San Francisco's Instant Public Space

The San Francisco Chronicle's John King looks at the city's new public plaza -- a successful "small move" in the face of unrealized "big plans".

"The 7,800-square-foot plaza at 17th and Castro streets offers urbanity at its ad-hoc best- and a reminder that when the aim is to better a city, small moves can be more fruitful than grand schemes.

That's an easy fact to forget in boom times. Look no further than San Francisco's recent past: Skylines were mapped and neighborhoods were rezoned as though the future could be shaped at will. There was planning and posturing aplenty, with drawn-out debates over height limits, cultural diversity, the business mix, you name it.

Then the economic tide went out - fast - leaving empty lots and dashed expectations. Until it returns, all those Big Plans will remain a Big Mirage.

By way of comparison, what's called 17th Street Plaza moved from idea to implementation in a matter of five months and $25,000."

Thanks to ArchNewsNow

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