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POPOS in San Francisco

Have you ever walked around downtown San Francisco and happened to stumble
across a well-maintained (and slightly hidden) plaza, terrace, atrium, or even a small
park? These outdoor spaces are called POPOS, and the acronym stands for: privately
owned public open space.

Here is a little history on POPOS…

Before 1985, POPOS were voluntary endeavors that developers could construct and
maintain for additional density bonuses for their projects. By 1985, POPOS were
required by the city’s downtown plan, with the intent to provide quality open spaces
in sufficient quantity and variety to meet the needs of downtown workers, residents,
and visitors.

Today there are almost 70 POPOS located within the downtown area, and with all
the future development in the pipeline, there will be many more to come. The city
is currently working to get better signage in place for POPOS, but in the meantime,
there is an interactive map of each POPOS on the Planning Departments website.

You can view the map by clicking here.

Here are a few of our personal favorite POPOS:

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1) Citygroup Center – 1 Sansome Street – This beautiful indoor plaza is decked out with marble and a glass atrium. There is ample seating and it provides a great escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown.

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2) 1 Kearny Street – This rooftop terrace gives you great views of Market Street, and of the amazing architecture from the surrounding buildings. There are benches that seat up to 23 people, but it usually does not get very crowded.

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3) 343 Sansome Street – This fifteenth floor open space is only open from 10 AM
– 5 PM, Monday through Friday, but it is worth a trip just for the view of the bay
alone! There are 18 chairs, 50 linear seats on planter boxes, and it has art in the
form of a large sundial, which helps you know when it’s time to get back to work
after your lunch excursion.

Do you have any favorite POPOS’?

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