We began the second day of our explorations by looking at North Beach and then trekked into the Richmond.
In North Beach we visited several parklets as well as Washington Square Park. North Beach, by far, had the most populated parklets. Two of the three parklets received a great number of users. Though the parklets still felt largely commercial, the people were eating, talking, and surfing the web. We believe that the large volume of foot traffic in the area and lack of nearby places to sit contributed to their popularity. The main contributor to the 1570 Stockton Street Parklet was the overflow of people from Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. Next we visited Washington Square Park, a small park surrounded by cafes, shops, and a large church. The park was well populated and offered seating and open space for recreation.
Following our quick walk to North Beach, we drove to the Richmond, beginning just west of the Panhandle and continuing towards the beach. Here we quickly realized that we were some of the only visitors to the neighborhood, and that all foot walkers in the area seemed to be local residents. The local residents we spoke with explained that their community is tight knit and knows their neighborhood well. Along the way a few friendly residents didn’t mind showing us around and we were able to peek into a few backyards. We were able to see that the yards were reflective of individual personality, from well manicured oases to overgrown secret gardens. We spent the rest of the afternoon at Golden Gate Park, San Francisco’s largest and most famed park. We walked through the Rose Garden, Conservatory of Flowers, some of the forested open space, and the designed plaza connecting the de Young Museum and California Academy of Sciences. Unlike the surrounding neighborhood, Golden Gate Park was clearly a tourist destination. This was capitalized upon with food carts, segway tours, and bike rentals. The park was full of all sorts of people and it was nice to see art, landscape design, and commerce functioning together in one continuous open space.
Over the course of two days, we feel that we were able to see a broad spectrum of San Francisco’s open space and can now narrow the focus of the project. We gained a better understanding of local community culture and involvement, open space use, and design.