Linden Living Alley

In 2005, San Francisco-based architects David Winslow and Loring Sagan proposed turning a portion Linden Street into a “living alley”. Both men have their offices on Linden Street and wanted to see their uninviting “back street” become an “outdoor living room”.

After a lengthy citizen-driven, city-supported effort, the dream of a living alley on Linden Street was finally realized in 2010. The transformation required removal of three car parking spaces and roadway narrowing. The road was tabled to the same level as the sidewalk, and the sidewalks were landscaped and widened. The capital improvements cost just under $300,000. The project was possible with funding through a Community Challenge Grant from the City of San Francisco, the donation of pro bono services from architecture and design studios, and donations from adjacent property and business owners. Fundraising for the capital upgrades was conducted with a short-term fiscal sponsorship arrangement from the SFPA’s Park Partners program.

With the transformation complete, Linden Living Alley is now an inviting pedestrian-oriented space. A group of community members and adjacent building owners hold a city permit which obligates them to conduct certain maintenance routines, such as watering plants and clearing trash. As a function of this permit, this group also pays an annual premium for liability insurance, which is required because the revised street segment design deviates from city standards.


San Francisco, CA

Lead Org/s

Informal grassroots group with project-based fiscal sponsorship from SFPA

Cost to set-up/create


Manager resource level