DatesApril 9-11 and September 27th-October 25th, 2015
Location: On the north side of Market Street between 6th and 7th.
Schedule: see our events page for a full schedule
Transit: Served by Market Street transit lines, Civic Center BART station
Information: For additional information or press inquiries please refer to our FAQ
Evaluation: Gehl Studio, Vol 1 Makers on Market: Lessons from San Francisco’s Market Street Prototyping Festival

Outpost is a project combining prefabricated architecture and public programming that aims to provoke new ways of envisioning and inhabiting our urban environment. Conceived of as temporary street pavilion system tailored to support community engagement; it is designed to be easily installed, iterated, dismantled, and replicated. The project draws its name from the tradition of outposts as frontiers for new settlements, outliers of established culture, and commissaries for the needs of an emerging community; and brings these functions to our city streets.

Key to the project is its approach to community engagement. Outpost is a full-scale pilot of potential street improvements from infrastructure to programming. It provides the public an experience of these changes in advance of their longer term adoption and becomes a critical step in learning what works and what does not. It also provides the opportunity for the public to participate in the planning process by giving feedback that will shape the future of the street. From re-imagining transit corridors, to planning our shorelines, Outpost has been a critical venue for public engagement.

Structurally, the Outpost is based on a simple prefabricated unit that utilizes a custom-designed universal joint. The system provides for a series of framed boxes to be stacked two units high or extended down the street. Within these boxes, programatic walls are hung that adjust to support an evolving schedule of events, curated for each site. This flexibility allows the Outpost to serve as theater, workshop, library, or info booth when staffed; and park, community-engagement wall, and graphic sign when closed.

Outpost was originally created in April 2015 for the Market Street Prototyping Festival– an event, created by the San Francisco Planning Department in collaboration with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, to “open source” the re-design of San Francisco’s civic spine in advance of its permanent remaking. Selected as Design Captains for the Central Market District, The Studio for Urban Projects created the first version of Outpost in an historically underserved neighborhood; that has the highest number of pedestrian and bicycling deaths in San Francisco; and despite being one of the cities densest residential neighborhoods, offers the least access to open space and other public amenities.

For the Market Street Prototyping Festival, the Studio curated 72 hours of events: provoking new ways to interact with urban nature; enhance the life of the street; serve neighborhood residents; and encourage active transportation. The Outpost was a venue for: on-street radio broadcasts, planting workshops, film screenings, bicycle pit stops, wildlife tours, a nature playground and library. Building on the successes of this first iteration, Outpost was launched again in October 2016 for a month, with a second design that allowed for more extended programming and deepened connections with community partners to co-curate these events. In October 2017, the Outpost will be installed again for the 3-day festival but remain on the street as a two-year installation.

In an overall evaluation of the Outpost, Gehl Studio rated the installation as one of the best performing installation for all of their evaluation criteria including: happiness and well-being, mixing space, execution, longevity, design ideation, social impact and policy and systems. Further, they reported that the Central Market district had the largest relative pedestrian activity during the work week, the largest increase in lingering activity, and the most positive block perception during the festival. As described by Gehl, “The Outpost demonstrated how a considerate marriage of a simple, flexible structure and vibrant programming can transform the sidewalk from a corridor into a destination….With a simple modular structure, potted plants, and a patch of turf, the Outpost provided physical and programmatic bones to make the small stretch of sidewalk a community living room.”

Outpost offers a system with which to engage the public in the broad questions shaping our cities and their potential solutions. It demonstrates a vision of the future while engaging participation and iterative design. Ultimately, it is important that we not only re-imagine the infrastructure of our cities but provide new means for community engagement toward bringing a diversity of perspectives to the table.

Outpost has been created by the Studio for Urban Projects as official design captains of the Market Street Prototyping Festival. Events have been curated by the Studio for Urban Projects in collaboration with the Luggage Store and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. This project is made possible through the generous support of the San Francisco Planning Department, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Knight Foundation, and the Headlands Alumni New Works Program.

Additionally the Studio for Urban Projects would like thank the following individuals and organizations for their help in developing Outpost: Emma-Louise Anderson, Meghan Bartels, Bay Natives, John Bela, Paul Benney, Simon Bertrang, Clare Bierman, Ron Blatman, Peter Brastow, Noah Budnick, California Academy of Sciences, Children In Nature Collaborative, Chris Carlsson, Anna Carollo, Kay Cheng, Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, Deborah Cullinan, Fay Darmawi, Julian Dash, Lindsey Dupler, Exploratorium Cinema Arts Program, Marisha Farnsworth, Jessica Fine, Flatbread Society, Christopher Ford, Amy Franceschini, Kelle Furrier, Gillian Gillett, Matt Gonzales, Kelly Gregory, The Hall, Amber Hasselbring, Kristy Hilands, Neil Hrushowy, Hyphae Design Lab, Amber Hasselbring, Carol High, Kristy Hiland, Neil Hrushowy, Island Press, Jaime Jennings, Packard Jennings, Rebecca Johnson, Kash, Liz Keim, Fritha Knudsen, Jake Levitas, Jessica Look, Luggage Store Gallery, Mike Lydon, Kathleen Maguire, McFadden & Thorpe, Ryan Mesch, Nature in the City, Neighborland, Nerds for Nature, Liam O’Brien, Dan Parham, Joel Pomerantz, Post-Car Travel Agency,  Zach Pine, Prelinger Library, Patrick Race, Damien Raffa, Paul Rauschelbach, Rebeka Rodriguez, Mary Roscoe, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, San Francisco Planning Department, San Francisco Urban Film Festival, Stijn Schiffeleers, Nikita Schoen, Samuel Sharkey, Amara Tabor-Smith, Darryl Smith, Melinda Stone, Michael Swaine, Paisley Schade, Shaping San Francisco, Scott Thorpe, Young Tran, Ken-ichi Ueda, Walk SF, Madalyn Watkins,  Carolee Wheeler, Kelly Yon, YBike, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Listen to the Outpost Broadcasts:
Remaking Market Street ( 34 minutes)
With Neil Hrushowy, Marisha Farnsworth and Darryl Smith
Broadcast on: 09-30-15

This discussion focused on tactical urbanism as a strategy for instigating urban change. Panelists discussed historical precedents and current projects in the Tenderloin and Central Market that help us to reimagine Market Street. Our speakers included Neil Hrushowy, the acting manager of the City Design Group in the San Francisco Planning Department and one of the instigators of the Market Street Prototyping Festival; Marisha Farnsworth, artist and designer for Hyphae Design Lab and a collaborator on the LIZ: Light up Central Market; and Darryl Smith the co-founder/director/curator of the Luggage Store Gallery, a 25 year old neighborhood arts organization. The discussion was moderated by Alison Sant, co-founder and partner in the Studio for Urban Projects and broadcast live.

The Commons  (40 minutes – audio difficulty until 5:00)
With Amy Franceschini, Matt Gonzales, and Mei Ling Hui
Broadcast on: 10-07-15

This discussion examined the role of public space in helping to provide sources of food. From the communal bakehouse and urban farm to public orchards, how do we think of our urban lands in helping to cultivate healthy food and community? The discussion examined alternative economics, new forms of currency, barter economies, and other value systems–looking at how can food play a role in growing these alternatives. Our speakers included artist Amy Franceschini of Futurefarmers whose project, the Flatbread Society, is constructing a public bakehouse and grain field in the center of Oslo, Norway; Matt Gonzales, the former president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and a Green Party mayoral and vice-presidential candidate; and Mei Ling Hui, San Francisco’s Urban Forest and Urban Agriculture Coordinator. The discussion was moderated by Alison Sant, co-founder and partner in the Studio for Urban Projects and broadcast live.

Ecological Infrastructure (39 minutes – some interuptions due to loss of internet service)
With Simon Bertrang, Joel Pomerantz and Jane Martin
Broadcast on 10-14-15
This  discussion looks at the landscape of water in San Francisco and how we think about the overlap of ecological systems with urban infrastructure. Our speakers included Simon Bertrang, a planner for the Department of Public Works and a project manager for the Better Market Street program; Joel Pomerantz, the creator of Seep City, a map of San Francisco’s urban waterways; and Jane Martin, the founder and principal of Shift Design Studio and Plant*SF, an organization that promotes permeable landscaping for urban beautification and sustainable urban infrastructural practice. The discussion was moderated by Alison Sant, co-founder and partner in the Studio for Urban Projects and broadcast live.

Bikeways  (70 minutes)
With Gillian Gillett, Blaine Merker, Noah Budnick
Broadcast on 10-21-15
How can we create safer bicycle infrastructure? This lunchtime discussion looked at international precedents for separated bikeways, national bike-share programs, and pilot projects on Market Street exploring what we can do to make biking accessible to all ages from 8 to 80. Our speakers included Gillian Gillett the Director of Transporation Policy for the City and County of San Francisco; Blaine Merker the Head of the San Francisco office of Gehl Architects; and Noah Budnick, the Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. The discussion was moderated by Alison Sant, co-founder and partner in the Studio for Urban Projects and broadcast live.