Market Street Makeover: Prototyping Festival Breathes New Life into SF’s Urban Corridor

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This video brings you inside the Market Street Prototyping Festival where even the most troubled areas of Market Street buzzed with energy day and night.

During the festival Market Street’s sidewalks -- from the waterfront to Hayes Valley -- transformed into a great civic promenade with pick-up games of ping pong, giant chalk boards, massive musical instruments, revolving benches, pop-up gardens, and sound, light-and-motion-activated art installations. These are just a few of the prototypes created by Bay Area artists and makers aimed at getting people to play, explore and engage.

“This festival is absolutely unique“ says Deborah Cullinan, executive director of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. “San Francisco is unique. We’re like the R and D capital for innovation. Wild things happen here.”

Neil Hrushowy, manager of the City Design Group at San Francisco Planning, says, “These prototypes that are most successful according to the community are going to be the ones that are brought forward and incubated through a prototyping 2.0 process where they’ll get access to greater resources to become more substantial and materially sound.”

The end goal is for the most popular prototypes to become part of the upcoming capital rebuild of Market Street in 2018. “I can imagine some permanent installations and some that come out and then go back in and new ones come out,” says Hrushowy. “I think one of the important things we’ve learned through this festival is that constant rejuvenation is something that is attracting people to the space. We always want there to be something new waiting for people.”