Play Streets

Project of the Week 

Repurposing streets for play!

A Play Street is a city street temporarily closed to traffic to provide a safe place for children, their families, and neighbors to come together and play outside. These events build local community and make use of public space in areas where parks may be limited. Play Streets is launching with a pilot program in 2017, featuring a series of Play Streets hosted by local organizations. CMG teamed with local fabricator One Hat One Hand to design and build a play street kit prototype which would provide a variety of play equipment and toys to a Play Street event.  The kit prototype included a batch of boxes, which when not storing play equipment become instruments for play themselves, as well as a custom trailer to deliver the boxes to various Play Street events.

The official Play Streets program will launch in 2018.

Read more on Play Streets here!




ASLA Diversity Summit 2017

We're proud to have a staff member participating in this summit!

The ASLA Diversity SuperSummit was held this year, culminating a five (5) year series of summits which focused on under-representation within the Landscape Architecture profession. With the hiring of a new Career Discovery + Diversity Manager, the ASLA is hopeful that the next few years of summits will be fruitful in terms of developing better strategies to keep up with the changing demographics of the nation.

Read more about the Diversity Summit here.

CMG’s Alexandra Zahn Awarded Honorable Mention in PennDesign’s ‘LA+ Imagination’ Design Ideas Competition

Alexandra's SOLARberg entry recently won honorable mention in PennDesign's 'LA+ IMAGINATION' island idea competition. Out of 180 entries, of up to 3 people per team, there were 5 winners and 10 honorable mentions. Alexandra's entry was one submitted as a single participant.
Congratulations Alexandra! 

"SOLARberg is an inflatable, modular solar still that passively generates fresh, clean water by replicating the way nature makes rain. The water is then pumped inland using wave energy, negating the need for electricity. With the ability to harvest the freshwater we are losing due to melting glaciers, and with enough of these solar still modulars (roughly the size of the Great Barrier Reef), SOLARberg’s have the capacity to harvest enough water to lower sea levels 3 feet over 100 years."



Many thanks to the LA+ publication team, PennDesign, and the jury: James Corner Marion Weiss, Javier Arpa, Mathew Gandy, Mark Kingwell, and Richard Weller.

Read more about the competition winners here.

Read more about the honorable mentions here.

1629 Market Street

Project of the Week

Spanning a full city block, this project’s goal is to help revitalize the neighborhood’s public realm by re-knitting the site into its surrounding context and creating active street edges.  The project will bring about 20,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space that will include a central plaza, mid-block pedestrian mews, a children's playground, and "porch" that will offer prospect over the park. 

Read more about 1629 Market in The Architect's Newspaper

1629 Market Site Plan

Bay Meadows Town Square

Bay Meadows Town Square “reflects” the newly completed open spaces where you can swing at the Porch, stroll at the Promenade, and throw back at the Front Yard.  

These spaces are all part of Bay Meadow's Delaware Social Street, where the opportunity for social gathering and community activity is harnessed through food, dining, and recreation. Anchored by the Town Square on one end, the length of the street is programmed at its edges by an event lawn, swing garden, ice cream stand, fitness lot, ping-pong park, bocce courts, tetherball park, volleyball, barbecue court, and the new Fieldwork Brewing Company beer garden.

Read about Bay Meadows Town Square at Eater San Francisco

CMG’s Leadership is Growing

We are excited to announce the promotion of Jamie Phillips, PLA, to Principal and Jennifer Ng, LEED AP, to Associate!

Jamie joined CMG in 2007 and has contributed tremendously to the firm through her project roles and firm initiatives. She has led many of the firm’s largest, most complex projects. Recent and ongoing projects include The Shipyard at Hunters Point, Moscone Center Expansion Public Realm, Marin Country Day School, and Yerba Buena Island Habitat Management Plan. In addition to her project work, Jamie is a leader in the cultural environment of the office and has a strong desire to help others improve and succeed. She believes design has a social and environmental responsibility and enjoys projects with a defined and engaged community where her work contributes to the many rather than a few.

Jennifer Ng joined CMG in 2011 and is a community interest designer who sees landscape architecture as a series of opportunities to inspire people to be stewards of the environment. To her, the most successful and inspiring places are those that balance design for art, design for nature, and design for people. Her projects include Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Playground in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Crissy Field Refresh Plan, and The Shipyard at Hunters Point.  As a creative complement to her practice, Jennifer has taught landscape architecture studios at UC Berkeley’s Extension and the energy of her classes feeds her enthusiasm for practice.

Join Haley at SPUR San Jose

What's Next for St. James Park?


SPUR San Jose Event, June 20, 2017 at 12:30 p.m. 

Join CMG's Haley Waterson along with Marybeth Harasz, San Jose Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services, and Scott Knies, San Jose Downtown Association for an update on the progress of St. James Park where we'll learn what we can expect from this next evolution of downtown San Jose!  

Event details can be found at:


Will the Smart City be So Smart?

Or as Shannon Mattern puts it, “A City is Not a Computer”


By Chris Guillard 


I’d like to share what I think is a very thoughtful piece by Shannon Mattern in Places Journal.  I’m sending it on with a preface because I’ve been thinking along the same lines and I imagine many of you have as well.  To those of us who have made cities and their complexity and beauty central to our work the title of the article should come as no surprise.  Nonetheless, the article raises a critical path of inquiry, experimentation, and debate. The arc of this discussion will inevitably trace the course of much broader societal and techno-economic shifts that will continue to evolve with the convergence of hyper-capitalism, computing/networks, and cities.

Computer City

Computer City – Dennis Crompton – 1954

I moved to the Bay Area because I was inspired by what I envisioned as a unique mixture of social, cultural, environmental, and political awareness and activism coupled with technological innovation.   Ok, yeah there was the incredible beauty of the place and the promise of getting pretty much as far west as possible. The amazing thing is that my intuition hasn’t fallen short!  I’ve been moved, inspired and enlightened by the confluence of people and ideas that have defined my life here over the past 20+ years.  But as of late, I have to admit that the predominance of the technological and capitalistic culture and the essentially singular idea of technology (no pun intended) has shadowed and clouded my view.   While I agree that there is ample room for innovation and yes optimization in the way that we conceive of and organize our cities and communities, I have always held that cities are implicitly messy, and for good reason.  In fact, it is messiness that has lent them a unique and uncanny potential to generate new and provocative ideas, to allow for incredible levels of social and cultural cross pollination and in the end a powerful form of understanding.

On another front, the idea that one can simply go off and create ideal forms of habitation that generate wonderful new models for cities around the world is as alluring and illusive as it has always been; think of the Garden City Movement or Ville Radieuse.   I have a strong utopian strain of my own, but I can’t help but recognize the hubris and similarity between these earlier speculations and  the Y Combinator New City Project, Alphabet’s Flow initiative or the Seasteading movement.  Yes they are compelling and could be transformative, but are they really relevant to a community of 7 billion and growing?   Are idealized and absurdly disconnected alterna-realities truly the epidemic of our time?  Are these not similar to previous utopian endeavors that sought to inure and enlighten us?   Don’t get me wrong, we live in an era that requires bold imagination, leadership and experimentation, but we also need to ask a few simple questions; who will own and operate these cities and infrastructures;  who will govern them; who will define their citizenship?  Will they be open source or proprietary and closed environments?  Interesting times and interesting questions!

Lagos - Streetlife

Lagos – Streetlife

All of us are aware of the relative stasis that has defined urbanization over the last half century and I applaud and support the initiatives that entrepreneur’s and technologist's bring to the question of how we occupy the planet and design the environment.  On the other hand, I’m not in any way confident that the KPI’s, the optimizations, the flows, or the algorithms that capitalist technologists devise will significantly improve our cities or our communities in the deepest and most fundamental ways.   Particularly if they fail to acknowledge the social, political and economic complexity of community and the innovations that are required to change the way we organize and share resources, the way that we create space for economic and  cultural exchange and the ways that we mend and tend to past injustices.  While I welcome and look forward to working with those who bring a fresh perspective, I am emphatic in my belief that what we really need are political and social innovations that are rooted in community.  Otherwise, technology based efforts to optimize the city will continue to benefit primarily those with privilege and affluence.   

Garden City

Garden City – Ebenezer Howard


Seasteading Concept

Seasteading Concept – Seasteading Institute

So with that windy rant of an intro, I will note that Shannon Mattern’s article is a compelling survey  with insightful observations about the relationship between information and urbanism among other topics.  I share her concluding observation that,City-making is always, simultaneously, an enactment of city-knowing — which cannot be reduced to computation.”  The essay definitely has an academic bent … but if you made it this far you should find it interesting.


CMG and Treasure Island Community Development Awarded Bay Bridge Steel

“On January 17th, the Oakland Museum of California announced that a total of 15 artists, designers, and design firms have been awarded steel from the demolition of the Eastern span of the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge for use in public projects throughout the state of California …”  (OMCA Press Release)


CMG/TICD’s winning submission “The Field”, proposes an installation on the newly redeveloped Treasure Island that will celebrate the grand scale of the Bay Bridge and the majestic and heroic engineering that went into its design. Located in a future shoreline park, the installation highlights the sheer length and thickness of the 'eye bars' from the bridge, whose placement in a tight array reminds visitors of the unprecedented scale of the 1936 East Span. The open eyelets tower fifteen feet above visitors walking below and solemnly pay tribute to their dismantled brethren. The Field creates not only a striking element when viewed from a distance but also produces an incredible, immersive experience for visitors as they weave their way through the steel forest.


Press Release:

The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence


Willett Moss participates on design jury for Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence.


Principal Willett Moss joins a selection committee of six “urban experts” from the public and private sectors including a mayor, participant from a past winning project, and others with expertise in design and planning, development and financing, community engagement, and journalism.


The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence is a national design award that recognizes transformative urban places distinguished by their economic and social contributions to America’s cities. The award is named in honor of Rudy Bruner, who established the Bruner Foundation in 1963 and had a life-long interest in architecture and cities.