Noe Valley Town Square

San Francisco, CA

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Image Credit: Garry Belinsky

A Neighborhood Transformed Through Social Gathering Space

Working in collaboration with Residents of Noe Valley Town Square (RNVTS), San Francisco Neighborhood Parks Council, and Noe Valley Farmers Market, CMG led a community programming and design process—developing a series of alternatives for the transformation of an existing asphalt lot into a vibrant town square. Since 2010, the proposal to establish Noe Valley Town Square evolved through more than four years of co-creation with the additional teamwork of the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department, Supervisor Scott Wiener’s Office, and the San Francisco Parks Alliance (SFPA). The square is designed to be flexible as it is used for many different activities on any given day and throughout the week. The central space is used by and for all Noe Valley neighbors and hosts everything from farmers’ markets to food pantries, music events, neighborhood bingo, exercise classes, cafe seating and senior citizen event.

The impervious asphalt has been replaced—the site, now 93% pervious, can absorb rainwater and urban runoff through native planting and modern permeable pavers. Trellises designed by 450 Architects help frame views in the space—bringing attention to the well-loved existing murals on the adjacent buildings that bookend the square. Tucked behind and next to this trellis is a nature area and small playground with two owl sculptures that were provided with support from the Arts Commission and completed by Wowhaus. Image Credit: Kevin Kelleher + Emily Trinh

The quarter acre piece of land on 24th between Sanchez and Vicksburg streets has been reshaped with the community in mind—the social center of the neighborhood encourages events where residents come together, including live music and political meetups. On Saturdays, the town square plays host to a lively farmers market, dog walkers hang flyers advertising their services on bulletin boards, next to tables of Girl Scouts selling cookies. People sit and talk to each other while they drink coffee. Noe Valley Town Square is a leading example of the continual and growing need for connection in our cities.