Parks to Gardens
One of the most incredible assets we have as San Franciscans is our natural environment. We are blessed with some of the most beautiful hills, shimmering oceans, and grand vistas. We have a great number of natural spaces in the city today, but many of our urban parks have been neglected, poorly maintained, or have lost their way.
We need to elevate our natural spaces to the highest levels, to invite our residents and our visitors to enjoy everything this city has to offer.
As our city grows, we need to ensure a renewed commitment to public natural spaces. This includes everything from creating new small gardens and preserving critical habitats to providing more community gardens and increasing space for outdoor social events and recreation. Carving out space that's accessible to every resident and visitor of San Francisco is critical to maintaining and improving our quality of life.
In 1985, San Francisco adopted the Downtown Plan which, among other things, provided for the creation of POPOS—Privately-Owned Public Open Spaces. It's time to take this to the next level and create a citywide green spaces plan, ensuring that every new development provides an increase in publicly-owned parks, gardens, and other green spaces.
There are some incredible visions for connecting our natural habitat and urban environments. From the City's work on Green Connections—connecting parks and people— to the San Francisco Park Alliance's work and vision for the Blue Greenway—linking our parks, trails, beaches, and bay along the southeastern waterfront—we have no shortage of ideas in San Francisco.
We can turn these ideas into action, secure funding for these projects and others, and begin weaving an inspiring network of interconnected nature throughout the city.
San Francisco has one of the smallest tree canopies of any American city, including cities like Los Angeles and Phoenix. While we made great strides over the last century, recently the city has scaled back its commitment to street trees, transferring public trees to private owners who frequently cannot, or simply do not, properly care for them. The health of our urban forest is a public good, affecting us all by reducing noise, improving air quality, and providing much-needed greenery in a sea of concrete.
The Friends of the Urban Forest helped lay out a plan for how we can take back our city's trees in the Urban Forest Plan. It's time to take action and adopt this plan.