Buchanan Street Mall Activation Project

Project Summary

On November 7, 2015, Supervisor Vallie Brown, Mayor London Breed, Green Streets, Citizen Film, The Trust for Public Land (TPL), The Exploratorium’s Studio for Public Spaces, and San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, along with many members of the Western Addition community, gathered to celebrate renewal of the Buchanan Mall with the installation of the “Activation.” The Activation is a temporary installation of gardens, benches, archways, historical photos, lighting, and two “audio-domes” providing stories from the neighborhood. The Activation has been extended through fall 2018 as the partners continue to develop plans and raise funds for a re-imagined Buchanan Mall.

Buchanan Street Mall Activation Celebration

Buchanan Street Mall Activation Celebration

In 2016, the Western Addition community worked with Green Streets, Citizen Film, The Exploratorium, TPL, and RPD to develop a Vision Plan for the future of the Buchanan Mall. The process was generously funded by a grant from than Supervisor Breed and donations from TPL and many other organizations and volunteers.

Click here to see the Buchanan Street Mall Vision Statement, published on issuu.

Click here for a video about Buchanan Street Mall visioning process.


Project Partners

Green Streets – The staff of this small local business were key community organizers and members of the Design Task Force, which developed the Activation design. Green Streets is a social enterprise providing environmental services and beautification for affordable housing properties along the Buchanan Mall through recycling and composting programs.

Citizen Film – A nationally recognized nonprofit that uses documentary storytelling, including film, oral histories, and other media, as a tool foster dialogue about solutions to local problems. Citizen Film has partnered with Green Streets to tell stories of community empowerment and facilitate an ongoing series of film screenings and community storytelling sessions.

The Exploratorium – Exploratorium Studio for Public Spaces works in the public realm to create exhibits and environments that encourage play, exploration, creativity, and social connection. The Exploratorium was the lead design partner on the Activation project and facilitated a unique community design-build process.

The Trust for Public Land – A national nonprofit founded in San Francisco 43 years ago. TPL works with communities to ensure that everyone has parks, gardens, playgrounds, trails, and other natural places within a ten-minute walk from home. TPL is the project director and is funding the project.

Funding Source

The Buchanan Street Mall Park Activation Project is funded by a grant from the Trust for Public Land in the amount of $187,600. Additionally, Citizen Film has applied funds and in-kind services from a creative placemaking grant awarded by ArtPlace America in 2014, valued at 10% of the $250,000 grant. The inspiration for the Buchanan Street Mall project sprung from the ArtPlace America Award

Buchanan Mall Activation Opening Celebration 11/7/2015

Change is coming to the Buchanan Street Mall.  The Design Task Force – a group of 30 neighborhood elders, youth, and adults – met weekly this summer to discuss design and stewardship of the Mall. The Exploratorium translated the community’s design ideas into Activation elements.  These elements – gardens boxes, … Continue reading

Visit the Archives

Location Map