SF’s Secret Parks and Hidden Oases Smartphone App

Designers: San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) | City: San Francisco, CA | Project Type: smartphone app

Cost: Know What App ($1.99); SF’s Secret Parks and Hidden Oases ($1.99)
Release: February 27, 2012

Privately owned gardens and parks are usually–not always, but usually–better maintained than their public counterpart due to larger maintenance budgets and the fact that these parks and plazas are often the “front lawns” of a large corporation. But luckily, some of these privately-owned spaces are open to the public.

And in downtown San Francisco, unbeknownst to even many locals, there is a “rich and diverse network of privately-owned public open spaces – or “POPOS” – in the form of plazas, atriums, terraces and small parks that support the city’s more well-known public park system.” This network has sprang up largely due to the 1985 mandate that new downtown buildings include publicly accessible space as part of their design.

Since I don’t have the time or resources to map out and research each POPOS, I wanted to make a post about a smartphone app that does just that. The SF’s Secret Parks and Hidden Oases app, downloadable through the Know What App is the brainchild of the non-profit San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR). The app has fifty-two carefully selected POPOS with information snippets and GPS locations integrated into each site. The app that it’s also part of–Know What–also has 400–and growing–built-in recommendations in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

So far it’s been a really useful resource that I’m looking forward to using again when I’m down in Los Angeles. And if you’re in San Francisco? I’d definitely recommend shelling out the four bucks.

I’ve since used the smartphone app to uncover a few POPOS gems, a few of which I’ll highlight in my posts.

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