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San Francisco’s POPOS and Parklets

Articles: San Francisco’s POPOS and Parklets

This colorful rooftop garden at Crocker Galleria features quiet seating areas and colorful plantings. Accessible during Galleria hours. Photo: Zann Cannon Goff
It is important to our physical and mental health to spend time outdoors. As cities grow and populations become dense, it’s increasingly important that we find ways to interact with plants and open space. Building new parks in an established city is challenging, so city planners have to get creative to find ways to mandate accessible open space.
Privately Owned Public Open Spaces (POPOS) serve as public parks on private property. Where I live in San Francisco, the skyline is becoming dense with mixed-use construction—retail spaces and/or offices topped by multi-family housing. Recognizing our need for fresh air, city planners require new buildings of this type to incorporate open space that is accessible to the public.
Creativity is borne of necessity, and POPOS are incorporated with clever variety. Some reduce the footprint of the building at ground level to accommodate courtyards and plazas. Some plant small parks or gardens on the property, offset c...

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