Yerba Buena Streetlife Plan

San Francisco, CA

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Image credit: Julio Duffoo

An Adaptable Public Realm Improvements Framework

Funded by a community benefit district, the Yerba Buena Streetlife Plan serves as a map for future public realm improvements within the Yerba Buena District. The historically industrial neighborhood is home to broad transportation-oriented streets and banal streetscapes that neglect human scale walkability and networks, simultaneously the district has turned into one of the most enterprising neighborhoods, at the epicenter of the tech-centric downtown. The district boasts institutions such as the SFMOMA, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Moscone Convention Center, and Metreon and Westfield Malls. CMG is proud to be a consultant and partner to the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District for this ongoing work – we are continually inspired as we express care through craft and watch as the community takes ownership over their streetlife.

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CMG established the groundwork by evaluating existing conditions: neighborhood identity, pedestrian experience, safety, social activity, use of alleys, and physical attributes such as street trees. Community meetings focused on defining characteristics of a good public realm and, based on these values, identified challenges and opportunities. The resulting projects range from small-scale improvements and district-wide strategies, to major open space proposals, all of which can be implemented independently, and were vetted by the community. The process and Plan has established a model for community improvement that can be replicated by other professionals, neighborhoods and benefit districts.

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The initiative impact was immediate; altering the streetscape as soon as it was released to several City of San Francisco Agencies. Projects were legitimized and easily assessable since they were folded into the City’s long-term planning and EIR assessment for the Central Corridor. Project beyond CMG’s implemented built initiatives have adopted the Yerba Buena Streetlife Plan – using the document as a framework for the neighborhood’s future.