Culmination of Exploratorium and Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco Collaboration Opens to Public March 18
Adam Esposito, © Exploratorium, www.exploratorium.edu
The Ciencia Pública: Agua parklet resides next to Buena Vista Horace Mann School and will be integrated into the school's curriculum.
SAN FRANCISCO (March 17, 2015) – There’s a new parklet in San Francisco’s Mission District – but it probably doesn’t look like what you’d imagine.
Co-developed between the Exploratorium’s Studio for Public Spaces and the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco (BGCSF), the parklet is a culmination of a three-year National Science Foundation project designed to support informal education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) within the local Latino community.
Neighborhood youth from the BGCSF spent two summers working with the Exploratorium to plan the public space. In the process, they developed skills in design and planning, exhibit prototyping, fabrication, and user testing. BGCSF staff served as think partners and advisors on both curriculum creation and the integration of youth development practices into the sessions.
The Ciencia Pública: Agua parklet resides next to Buena Vista Horace Mann School. It tackles the topic of water and sustainable water use through exhibits that include a desalination pump, a rain gauge, and a low-evaporation plant-watering device.
Teachers, parents, and after-school program specialists worked with the parklet team to shape the final plans, allowing the space to become an active part of the school curriculum and the community. Seating and greenery, including food plants free for harvesting, also makes the parklet a comfortable and attractive neighborhood space.
Although the primary deliverables of Ciencia Pública are local, the National Science Foundation is equally concerned with creating a much larger national model for improving Latino access to informal science learning. To that end, the Exploratorium is establishing a more effective and inclusive methodology for science museums nationwide to play a larger civic role in their communities.
While Latinos constitute the largest minority group in the United States, they remain underserved by STEM learning experiences and under-represented in STEM careers. The Exploratorium’s Studio for Public Spaces is committed to reaching these underserved audiences by partnering with key community based organizations, city planning agencies, and private developers to fully utilize public spaces so that communities can thrive.
Interviews with Exploratorium staff and BGCSF youth who worked on the project are available. Images available here for download.
About the Studio for Public Spaces
The Studio for Public Spaces is based in the Exploratorium and works in the public realm to create exhibits and environments that encourage play, exploration, creativity, and social connection.
About the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco
Part of the community since 1891, BGCSF’s mission is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. BGCSF currently serves more than 1,400 youth (ages six to 18) each day at eight Clubhouses, one extension site, and two school-based sites located in the neighborhoods with the fewest resources. Plus, Camp Mendocino – BGCSF’s residential summer camp in Mendocino County – serves 1,600 youth each summer during 10-day sessions. Clubs are open when kids need services most – after school, on school holidays and during the summer. The Clubs offer high quality staff, programs, and facilities in an environment that promotes respect, responsibility and fun. For more information, please visit www.kidsclub.org.