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The People’s Public Works

Rebar proposes a fantastic scheme for “constructively” repurposing a vacant lot in downtown San Francisco.

Rebar was invited by San Francisco Chronicle architecture critic John King to conceptualize an interim use strategy for a large vacant space in downtown San Francisco. The proposal was part of a series in the Chronicle on the question of how to best use “interim” vacant lots in the city, and included several proposals by leading Bay Area designers and architects.

Rebar proposed creating a giant, interactive festival of public works, where citizens could learn how to operate street-building machinery, stripe their own bike lanes or take a ride in a ferris wheel made of meter maid cars. The idea is to celebrate the act of city creation, and to involve everyday people in the process, empowering a new kind of civic activism rooted in public space.

The People’s Public Works is a proposed interim use of the empty lot at 10th and Market Streets, where an “Exploratorium of Infrastructure” will be created with the intent of making infrastructure, and the making of infrastructure, accessible to the general public. Through carnival-like attractions, demonstrations, workshops, and performances, people from all over the city will be drawn into a hands-on exploration of the mechanics of public works, and thereby encouraged to participate directly with the making of public space in their own neighborhoods.

Read more about the San Francisco Chronicle’s project to re-imagine vacant lots.

Date: July, 2009
Location: San Francisco, CA

Growing Home Community Garden
45 Lansing
399 Fremont
Hayes Valley Farm

See also:
“Cities embrace temporary fixes for stalled construction sites”, Los Angeles Times 12/15/2010.
“High rises on hold: What to do with empty lots?” San Francisco Chronicle 7/6/2009.
“Designers who see more than an empty lot”. San Francisco Chronicle 7/7/2009.
“Reimagining Boston’s stalled projects”. Boston Globe 9/20/2009.
“Efforts to turn empty lots into a glass half full”. San Francisco Chronicle 9/3/2009.
“Vegetated states: Growth between booms”. San Francisco Chronicle 7/7/2009