American  context.    

The rhetoric   of   Parklets   employs   vocabulary   and   imagery   linked   with  

traditional parks,   countryside,   and   ‘nature.’   This   rhetoric   was   inherited   from   the   radical   performance   art   installations   of   Bonnie   Ora   Sherk   (1979,   2012),   REBAR   Group  (2005-­‐present)  and  others.    While  at  first  glance,  these  isolated  interventions   –   each   with   their   bits   of   vegetation   –   may   seem   to   possess   negligible   ecological   or   environmental   value.     However   their   importance   to   evolving   socio-­‐cultural   values   about  ecology  and  ‘nature’  bears  further  investigation.    For  example  Mozingo  (1997)   and   Nassauer   (Ed.,   1997)   observe   that   ecological   parks   no   longer   depend   on   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


picturesque aesthetics   to   communicate   the   idea   of   nature   and   therefore   the   appreciation   of   it.     Hough   (1987)   contends   that   our   connection   to   ‘nature’   flows   through   a   nesting   hierarchy   of   types   of   experiences,   from   backyard   gardens   to   remote  nature  preserves.    The  potential  for  Parklets  and  even  Pedestrian  Plazas  to   form   a   link   in   the   urbanite’s   connection   to,   sense   of,   or   appreciation   for   ‘nature’   warrants  serious  consideration.    

The significance   of   multiple   Parklets   and   Pedestrian   Plazas   for  

neighborhoods, corridors,   or   even   cities   also   bears   further   exploration.     For   example,   this   thesis   noted   the   series   or   “corridor”   of   Parklets   appearing   along   Valencia   Street   in   San   Francisco.   These   independently   sponsored   Parklets   on   Valencia   transform   –   as   a   function   of   their   proximity   and   serial   distribution   –   street   life  and  character  exponentially.    This  suggests  the  potential  for  a  cluster  or  series  of   Parklet   or   Pedestrian   Plazas   to   function   –   and   be   examined   –   collectively   as   a   ‘Corridor.’     Valencia   Street   was   already   a   commercial   corridor,   a   bicycle   corridor   (Drennen  2003),  a  pedestrian  corridor,  and  now  –  a  Parklet  Corridor  as  well.    

Section 3.1.5   noted   how   in   Los   Angeles,   roadway   triangles   occur   in   series  

where the  different  urban  grids  of  the  city  intersect.    Other  designers  and  planners   in  Los  Angeles  have  recognized  the  potential  of  repurposing  these  strings  of  largely   vacant   and   underdeveloped   parcels   under   a   single   programme,     For   example,   Hoover   Street   –   along   which   multiple   roadway   triangles   occur   –   connects   the   significant  public  open  space  assets  of  Exposition  Park  to  the  south  and  La  Fayette   Park   in   the   north.     The   coordinated   development   of   its   roadway   triangles   into   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


enhanced places   would   have   manifold   impacts   beyond   just   the   site   and   neighborhood   scale   of   its   constituent   parcels.     Hoover   Street   could   become   a   Pedestrian   Plaza   Corridor,   and   in   so   becoming,   an   open   space   and   ecological   corridor   as   well.       Thus   the   Parklet   and   Pedestrian   Plaza   Corridor   –   as   a   type   emerging   through   uncoordinated   interventions   or   as   the   product   of   a   holistic   and   comprehensive  open  space  plan  for  a  street  –  radically  expands  the  potential  of  the   Parklet   or   Pedestrian   Plaza   typologies   themselves.     In   this   way,   the   two   typologies   can   be   understood   as   elements   augmenting   or   helping   to   complete   urban   open   space  and  ecological  networks.     This  thesis  suggests  that  Parklets  and  Pedestrian  Plazas  together  form  a  type  of   “Prosumer  Park,”  one  which  through  a  process  of  Heuristic  Urbanism  is  created  not   through   the   planning   of   government   strategists   but   the   once-­‐radical   tactics   of   artists,   designers,   and   ordinary   citizens.     The   “Prosumer   Park”   is   the   fulcrum   over   which  new  values  of  land  use  and  are  balanced.    They  become  charged  conversation   pieces   for   popular   and   academic   discourse,   expanding   the   horizons   of   both   with   fresh  material.    These  Parks  creates  the  forum  for  convening  both  the  government   and  polity  to  broker  new  agreements  and  formulate  new  structures  of  interaction.     The  Prosumer  Park  offers  a  new  standard  for  the  production  of  urban  space  and  life.    

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ENDNOTES These  notes  indicate  where  a  particular  theme,  idea  or  fact    formed  a  major  point  of   discussion  in  a  particular  interview  or  interviews.    Oftentimes,  the  content  from  many   interviews  support  a  theme,  idea  or  fact;  however  only  those  conversations  which   focused  on  that  theme,  idea,  or  fact  are  noted  here.    For  a  full  listing  of  the   interviewees  referenced  here,  see  APPENDIX  B  –  Catalogue  of  Interviews.                                                                                                                     1  Angstadt  2012;  Blackman  2012;  Drake  2012;  Gaffney  2012;  Gibbs  2012;  Jones   2012;  Kaminski  2012;  Lehman  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012;  Miller,  R.  2012;  Traecy  2012     2  Angstadt  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012;  Miller,  R.  2012;  Shannon  2012     3  Blackman  2012;  Watson  2012     4  Bednarz  2012;  Drake  2012;  Hughes  2012;  Katz  2012;  Lim  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012;   Miller,  R.  2012       5  Burkowski  2011;  Hassi  2011     6  Chasan  2012;  Elsner  2011;  Power  2011;  Provence  2011     7  Castillo  2012;  Choi  2012;  Dubose  and  Henry  2011;  Gaffney  2012;  Gibbs  2012;   Hacket  and  Weigley  2011;  Ion  2012;  Jawa  2012;  Kim  2012;  Lehman  2012;  Martin   2011;  Miller,  B.  2012;  Miller,  R.  2012;  Ocañas  2012;  Peccaianti  2012;  Power  2011;   Watson  2012     8  Elsner  2011;  Power  2011     9  Eisner  2012;  Power  2011     10  Eisner  2011;  Power  2011     11  Elsner  2012;  Chasan  2012     12  Power  2011    

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13 Aiello  2011;  Currier  2011;  Dumesnil  2011;  Elsner  2011;  Power  2011  

14 Ghannam  2011;  Martin  2011;  Passmore  2011;  Power  2011  

15 Lehman  2012;  Ocañas  2012  

16 Elsner  2011,  Power  2011,  Pratt  2011;  Provence  2011  

17 Aiello  2011;  Boor  2011;  Currier  2011;  Dumesneil  2011;  Martin  2011;  Ogbu  and  

Petersen 2011;  Power  2011     18  Elsner  2011,  Power  2011,  Provence  2011     19  Elsner  2011;  Ghannam  2011;  Neiman  2011;  Power  2011       20  Elsner  2012     21  Elsner  2011     22  Elsner  2011,  Power  2011,  Provence  2011     23  Elsner  2012     24  Pratt  2011     25  Elsner  2012     26  Castillo  2012     27  Castillo  2012;  Ulazweski  2012;  Van  Dijs  2012     28  Castillo  2012;  Trang  2012     29  Castillo  2012     30  Castillo  2012     31  Ulaszewski  2012     32  Pittman  2012     Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


33 Castillo  2012;  Trang  2012     34  Castillo  2012     35  Castillo  2012;  Pittman  2012;  Trang  2012     36  Castillo  2012;  Trang  2012     37  Angstadt  2012;  Bednarz  2012;  Drake  2012;  Gaffney  2012;  Karchmer  2012;  Katz     2012;  Lim  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012;  Miller,  R.  2012     38  Angstadt  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012     39  Angstadt  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012     40  Miller,  B.  2012     41  Angstadt  2012;  Miller  M.  2012     42  Miller,  Blair  2012     43  Miller,  B.  2012     44  Miller,  R.  2012     45  Miller,  R.  2012     46  Miller,  R.  2012     47  Andree  2012;  Miller,  R  2012;  Tracey  2012     48  Tracey  2012     49  Andree  2012;  Tracey  2012     50  Tracey  2012     51  Miller,  R.  2012     52  Tracey  2012     53  Tracey  2012     Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


54 Andree  2012     55  Andree  2012;  Tracey  2012     56  Tracey  2012     57  Andree  2012;  Tracey  2012     58  Bednarz  2012;  Miller,  R.  2012;  Tracey,  2012     59  Miller,  R.  2012     60  Miller,  R.  2012     61  Angstadt  2012;  Kaminski  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012     62  Angstadt  2012;  Kaminski  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012     63  Angstadt  2012     64  Angstadt  2012;  Kaminski  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012     65  Angstadt  2012     66  Angstadt  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012     67  Angstadt  2012;  Kaminski  2012;  Miller  B.  2012     68  Angstadt  2012     69  Miller,  B.  2012     70  Angstadt  2012     71  Angstadt  2012     72  Miller,  R  2012;  Tracey  2012     73  Angstadt  2012    

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74 Blackman  2012;  Choi  2012;  Kim  2012;  Lehman  2012;  Robbins  2012;  Watson   2012       75  Box  2012       76  Choi  2012     77  Lehman  2012;,  Ocañas  2012     78  Blackman  2012;  Choi  2012;  Kim  2012;  Lehman  2012;  Robbins  2012;  Watson   2012     79  Olive,  Oishi,  &  Gutierrez    2012   80  Olive,  Oishi,  &  Gutierrez  2012   81  Ocañas  2012   82  Ocañas  2012   83  Ocañas  2012   84  Ocañas  2012   85  Ocañas  2012   86  Olive,  Oishi,  &  Gutierrez  2012   87  Kim  2012;  Ocañas  2012   88  Lehman  2012;  Robbins  2012   89  Robbins  2012   90  Blackman  2012;  Rumsey  2012;  Watson  2012   91  Blackman  2012;  Lehman  2012;  Robbins  2012   92  Blackman  2012;  Robbins  2012;  Rumsey  2012;  Watson  2012  

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93 Blackman  2012;  Watson  2012   94  Blackman  2012;  Choi  2012;  Kim  2012;  Lehman  2012;  Olive,  Oishi,  &  Gutierrez  

2012; Robbins  2012;  Rumsey  2012;  Watson  2012   95  Angstadt  2012;  Castillo  2012;  Castillo  2012;  Choi  2012;  Drake  2012;  Gibbs  2012;  

Karchmer 2012;  Katz  2012;  Kim  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012;  Miller,  R.  2012;  Peccianti     2012;  Pratt  2012;  Tracey  2012;  ,  Van  Dijs  2012;  Ulaszewski  2012     96  Blackman  2012;  Burkowski  2011;  Elsner  2011;  Katz  2012;  Kim  2012;  Hacket  and   Weigley  2012;  Hughes  2012;  Ion  2012;  Jawa  2011;  Martin  2011;  Miller,  R.  2012;   Peccanti  2012;  Power  2012;  Provence  2012;    Tracey  2012;  Watson  2012     97  Angstadt  2012;  Blackman  2012;  Castillo  2012;  Kaminski  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012;   Trang  2012;  Watson  2012     98  Aiello  2011;  Choi  2012;  Elsener  2011;  Ogbu  &  Petersen  2011;  Olive,  Oishi  &   Gutierrez  2012;  Martin  2011;  Power  2011;  Ocañas  2012     99  Blackman  2012;  Lehman  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012;  Watson  2012   100  Elsner  2011;  Kaminski  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012;  Power  2011;     101  Angstadt  2012;  Ulazsewski  2012   102  Blackman  2012;  Elsener  2011;  Ion  2012;  Drake  2012;  Gaffney  2012;  Miller,  B.  

2011; Passmore  2011;  Power  2011;  Upwall  2011;  Watson  2012     103  Angstadt  2012;  Blackman  2012;  Kim  2012;  Ocañas  2012;  Rumsey  2012  

104 Angstadt  2012;  Elsner  2011;  Miller,  B.  2012;  Power  2011;  Pittman  2012   105  Angstadt  2012;  Castillo  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012;     106  Andree  2012;  Blackman  2012;  Choi  2012;  Kim  2012;  Miller,  R.  2012;  Ocañas  

2012; Tracey  2012;  Watson  2012     107  Blackman  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012  

108 Angstadt  2012;  Elsner  2011;  Kaminski  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012;  Pittman  2012;  

Power 2011;  Provence  2011   Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


109 Chasan  2012;  Elsner  2011,  2012;  Power  2011;  Provence  2011   110  Miller,  R.  2012   111  Kim  2012;  Watson  2012   112  Blackman  2012;  Kim  2012;  Olive,  Oishi  &  Gutierrez  2012;  Watson  2012   113  Angstadt  2012;  Olive,  Oishi  &  Gutierrez  2012;  Miller   114  Olive,  Oishi,  &  Guierrez  2012   115  Miller,  R.  2012   116  Van  Dijs  2012   117  Io  2012   118  Gaffney  2012;  Gibbs  2012;  Kim  2012;  Ocañas  2012;  Rumsey  2012     119  Robbins  2012;  Watson  2012   120  Karchmer  2012;  Robbins  2012;  Tracey  2012   121  Becker  2012;  Castillo  2012;  Drake  2012;  Gaffney  2012;  Gibbs  2012;  Jones  2012;  

Provence 2011;  Tracey  2012;  Ulaszewski  2012;  Upwall  2011;  Van  Dijs  2012     122  Gaffney  2012;  Watson  2012   123  Gaffney  2012;  Gibbs,  2012;  Jones  2012;  Karchmer  2012;  Katz  2012;  Lim  2012;  

Miller, R.  2012     124  Drake  2012;  Ion  2012;  Karchmer  2012;  Katz  2012;  Lim  2012   125  Miller,  R.  2012   126  Gaffney  2012;  Gibbs  2012;  Martin  2011;  Power  2012   127  Gaffney  2012;  Ion  2012   128  Miller,  R.  2012  

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129 Castillo  2012   130  Drake  2012;  Katz  2012;  Lehman  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012;  Miller,  R.  2012;  Ocañas  

2012   131  Castillo  2012;  Ulasewski  2012   132  Io  2012   133  Miller,  B.  2012   134  Jones  2012   135  Drake  2012;  Robbins  2012   136  Robbins  2012   137  Blackman  2012;  Watson  2012   138  Choi  2012;  Drake  2012;  Ion  2012;  Katz  2012;  Kim  2012;  Lim  2012;  Ocañas  2012   139  Gibbs  2012   140  Miller,  B.  2012   141  Van  Dijs  2012   142  Choi  2012;  Ocañas  2012;  Peccianti  2012   143  Lehman  2012;  Robbins  2012   144  Blackman  2012;  Watson  2012   145  Elsner  2012   146  Miller  Ruth  2012   147  Tracey  2012   148  Blackman  2012;  Rumsey  2012;  Watson  2012   149  Gaffney  2012  

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150 Angstadt  2012   151  Angstadt  2012   152  Drake  2012;  Robbins  2012   153  Elsener  2011;  Provence  2011;  Power  2011   154  Van  Dijs  2012   155  Gaffney  2012   156  Provence  2011   157  Tracey  2012   158  Angstadt  2012   159  Castillo  2012;  Peccianti  2012;  Van  Dijs  2012;  Ulaszewski  2012   160  Drake  2012;  Hughes  2012;  Ion  2012;  Jones  2012;  Miller  R  2012;  Miller  B  2012;  

Tracey 2012     161  Angstadt  2012;  Katz  2012;  Trang  2012;  Vigilanti  2012   162  Angstadt  2012   163  Gaffney  2012;  Gibbs  2012;  Vigilanti  2012   164  Ulazsweski  2012;  Van  Dijs  2012   165  Lehman  2012;  Robbins  2012   166  Tracey  2012  

167 Bednarz  2012;  Gaffney  2012;  Gibbs  2012;  Ion  2012;  Vigilanti  2012   168  Miller,  R.  2012   169  Power  2011   170  Power  2011  

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171 Power  2011   172  Castillo  2012   173  Castillo  2012   174  Kaminski  2012;  Miller,  B.  2012;  Miller,  R.  2012;  Tracey  2012   175  Kaminski  2012   176  Miller,  R.  2012   177  Karchmer,  2012   178  Upwall  2011   179  Miller,  B.  2012   180  Miller,  R.  2012   181  Elsener  2011;  Provence  2011   182  Drake  2012;  Ion  2012;  Katz  2012;  Lehman  2012;  Lim  2012;  Provence  2011;  ;  

Robbins 2012     183  Chasan  2012;  Elsner  2012   184  Provence  2012   185  Watson  2012  

186 Ficarotta  2011;  King  2011;  Patwa  2011  

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


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Roach, C.    (2008).    Urban  Guerillas:  Streets  and  the  Sociopolitical  Architecture  of  the   Public  Realm.”  On  Site,  19,  pp.27-­‐33     Ronneberger,  Klaus  (2010).  From  regulation  to  moderation.    In  Haydn,  Florian  and   Temel,  Robert  (Eds).    Temporary  Urban  Spaces:  Concepts  for  the  Use  of  City  Spaces,   pp.67-­‐74.    Basel,  Switerzerland:  Birkhauser     Rowe,  Colin  &  Koetter,  Fred    (1984).    Collage  City.    Cambridge,  MA:    MIT  Press     Sabatini,  J.  (2011,  June  13).  DPW  cost-­‐saving  tree  plan  faces  resistance.  San   Francisco  Examiner     Sabatini,  J.  (2011,  June  06).  San  Francisco  tree  upkeep  is  target  of  budget  trim.  The   San  Francisco  Examiner     Sadik-­‐Khan,  Janette  (2011,  June  7).    NYC’s  Plaza  Program,  An  Open  Space  Model  for   L.A.?      retrieved  from  Los  Angeles  Streetsblog:­‐plaza-­‐program-­‐an-­‐open-­‐space-­‐model-­‐ for-­‐l-­‐a/     Sandercock,  Leonie  (1994).    Citizen  participation:  the  new  conservatism.    In   Sarkissian,  W  &  Perglut,  D.  (Eds).    The  community  participation  handbook:  resources   for  public  involvement  in  the  planning  process  (2nd  edition).    Institute  for  Science  and   Technology  Policy  in  association  with  Impacts  Press,  Murdoch,  p.7-­‐16     San  Francisco  Great  Streets  Project.  (2010).    Divisadero  Trial  Parklet  Impact  Report  -­   March  2010.  San  Francisco  Bicycle  Coalition,  Great  Streets  Project.  San  Francisco:   San  Francisco  Bicycle  Coalition     San  Francisco  Great  Streets  Project.  (2011a).  Parklet  Impact  Study  -­  August  2011.  San   Francisco  Bicycle  Coalition,  Great  Strets  Project.    San  Francisco:  San  Francisco   Bicycle  Coalition     San  Francisco  Great  Streets  Project.  (2011b).  Parklet  Impact  Study:  Initial  Conditions   Summary  -­  April  2011.  San  Francisco  Bicycle  Coalition,  Great  Strets  Project.    San   Francisco:  San  Francisco  Bicycle  Coalition     San  Francisco  Municipal  Code  (2008,  March  31).    LANDMARK  TREES.    Public  Works   Code  Article  16,  Section  810       San  Francisco  Municipal  Code  (1993,  July  16).    TABLES  AND  CHAIRS  IN  PUBLIC   SIDEWALK  OR  ROADWAY  AREAS.    Public  Works  Code  Article  5.2.     Abad  Ocubillo  2012  


San Francisco  Municipal  Code  (2010,  October  19).    ESTABLISHING  GUIDELINES  FOR   THE  APPROVAL  AND  INSTALLATION  OF  TEMPORARY  SIDEWALK  EXTENSIONS   (PARKLETS).    DPW  Order  No:  178,939     San  Francisco  Museum  of  Modern  Art    (1970).    SECA/VESA  Award  1970  news   release,  1970.    Carton  10,  Folder  56,  “Vernal  Equinox  Special  Award,  1970–1972,”   Society  for  the  Encouragement  of  Contemporary  Art  (SECA)  Records,  1960–  2010.     SFMOMA  Archives     San  Francisco  Planning  Department  (2010-­‐present).    About  Pavement  to  Parks.     Retrieved  from     San  Franisco  Planning  Department    (2010,  September  17).    REQUEST  FOR   PROPOSALS  FOR  TEMPORARY  SIDEWALK  EXTENSIONS  “PARKLETS”     San  Franisco  Planning  Department    (2011,  May  5).    REQUEST  FOR  PROPOSALS  FOR   TEMPORARY  SIDEWALK  EXTENSIONS  “PARKLETS”     Sardar,  Zahid  (2005,  May  22).    Land  Art:  Living  Truths:  A  performance  artist-­‐turned-­‐ educator  sheds  light  on  the  Islias  Creek.    San  Francisco  Chronicle     Schaefer,  Margie  (2011,  July  13).    “Powell  Street  Promenade  Transforms   Union  Square”    TRANSCRIPT  from  CBS  Local  San  Francisco.    retrieved  from­‐street-­‐promenade-­‐ transforms-­‐union-­‐square/     Seifert,  W.,  Christopher,  H.  V.,  Farrar,  S.  M.,  Preston,  T.,  Duarte,  T.  H.,  &  Geraghty,  A.  B.   (2009).  Partnership  Leads  Community  Towards  Complete  Streets.    American  Journal   of  Preventative  Medicine,  37  (6),  pp.S420-­‐S427     Seligman,  Katherine  (2011,  June  19).      San  Francisco's  tiny  plazas  convert  parking  to   parks.    The  Sacramento  Bee     Seltenrich,  Nate    (2011,  October  23).    San  Francisco  Parklets  swap  parking  spots  for   community  space.    San  Francisco  Examiner     Shaw,  Robert    (1989).  Interviews  With  Robert  Shaw.    Interview  by  John  Schaffer.   Chicago:  Brentwood  Press     Shoup,  Donald    (2005/2011).    The  High  Cost  Free  Parking.    Chicago,  IL:    Planners   Press    

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Sonenshein, Raphael  J.    (2006).    Los  Angeles:  Structure  of  a  City  Government.    Los   Angeles:    League  of  Women  Voters     Steinhauer,  Jennifer    (2008,  April  26).    Outdoor  ‘Living  Rooms’  Bring  Touches  of   Cheer  to  Central  Los  Angeles.    New  York  Times     Street  Plans  Collaborative  (2011,  March).    Tactical  Urbanism:  Volume  1.    New  York,   New  York:  Street  Plans  Collaborative     Street  Plans  Collaborative  (2012,  April).    Tactical  Urbanism:  Volume  2.    New  York,   New  York:  Street  Plans  Collaborative     Taylor,  T.  (2009,  October  21).  From  concrete  to  community.  Financial  Times     TreePeople  (2012).    Who  We  Are.    retrieved  from  the  Tree  People  website:­‐we-­‐are     Toffler,  Alvin  (1980).    The  Third  Wave.    London,  UK:  Collins.     Vives,  Ruben    (2012,  January  7).    Long  Beach  joins  the  national  ‘parklets’  trend.    The   Los  Angeles  Times     The  Washington  Post.  (1967,  October  14).  Neighbors'  Objections  Change  'Parklet'   Plans.  Times  Herald,  p.B3     Waugh,  Dorothy.  (1947).    Parklets:  Gardens  of  Eden  for  Those  Who  Cannot  Go  to  a   Real  Park.    Landscape  Architecture,  37  (2),  p.56.     Whyte,  William  H.  (1988).    Rediscovering  the  City.    Philadelphia,  PA:  University  of   Pennsylvania  Press     Wolch,  Wilson,  &  Fehrenbach    (2005).    Parks  and  Park  Funding  in  Los  Angeles:  An   Equity-­‐Mapping  Analysis.    Urban  Geography,  26  (1),    pp.4–35     Zimbardo,  Tanya.    (2011).  Resonances:  The  Art  of  the  Award.    In  Gass,  Alison  &     Zimbardo,  Tanya  (Eds).    Fifty  Years  of  Bay  Area  Art  and  the  SECA  Art  Award.    San   Francisco,  CA:    San  Francisco  Museum  of  Modern  Art     Zion,  R.  L.  (1962,  July  1).    Impractical'  Ideas  for  Tomorrow's  City.    New  York  Times,   pp.140-­‐2  

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APPENDIX A  –  Methodology     Literature Review This   study   reviews   the   extensive   literature   touching   experimental   urban   design   interventions,   laying   out   a   theoretical   and   epistemological   background   for   the   contemporary   cases   in   San   Francisco,   Oakland,   Long   Beach,   Los   Angeles   and   elsewhere.     Here,   Parklets   are   framed   within   a   historical   narrative   of   temporary   streetscape  intervention  in  modern  American  culture.      At  the  same  time,  synthesis   of   the   literature   furnishes   a   working   set   of   definitions   and   terms   specific   to   this   study  and  its  analysis.   In   terms   of   the   legal   and   procedural   aspects   of   the   S.F.   Pavement   to   Parks,   and   Long   Beach   pilot   Parklet   programs,   publicly   accessible   documents   furnished   much   of   the   necessary   information.     With   the   absence   of   a   corollary   program   in   Los   Angeles,   parsing   the   procedural   in   that   city   proved   more   difficult.   Here,   the   researcher   relied   on   close   communication   with   Los   Angeles   officials   to   develop   a   nuanced   understanding   of   the   policies,   structures   and   regulations   in   effect   during   the  study.     Case and Interviewee Selection  

A comprehensive  catalogue  of  projects  was  developed  by  reviewing  popular  

press on  the  programs  in  San  Francisco,  Oakland,  Long  Beach  and  Los  Angeles  (see  

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APPENDIX A).    The  study  then  profiled  a  minimum  of  30%  of  cases  in  each  city  in   order  to  develop  representative  findings  for  each  city.    

While developing   a   catalogue   of   projects,   the   popular   press   review   also  

identified individual   and   group   stakeholders   associated   with   each   city’s   program   and  its  cases.    At  this  stage,  it  became  apparent  that  stakeholders  across  all  cases  fell   naturally   within   groupings   indicative   of   their   roles   in   the   broader   Heuristic   Urbanism  movement  (see  Figure  2).  The  study  then  targeted  at  least  one  individual   from  each  stakeholder  group  for  every  case  profiled.    With  the  Government  group,   the  methodology  attempted  to  triangulate:   •

Government –  City  Departments  and  Staffers;  Elected  and  Appointed  Officials  

Private Partners  –  Businesses;  Parklet  and  Plaza  sponsors  

Community Partners  –  Local  Non-­‐profits,  Neighborhood  Groups,  Homeowner   Associations  

Designers –   Architects,   Landscape   Architects,   Landscape   Designers,   plant   experts  

Users –   Pedestrians   and/or   Parklet   Users;   Residents,   Neighbors,   Shoppers   and  Commuters   A  total  of  29  cases  were  profiled  through  interviews.  In  the  case  of  Oakland,  

which had  neither  Parklets  nor  Pedestrian  Plazas  installed  during  the  course  of  this   study,  the  General  Public  stakeholder  group  is  not  counted.  

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Interviews and Surveys A total   of   68   interviews   of   individual   stakeholders   were   administered   between   July   2011   and   May   2012.     When   possible,   interviews   were   conducted   in   person;  while  most  were  administered  over  the  phone  by  appointment.    Interviews   lasted  between  10  minutes  and  1  hour  36  minutes.    In  most  cases,  the  interview  was   audio-­‐recorded,  with  the  interviewee  granting  consent  verbally  before  the  recording   began.     All   audio-­‐recorded   interviewees   were   offered   electronic   copies   of   the   recorded  conversation.   Throughout   narrative   development   of   the   thesis   itself,   the   researcher   kept   in   communication   with   interviewees   to   follow   up   on   issues   and   questions   which   emerged   as   the   study   progressed.     Key   interviewees   were   asked   to   review   and   comment   on   both   the   narrative   and   flow   chart   diagrams   presented   here   in   their   final  form.  

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APPENDIX B  –  Catalogue  of  Interviews  

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Table 3:  Catalogue  of  Interviews  

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Table 3    (Continued):    Catalogue  of  Interviews  


APPENDIX C  –  Catalogue  of  Cases       This   thesis   examines   four   cities   with   initiatives   that   parallel   those   in   New   York  City.      They  are  presented  order  of  their  relative  development:   1. The  City  and  County  of  San  Francisco   2. The  City  of  Long  Beach   3. The  City  of  Oakland   4. The  City  of  Los  Angeles  

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Table 4:  Catalogue  of  Cases,  City  of  San  Francisco    

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Table 4  (Continued):    Catalogue  of  Cases,  City  of  San  Francisco  

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Table 5:  Catalogue  of  Cases,  City  of  Long  Beach  

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Table 6:  Catalogue  of  Cases,  City  of  Oakland  

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Table 6  (Continued):    Catalogue  of  Cases,  City  of  Oakland  

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Table 7:  Catalogue  of  Cases:    City  of  Los  Angeles  

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


APPENDIX D  –  Interview  Tools  

The following  sets  of  questions  were  used  to  guide  interviews  with  individuals  in   four  stakeholder  groups.       • Government  –  City  Departments  and  Staffers;  Elected  and  Appointed  Officials   • Private  Partners  –  Businesses;  Parklet  and  Plaza  sponsors   • Community  Partners  –  Local  Non-­‐profits,  Neighborhood  Groups,  Homeowner   Associations   • Designers  –  Architects,  Landscape  Architects,  Landscape  Designers,  plant   experts  

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


Interview Tool – Government Stakeholders

1. 2.

How did  the  [Parklet  and/or  Pedestrian  Plaza]  movement  become  initiated  in  [your  city]?   How  do  these  [Parklet  and/or  Pedestrian  Plaza]  projects  impact  their  neighborhoods?    The   City?  

3.   4.

Who are  the  key  individuals,  groups,  and  agencies  within  the  city  government  critical  to   this/these  projects/program?   Can  you  describe  the  collaboration  that  you  created  between  agencies?  Pavement  to  Parks   Program?  


Are there  any  other  individuals,  or  organizations  outside  of  city  government  own  who  were   instrumental  in  the  [initiative]?  


Can you  describe  the  process  of  creating  the  pilot  [project  /  program]?    How  might  the   permitting  process  evolve?  


Please describe  the  process  of  creating  the  permanent  [program/permit/ordinance].  


Are the  [projects  and/or  programs]  fully  accessible  to  the  public?    Why?  


How might  the  [permit  and/or  program]  evolve  to  address  emerging  issues  between  public  and   private  interests?    How  might  design  specs  or  parameters  evolve  to  address  the  privacy   question?    (Offsets,  chains)?  


10. One  of  the  best  characteristics  of  the  Parklet  type  is  its  experimental  nature;  semi-­permanence   and  flexibility.    Can  you  comment  on  this?     11. What  is  the  average  project  budget?     12. Many  [Parklet  and/or  Pedestrian  Plazas]  are  designed  pro-­bono.    Can  you  comment  on  this?     13. How  are  maintenance,  insurance  and  liability  arranged  for  the  projects?       14. What  are  the  long-­term  intentions  of  the  [pilot  or  permanent]  [project  and/or  program]?    How   do  these  fit  within  the  larger  planning  context  for  your  city?       15. What  kind  of  monitoring  and  evaluation  mechanisms  are  currently  in  place  for  [projects   and/or  programs].    If  not,  what  kinds  of  studies  are  you  interested  in  undertaking?    What  kind   of  data  are  you  interested  in  gathering;  dimensions  to  measure?     16. In  terms  of  the  questions  discussed  previously,  how  would  you  advise  staffers  in  other  cities  who   are  interested  in  creating  [pilot  or  permanent]  [projects  and/or  programs]  in  their  own   communities?      

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


17. On a  scale  of  1  to  5  –  with    1  being  the  least  critical  and  5  being  the  most  critical  –  how  would   you  rate  the  participation  of  the  following  groups?    You  may  give  the  same  number  to  more   than  one  group  if  you  feel  its  appropriate.    If  there  are  specific  departments  or  organizations,   please  write  them  in:       ___  City  Planning  /  Public  Works                     ___  Nonprofit  /  Community  Groups                 ___  Designers  /  Landscape  Architects  /  Architects               ___  Private  Entities  /  Businesses                   ___  The  General  Public  /  Residents  /  Neighbors               18. On  a  scale  of  1  to  5  –  with    1  being  the  least  critical  and  5  being  the  most  critical  –  how  would   you  rank  the  participation  of  the  following  groups?    Each  must  have  a  different  number:     ___  City  Planning  /  Public  Works   ___  Nonprofit  /  Community  Groups   ___  Designers  /  Landscape  Architects  /  Architects   ___  Private  Entities  /  Businesses   ___  The  General  Public  /  Residents  /  Neighbors  

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


Interview Tool –Private Partners

Name:   Group:    










Address:                   Fax:        Email:         Phone:           Project(s):                       Project  Budget:   $       Since  this  project  was  installed,  safety  on  the  street  has:     (Greatly  Improved)   1   2   3   4   5   (Greatly  Worsened)     I  define  safety  as                           Since  this  project  was  installed,  the  feeling  of  comfort  on  the  street  is     (Greatly  Improved)   1   2   3   4   5   (Greatly  Worsened)     I  define  comfort  as                         Since  this  project  was  installed,  the  atmosphere  or  environment  of  the  street  is     (Greatly  Improved)   1   2   3   4   5   (Greatly  Worsened)     I  define  atmosphere  as                         Since  with  project  was  installed,  my  desire  or  ability  to  interact  with  people  is     (Greatly  Improved)   1   2   3   4   5   (Greatly  Worsened)     How  So?                           Since  this  project  was  installed,  Business  Activity  in  the  areas  is     (Greatly  Improved)   1   2   3   4   5   (Greatly  Worsened)     How  so?                                

Abad Ocubillo  2012  








I believe  that  this  project  should     1) become  permanent     2) become  permanent,  with  some  improvements  and  changes   3) maybe  become  permanent,  after  a  some  more  monitoring   4) remain  temporary     5)        be  taken  out  as  at  once       Why?¨                           Who  are  1-­‐2  key  people  or  groups  outside  your  organization  that  helped  to  implement  this  project  /   these  projects?  









  What  was  the  most  challenging  aspect  of  this  project?    Why?  


















  On  a  scale  of  1  to  5  –  with    1  being  the  least  critical  and  5  being  the  most  critical  –  how  would  you  rate   the  participation  of  the  following  groups?    You  may  give  the  same  number  to  more  than  one  group  if   you  feel  its  appropriate.    If  there  are  specific  departments  or  organizations,  please  write  them  in:       ___  City  Planning  /  Public  Works                     ___  Nonprofit  /  Community  Groups                 ___  Designers  /  Landscape  Architects  /  Architects               ___  Private  Entities  /  Businesses                   ___  The  General  Public  /  Residents  /  Neighbors                 Which  person  or  group  presented  the  greatest  challenge  to  the  project?    Why?  





















  How  can  this  project  /  process  be  improved?  




Abad Ocubillo  2012  





On a  scale  of  1  to  5  –  with    1  being  the  least  critical  and  5  being  the  most  critical  –  how  would  you   rank  the  participation  of  the  following  groups?    Each  must  have  a  different  number:     ___  City  Planning  /  Public  Works   ___  Nonprofit  /  Community  Groups   ___  Designers  /  Landscape  Architects  /  Architects   ___  Private  Entities  /  Businesses   ___  The  General  Public  /  Residents  /  Neighbors       Additional  Comments:  

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


Interview Tool –Community Partners

Name:   Group:    










Address:                   Fax:        Email:         Phone:           Project(s):                       Project  Budget:   $       Since  this  project  was  installed,  safety  on  the  street  has:     (Greatly  Improved)   1   2   3   4   5   (Greatly  Worsened)     I  define  safety  as                           Since  this  project  was  installed,  the  feeling  of  comfort  on  the  street  is     (Greatly  Improved)   1   2   3   4   5   (Greatly  Worsened)     I  define  comfort  as                         Since  this  project  was  installed,  the  atmosphere  or  environment  of  the  street  is     (Greatly  Improved)   1   2   3   4   5   (Greatly  Worsened)     I  define  atmosphere  as                         Since  with  project  was  installed,  my  desire  or  ability  to  interact  with  people  is     (Greatly  Improved)   1   2   3   4   5   (Greatly  Worsened)     How  So?                           Since  this  project  was  installed,  Business  Activity  in  the  areas  is     (Greatly  Improved)   1   2   3   4   5   (Greatly  Worsened)     How  so?                                

Abad Ocubillo  2012  








I believe  that  this  project  should     1) become  permanent     2) become  permanent,  with  some  improvements  and  changes   3) maybe  become  permanent,  after  a  some  more  monitoring   4) remain  temporary     5)        be  taken  out  as  at  once       Why?¨                           Who  are  1-­‐2  key  people  or  groups  outside  your  organization  that  helped  to  implement  this  project  /   these  projects?  









  What  was  the  most  challenging  aspect  of  this  project?    Why?  


















  On  a  scale  of  1  to  5  –  with    1  being  the  least  critical  and  5  being  the  most  critical  –  how  would  you  rate   the  participation  of  the  following  groups?    You  may  give  the  same  number  to  more  than  one  group  if   you  feel  its  appropriate.    If  there  are  specific  departments  or  organizations,  please  write  them  in:       ___  City  Planning  /  Public  Works                     ___  Nonprofit  /  Community  Groups                 ___  Designers  /  Landscape  Architects  /  Architects               ___  Private  Entities  /  Businesses                   ___  The  General  Public  /  Residents  /  Neighbors                 Which  person  or  group  presented  the  greatest  challenge  to  the  project?    Why?  





















  How  can  this  project  /  process  be  improved?  




Abad Ocubillo  2012  





On a  scale  of  1  to  5  –  with    1  being  the  least  critical  and  5  being  the  most  critical  –  how  would  you   rank  the  participation  of  the  following  groups?    Each  must  have  a  different  number:     ___  City  Planning  /  Public  Works   ___  Nonprofit  /  Community  Groups   ___  Designers  /  Landscape  Architects  /  Architects   ___  Private  Entities  /  Businesses   ___  The  General  Public  /  Residents  /  Neighbors       Additional  Comments:  

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


Interview Tool – Designers

Name:   Group:    





Address:       Fax:   Phone:           Project(s):           Project  Budget:   $       How  does  your  firm  select  projects  to  pursue?      


























  What  percentage  of  your  firm’s  work  is  comprised  of  design  in  the  public  realm  (streetscapes,  pocket   parks,  interventions  in  the  auto  right-­‐of-­‐way)?      Pro  Bono?  












  How  much  of  your  future  work  do  you  anticipate  will  constitute  similar  projects?    Why?  






  How  were  you  selected  for  this  project?  
























  Who  from  you  staff  were  on  the  project  team,  and  what  are  their  backgrounds  (Industrial  Design,   Architecture,  Landscape  Architecture,  Planning,  Engineering,  etc)?  




Abad Ocubillo  2012  












Who are  1-­‐2  key  people  or  groups  outside  your  organization  that  helped  to  implement  this  project  /   these  projects?  









  What  was  the  most  challenging  aspect  of  this  project?    Why?  


















On  a  scale  of  1  to  5  –  with    1  being  the  least  critical  and  5  being  the  most  critical  –  how  would  you  rate   the  participation  of  the  following  groups?    You  may  give  the  same  number  to  more  than  one  group  if   you  feel  its  appropriate.    If  there  are  specific  departments  or  organizations,  please  write  them  in:       ___  City  Planning  /  Public  Works                     ___  Nonprofit  /  Community  Groups                 ___  Designers  /  Landscape  Architects  /  Architects               ___  Private  Entities  /  Businesses                   ___  The  General  Public  /  Residents  /  Neighbors                 Which  person  or  group  presented  the  greatest  challenge  to  the  project?    Why?  







  How  can  this  project  /  process  be  improved?  





















On  a  scale  of  1  to  5  –  with    1  being  the  least  critical  and  5  being  the  most  critical  –  how  would  you   rank  the  participation  of  the  following  groups?    Each  must  have  a  different  number:     ___  City  Planning  /  Public  Works   ___  Nonprofit  /  Community  Groups   ___  Designers  /  Landscape  Architects  /  Architects   ___  Private  Entities  /  Businesses   ___  The  General  Public  /  Residents  /  Neighbors    

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


Interview Tool – Advocates / Community Partners

Name:   Group:    










Address:                   Fax:        Email:         Phone:           Project(s):                       Project  Budget:   $       Since  this  project  was  installed,  safety  on  the  street  has:     (Greatly  Improved)   1   2   3   4   5   (Greatly  Worsened)     I  define  safety  as                           Since  this  project  was  installed,  the  feeling  of  comfort  on  the  street  is     (Greatly  Improved)   1   2   3   4   5   (Greatly  Worsened)     I  define  comfort  as                         Since  this  project  was  installed,  the  atmosphere  or  environment  of  the  street  is     (Greatly  Improved)   1   2   3   4   5   (Greatly  Worsened)     I  define  atmosphere  as                         Since  with  project  was  installed,  my  desire  or  ability  to  interact  with  people  is     (Greatly  Improved)   1   2   3   4   5   (Greatly  Worsened)     How  So?                           Since  this  project  was  installed,  Business  Activity  in  the  areas  is     (Greatly  Improved)   1   2   3   4   5   (Greatly  Worsened)     How  so?                                

Abad Ocubillo  2012  








I believe  that  this  project  should     5) become  permanent     6) become  permanent,  with  some  improvements  and  changes   7) maybe  become  permanent,  after  a  some  more  monitoring   8) remain  temporary     5)        be  taken  out  as  at  once       Why?¨                           Who  are  1-­‐2  key  people  or  groups  outside  your  organization  that  helped  to  implement  this  project  /   these  projects?  









  What  was  the  most  challenging  aspect  of  this  project?    Why?  


















  On  a  scale  of  1  to  5  –  with    1  being  the  least  critical  and  5  being  the  most  critical  –  how  would  you  rate   the  participation  of  the  following  groups?    You  may  give  the  same  number  to  more  than  one  group  if   you  feel  its  appropriate.    If  there  are  specific  departments  or  organizations,  please  write  them  in:       ___  City  Planning  /  Public  Works                     ___  Nonprofit  /  Community  Groups                 ___  Designers  /  Landscape  Architects  /  Architects               ___  Private  Entities  /  Businesses                   ___  The  General  Public  /  Residents  /  Neighbors                 Which  person  or  group  presented  the  greatest  challenge  to  the  project?    Why?  





















  How  can  this  project  /  process  be  improved?  




Abad Ocubillo  2012  





On a  scale  of  1  to  5  –  with    1  being  the  least  critical  and  5  being  the  most  critical  –  how  would  you   rank  the  participation  of  the  following  groups?    Each  must  have  a  different  number:     ___  City  Planning  /  Public  Works   ___  Nonprofit  /  Community  Groups   ___  Designers  /  Landscape  Architects  /  Architects   ___  Private  Entities  /  Businesses   ___  The  General  Public  /  Residents  /  Neighbors       Additional  Comments:  

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


APPENDIX E  –  Human  Subjects  Review  Exemption  /  Approval  Letter    

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


Abad Ocubillo  2012  


APPENDIX F  –  Parklet  Permitting  Flow  Charts       The  following  charts  illustrate  how  a  Parklet  permit  application  moves  through  the   process  of  approval  in  three  cities  which  currently  have  a  program  in  place.    These   processes  are  subject  to  adjustment  and  modification  by  their  respective  cities.    The   diagrams   presented   here   only   reflect   what   was   described   by   stakeholders   in   interviews;  most  of  which  were  conducted  between  July  2011  and  April  2012.    The   three  cities  presented  in  this  APPENDIX  are:   1. The  City  of  San  Francisco   2. The  City  of  Long  Beach   3. The  City  of  Oakland        

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


Figure 51:  Parklet  Implementation  Process,  City  of  San  Francisco  

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


Figure 52:    Parklet  Implementation  Process,  City  of  Long  Beach  

Abad Ocubillo  2012  


Abad Ocubillo  2012  

Figure 53:    Parklet  Implementation  Process,  City  of  Oakland  


Experimenting With the Margin: Parklets and Plazas as Catalysts in Community and Government  

CITATION: Abad Ocubillo, Robin (2012). Experimenting with the Margin: Parklets and Plazas as Catalysts in Community and Government (gradua...

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