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1 Burrows Pocket Park


The 1 Burrows Pocket Park, located in the diverse, working-class neighborhood of Portola in San Francisco, will transform an underutilized cul-de-sac into an attractive, green public plaza.

Running east-west, Burrows Street is nearly one-mile long and abuts the retaining wall of US Highway 101 on the eastern edge, where this project is located. To date, the project site and surrounding area have been a dumping ground for rubbish and gathering spot for vandals and illicit activity, creating an unsafe environment for neighborhood residents and students at the Martin Luther King Middle School less than two blocks away. The project is part of an on-going effort to revitalize and stabilize Portola's commercial corridor by increasing cleanliness, working with property owners to fill vacancies, providing support to existing merchants, promoting the shopping district, attracting resources for physical improvements and by building community pride and empowerment.

The pocket park is a working blueprint of a comprehensive, community-led effort for revitalization and will set a precedent for future public space improvement projects for underutilized spaces throughout the City of San Francisco. This greening project will offer a lasting and significant legacy and contribution to the people of San Francisco.

The project is to be completed in two phases. Phase 1, which finished in June included clearing the site, replacing concrete with porous pavers, installing a bioswale and respective foot bridge, xeroscapic landscaping, and trees.

Phase 2 which was generously funded by Lincoln Motor Co. in partnership with Architectural Digest will include street furniture, a neighborhood information kiosk, lighting, an art mural and a bench fence element. These features will elevate the activity within the park and increase mobility throughout the space.

The support of the following organizations will help ensure that the project is environmentally and financially sustainable:

  • Portola Neighborhood Association, a group of neighborhood merchants, property owners and residents of Portola.
  • The landscaping plans of the project have been the outcome of a direct collaboration with the Portola Garden Tour Association. This non-profit group holds an annual neighborhood garden tour.
  • Herrero-Boldt and Arup Engineering are providing professional pro-bono services.
  • The project has received support and endorsement of the City of San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development.
  • San Francisco Department of Public Works
  • Caltrans, the state agency that owns the land on which the project is to be built.

Phase 1 of the project was completed for an estimated $250,000, with over half of this being donated as in-kind services. While the initial challenge grant form the city was for $65,000, neighborhood members were able to secure additional funding and pitching in the project management labor themselves. Funding from Lincoln Motor Co. will enable to park to thrive and include all of the other elements excluded because of original budgetary shortfall.


1 Burrows Street Portola District
San Francisco, California 94134
United States


Project Details

NAME: 1 Burrows Pocket Park
PROJECT LEAD: Architecture for Humanity
LOCATION: 1 Burrows Street, San Francisco, California 94134, United States
START DATE: January 23, 2013
CURRENT PHASE: Construction complete
COST: $450000 USD (Final)
PROJECT TYPE: Public Space/Gathering Space
FUNDING: Phase 1 - City of San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Phase 2 - Lincoln Motor Co.
COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION: Portola Neighborhood Association, Portola Garden Tour Association, Friends of the Urban Forest
PROJECT PARTNER: Architectural Digest, Caltrans, SFDPW
DESIGNER: Rebar Group (site furniture), Macy Office of Design (signage), Jason Jagel (art wall), The Guild (kiosk)
CONTRACTOR(S): Engineered Artwork, ONN Construction, Piñon Residential Development, Thomas Swan Sign Co.
ENGINEERING: Arup, Herrero-Boldt
LIGHTING DESIGNER: Jeremiah Jeffries
PROJECT COORDINATOR: Garrett Jacobs, Michael Steiner, Hiromi Tabei
BENEFICIARIES: The community of the Portola.