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Buchanan Mall - Behind the Scenes

Buchanan Mall - Behind the Scenes

From April to November 2015 the Studio for Public Spaces teamed up with The Trust for Public Land, Green Streets, Citizen Film, and San Francisco Recreation and Park to “activate” the Buchanan Mall, a five block public park in San Francisco’s Western Addition.


The activation was focused on improving safety, connecting all blocks, creating places to gather and socialize, honoring the neighborhood’s history, and telling stories about the community.


The installations included community gardens, benches, story dishes, images, quotes, paintings, pinhole portraits, and chalkboard walls. Consistent lighting, colors, and signage connected the five parks.

Exploratorium volunteers (Herb, Peter, Jim, Ian, Kristoff, Chase, and Bill) logged about 1000 hours on this project.


We used about 126 sheets of plywood cut to strips, glued, and clamped to a jig to make the 58 bent arches.



Green Streets, Community Grows, and local volunteers also helped with the installation and continue to help keep it looking great. The African American Arts and Culture Complex, Ella Hill Hutch Community Center, and Rosa Parks Senior Center are adjacent to Buchanan Mall and provided important project support.


We used 1,392 feet of lights to light up the space at night and visually connect the 5-block park.


The Buchanan Mall Activation opened on November 7, 2015. Mattie Scott got the crowd chanting, "The new Buchanan Mall Y'all!"