John Bela


John is an urban designer and landscape architect focused on public space design. As Rebar founder and principal, John has created some of the group’s most groundbreaking and memorable work such as Park(ing) Day, The Panhandle Bandshell, The Civic Center Victory Garden, Parkcycle Swarm, and others. A pioneer in user-generated urbanism, John has successfully completed many projects that involve radical new formulations of social space. John lectures and teaches worldwide, is a Senior Lecturer at the California College of Arts in San Francisco and a Distinguished Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley. He holds degrees in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design from the University of California, Berkeley; Biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts; and Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. John is a registered Landscape Architect in the state of California.

email: john [at]


Landscape & Urban Design
Capitol Riverfront Streetscape & Public Realm Design Guidelines
Civic Center Victory Garden
Mercado Plaza
1075 Le Conte
Mint Plaza
Treasure Island Master Plan

Public Art
Detour 2012: Design Renegade
Urban Play
Panhandle Bandshell
Central Corridor Public Art Plan

5×5 ArtPlace
Park(ing) Day
Reclaim Market


Speaking Events
“User Generated Urbanism and the Adaptive Metropolis”. Opening remarks at the Adaptive Metropolis Symposium. UC Berkeley. 2013

“Adaptive Metropolis”. Lecture at the ASLA Northern California Chapter at the AIA SF. January 17, 2013

Art and Design in the Public Interest. Detour: Design Renegade Exhibition, Hong Kong. 12/3/2012

(R)evolutionary Parks, The Future of Open Space. Organized by the National Endowment for the Arts at the National Archives, Washington, DC. 1/11/2012

User generated urbanism and the adaptive metropolis. Sustainable City Conference. Chacao, Caracas, Venezuela, Nov. 23, 2011.

Generous Urbanism. Contemporary, Fun and Temporary. Univ. of Copenhagen, Denmark, Oct. 11-16, 2010.

Technocratic City Planning versus user generated urbanism. Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Ecological Urbanism symposium, April 3-5, 2009.

Watch John Bela, Alice Waters, Blair Randal, and Gavin Newsom interviewed by Jamie Durie of The Victory Garden—televisions longest running gardening show—on PBS

2013 Distinguished Lecturer, Dept of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design. UC Berkeley
2009 Visiting Instructor, California College of Arts, Department of Arch. Brave New Ecologies Seminar.
2009 Instructor, Texas A&M College of Architecture’s Artist in Residence Program.
2005 Instructor, Modeling & Analysis of Urban Form, UC Berkeley.
2004 Assistant Teacher, Fundamentals of Landscape Design, UC Berkeley.
2004 Instructor, Environmental Simulation,
UC Berkeley.