the urban prospector

Searching for Golden Opportunities in America's Cities


Amazing Residential Sidewalk

This sidewalk in Bernal Heights, San Francisco frames space and provides visual texture incredibly well making this one of the most enjoyable streets to walk down.

During my trip to the Bay Area, I walked down perhaps the greatest sidewalk I’ve ever seen. Space on the sidewalk is incredibly well framed by the various elements. Starting with the buildings, there is only a small setback of roughly 10 feet. This 10 feet of space is also very well used with steps, wooden fences, patios and other details. The planter strip between the sidewalk and the cartway is planted with short, wide and dense trees. The trees, are the primary object shaping space on the sidewalk as the trunks provide vertical form and the branches extend over the sidewalk at a height of roughly 7 feet. The sidewalk is further enhanced with other plants in the planter strip and in the patios of the houses. While some streets try to improve the visual quality of space through the use of fake brick patterns and small plants, this sidewalk successful frames the space, leaving small plants in a supportive role and leaving fake brick for another location. Framing the pedestrian space is much more critical than dressing up pedestrian space. Continue reading