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Case Studies 

UN Plaza

San Francisco



Contributed by 
Project for Public Spaces
December 13, 2005
December 14, 2017

The major entranceway to San FranciscoÍs vast but terribly underperforming civic center.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

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.

Access & Linkages

Comfort & Image

Uses & Activities


How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

Related Links & Sources

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UN Plaza
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*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.


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