An Unnatural History of Golden Gate Park

The nature of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park is deceptive. The land that it occupies today was originally thought to be an undesirable drift of sand dunes on the outskirts of the city known as the “outside lands.” Today the picturesque scenery of Golden Gate park presents a convincing English style landscape and the park, a treasured recreational ground for the citizenry of San Francisco. An Unnatural History of Golden Gate Park is an audio tour that strolls through Golden Gate Park exploring the ways in which the park represents changing ideas of nature in the city. The piece considers the important role that this evolving landscape plays in the social and ecological life of San Francisco.

An Unnatural History of Golden Gate Park was shown at the Yerba Buena Center for the Art’s Bay Area Now 5 exhibition shown from July 19 – October 19 2008. The piece was exhibited as part of Ground Scores: Guided Tours of San Francisco Past and Personal and guest curated by Valerie Imus.

An Unnatural History of Golden Gate Park has been created by the Studio for Urban Projects: Marina McDougall, Alison Sant, Richard Johnson, and Kirstin Bach in collaboration with Kurt Keppeler, Gabrielle Teschner, Daya Karam, Gilbert Guerrero and Chris Fitzpatrick.

To begin the tour, go to the statue of President Harfield which is to your left if you are facing the Conservatory of Flowers from John F. Kennedy Drive.

Download the Entire Audio Tour or choose from the Chapters below:
Orientation: An Unnatural History of Golden Gate Park, prompt 468
Introduction: Deceptive Artifice, prompt 469
Conservatory of Flowers, prompt 470
Carpet Beds Break the Illusion, prompt 471
Green Roof, prompt 472
Botanical Gardens, The Dawn Redwood, prompt 473
Victory Garden, prompt 475
Children’s Playground, prompt 475