San Francisco, CA
Contributed by Project for Public Spaces
The major entranceway to San Francisco’s vast but terribly underperforming civic center.
United Nations Plaza is a major point of access to San Francisco's vast but disappointing Civic Center, and a key location on the equally underperforming Market Street. Together, UN Plaza and Civic Center represent a major opportunity to tie together and improve the mediocre Market Street and the abysmal Embarcadero, one of the most unpleasant waterfront boulevards of any major city.
UN Plaza should be the gateway to a dynamic Civic Center. At its center currently is a wonderful fountain that is just in the wrong place--a sunken pit with water raging within (when it is on) that has become a bathing pool for San Francisco's homeless. The potential of UN Plaza becomes apparent on market days, when the place thrives. Further redefining this plaza as a market destination with programming and other activity would do wonders. UN Plaza should stay true to its name and do all it can to showcase the assets of the multiple cultures that are part of the market.