Urban Design Project
Yerba Buena Gardens
One of my favorite small scale Urban Design Projects has to be Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. I have never utilized any of the commercial elements of Yerba Buena Gardens, but have frequented the versatile outdoor space for group meetings, on a date night, and killing time while I’m on my own- it is my favorite spot in the city.
This garden sits on two blocks of public park with ample green space, outdoor activities, seating, and a water monument. Composed of many levels, the Yerba Buena Gardens sits as an oasis of open space of relaxation in the hustle and bustle of the city without disrupting the urban fabric. Professor Renee Chow described the urban fabric, now called urban fields as on of the many elements of urban design. Other key concepts Professor Chow defined were urban design making you feel like you are on the “inside” and being able to recognize where you are and where you move. There is nothing left over or wasted, which we see in the Yerba Buena configuration. When I am at this park I feel well enclosed by the city, yet there are no clear boundaries.
The impact of this project spreads beyond the block by providing a gathering place and recreation amongst the densely developed SF landscape. This project helps define the city without being overbearingly iconic or fragmented. Instead, you are surrounded by the diverse skyline of San Francisco and immersed in the sights and sounds. This concept of open space, public gathering, and showcasing of art transcends the borders of Yerba Buena Park by influencing other narrow corridors, squares, and nooks in the surrounding bustling areas.
Professor Renee Chow- Environmental Design 4B Lecture, UC Berkeley, February 14 2016