The Return of San Francisco’s Privately Owned Public Spaces

In San Francisco, you can find respite from city life in some unexpected places—if you know where to look.

June 26, 2022, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Most people who know San Francisco are familiar with the sprawling Golden Gate Park, an oasis in the densely packed city. 

But, as John King highlights in The San Francisco Chronicle, sprinkled throughout the city you’ll also find small, park-like spaces nestled within private developments. These parks, known as privately owned public spaces (POPOS), were originally part of San Francisco’s 1985 downtown plan, later bolstered by updated regulations in 2012.

During the pandemic, many shut down. “But more and more are reopening, which is as it should be — these are public spaces that developers are required to add to their projects. The best are relaxing and invigorating at once, surprises that help make an area like the Financial District worth exploring even if you aren't heading to your job.”

King highlights 11 POPOS he finds worth exploring, including a space inside a 1908 post office, a 7th floor rooftop park with a climate-controlled lounge, and a tropical oasis with a “treehouse-like mezzanine.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2022 in The San Francisco Chronicle

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