San Francisco's Tenderloin is the City's densest neighborhood, and most of its residents live below the poverty line in small apartments--many of them single-occupancy--without access to back yards or green space. Re-built in 1985, Boeddeker Park was riddled with problems. Attempts to address safety concerns resulted in a maze of fences dividing up the park, and visibility across the space was poor. Neighbors called it "Prison Park."In response, The Trust for Public Land, in close partnership with the City of San Francisco's Recreation and Parks Department, teamed with WRNS Studio to redesign and completely rebuild the one-acre park and clubhouse to meet the needs of the community.
The team conducted extensive community outreach, holding public meetings and forums at the site as well as at nearby youth centers, senior centers and churches--wherever local people were likely to come. Residents from the Tenderloin participated, as well as representatives of service organizations like the YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, Youth with a Mission, and City Academy. Key decisions were made at these community forums.
The result is a new landmark park and clubhouse that serves as a model of civic engagement, inspiration, resource conservation and adaptability. Boeddeker Park is poised to serve as a model for parks around the world, as its innovative design and social impact are changing the experience of the Tenderloin.
The new Boeddeker Park serves a wide age-range of patrons from diverse backgrounds. The clubhouse sweeps skyward to accentuate natural light and volume, and bends into the park to strengthen the feeling of "park pavilion"outside. Its main recreation room is transparent, making interior activities visible to the neighborhood and park. Outdoor features include professional-grade fitness equipment, basketball courts, youth play structures, and green spaces and gathering spots for socializing.