Public Space Stewardship Guide

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Executive Summary

Since 2008, SF Planning, SF Public Works, OEWD and the SFMTA have created dozens of new public spaces with local community groups, small businesses and neighborhood residents. With the Mayor’s 2014 SF Plaza Program, San Franciscans now, more than ever, can utilize best practices and guidance from experts in making public spaces successful. This stewardship toolkit begins to fill that need. It provides community organizations and City decision makers with models, case studies and ready-to-use tools for funding, programming and maintaining a successful public space.

The toolkit presents five models for sustainable public space stewardship; Event-Based Models, Grassroots Partnerships, Public/Private Partnerships, Self-Governing Special Assessment Districts, and Maintenance/Technical Assistance Partnerships. Each chapter introduces a model in general terms, provides an illustrative case study in detail, and includes additional examples. The models provide a helpful framework for understanding each project, but many case studies integrate more than one model. Each case study has strengths and weaknesses unique to the objectives, funding and capacity of the stewarding organization or partnership. Case studies were selected to represent a range of organizations, space types, “use levels,” and budgets.

The appendices in the document provide readyto-use tools, including a recommended outline for a public space management plan, maintenance plan templates, and a guide to funding sources which references additional case studies.

This document is just a starting point. The practical information which follows is based on success stories in San Francisco and throughout the country, but is by no means complete. As public realm planning evolves, we hope that community organizations and cities worldwide contribute public space success stories to this site.