Small Bets for Better Cities
Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

by Becky Morehiser

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi

In between our paying gigs, AC enjoys working on passion projects. Our latest is a documentary film about something called Tactical Urbanism. After decades of sprawl, cities are making a comeback. In the wake of the financial crisis, more and more people are re-evaluating the suburban lifestyle, and discovering a new appreciation for walkable, diverse urban environments. With this “New Urbanism” we are seeing the emergence of a more agile approach to improving cities and neighborhoods from within – aka. Tactical Urbanism. While these tactile methods are not a replacement for long-term strategic planning, they are a way for individuals to take and inspire action, and to serve as catalysts for the change they want to see.

From the Proxy project in Hayes Valley to Oakland’s Popuphood, there are so many great examples of tactics at work here in the Bay Area. It is a big topic. So we have decided to start by exploring the larger trend through the lens of the SF Parklets. We’ll be speaking with a range of folks we think will have unique perspectives on the subject. But since tactical success hinges on local involvement, it feels only natural to start with the people behind individual Parklets.  Here are some of the amazing folks we have met so far, leading the charge for change.

Kevin & Jessica of Siol Studios, creators of The Fillmore Stoop (2410 California Street)


Amandeep at home in Deepistan National Park (937 Valencia St.)


Nick Parker, owner of Mercury Cafe, is currently raising funds for his parklet (201 Octavia Street).


Shannon & Luke of farm:table crowd-funded their parklet (754 Post Street).


Olivia Olipin in the Fabric8 art parklet by Eric Otto (3318 22nd Street)


Roger Farley, founder of Farley’s Coffee, enjoying the view from his Portrero Hill parklet (1315 18th Street).


Architect and environmentalist, Jane Martin, is a leading advocate for a greener, more sustainable urban landscape.