Temporary City Beaches
There are many ways to reprogram city streets to provide free fun and relaxation opportunities for an overworked, financially stretched population. In 2002 Paris launched its Paris Plage system, bringing in sand and umbrellas to turn the Georges Pompidou Expressway, which runs by the Seine, into a free beach. In 2007, the Mayor of Mexico City also carted in sand to turn areas of the hot city into free beaches. Both programs have attracted huge, growing crowds, and continue to thrive.
Though San Francisco is relatively rich in beaches, the spirit of these instant beaches begs the question of how we can re-imagine our own streets to provide space for families, all kinds of San Franciscans and visitors to relax and have fun. Sunday Streets is a great, successful example of an event-based approach to using city streets for better social and health purposes. A more semi-permanent installation in the spirit of these seasonal beaches, is the next step.
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