Willie ‘Woo Woo’ Wong Park and Playground

San Francisco, CA

Renovation of an historical public open space in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown - one of the nation’s most densely populated urban areas.

Willie ‘Woo Woo’ Wong Park and Playground is one of Chinatown’s few historic, significant outdoor spaces. As the only park in the neighborhood for active outdoor recreation, it is used by Chinatown residents of all ages. This beloved open space—today named for a Chinese-American, University of San Francisco basketball star—has served the Chinatown community since 1927.

In collaboration with San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, CMG engaged the community through a series of multi-lingual intercept surveys, public workshops, focus groups and meetings with local organizations. Respecting the original park’s goals and honoring the community’s needs, the design prioritizes flexible, multi-use play and connected circulation of its multiple levels to create a large outdoor space in the urban district.  The space spans 40’ vertical feet of grade change, and consists of three levels – an upper court, middle playground, and lower clubhouse – bound by tall buildings. The park celebrates its history with the restored Pagoda and preserved murals, while providing more opportunities for recreation with dragon and phoenix play structures, new bridges and walkways, a renovated clubhouse, and a rooftop basketball court.

Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Playground is one of fifteen parks included in the capital improvement program funded by 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond. The Park and Playground opened in celebration of the 2021 Lunar New Year.