A downtown cultural community integrating art, economic development, and social justice

Yerba Buena Gardens is the redevelopment of 87 run-down acres in San Francisco’s South of Market district into a vibrant cultural community and downtown destination. Considered an “oasis” in the city, the project focuses on three areas: arts and urban amenities, economic development, and community development and social justice. The result is cultural community with dozens of museums and galleries, a 10-acre complex of children’s facilities, and nearly six acres of public gardens in a network of open space in an area once slated for demolition. Low-income and market-rate rental and residential condominiums, several high-rise office buildings, hotels, and a convention center have spurred economic development and neighborhood stability and help support a thriving tourism industry.

Ongoing placemaking is in the collaborative structures that oversee the maintenance, operations, and future development at Yerba Buena Gardens—structures that reflect the democratic process of this project’s conception.

1999 Selection Committee

The design of Yerba Buena Gardens reflects the priorities of neighborhood residents with public green space, dozens of community amenities, and emphasis on culture and diversity. The work was made possible by a series of public-private partnerships and a strong coalition of self-governing stakeholder organizations that manage Yerba Buena Gardens.