Urban Prototyping Festival San Francisco

This weekend brings the Urban Prototyping Festival to San Francisco. This exhibition is the culmination of our most recent efforts at Gray Area Foundation for the Arts to catalyze civic engagement into real tools.

Dates: Saturday, October 20th, 2012
Times: 12pm – 10pm
Cost: FREE and OPEN to the public!
Location: 5th and Mission (5M Project around the SF Chronicle Building), San Francisco, CA 94103

On Saturday October 20, three blocks of downtown San Francisco will become a living laboratory of urban experiments. This exposition will demonstrate the capability of citizens to reimagine public space through creative applications of design and technology.

The festival will feature a showcase of 25 projects created by over 150 makers, as well as three stages of public performance and a series of inspiring keynotes and panel discussions around placemaking, prototyping, and the future of cities.

The GAFFTA Stage on Minna Street will feature an immersive Audio/Visual performance environment featuring experimental electronic musicians and visualists such as Mark Fell of SND (UK).

The Intersection for the Arts Stage on Natoma Street will feature artistic performances and speakers such as Tom Kelley, Co-Founder of IDEO.

The Halladie Plaza Stage will feature local standout performers including Trolley Dances, Campo Santo, and Gamelan X.

For complete details please visit: http://sf.urbanprototyping.org/

SAN FRANCISCO) Oct 11, 2012– The past several years have seen a surge in new forms of civic engagement, with teams of citizens joining together to build apps and projects that use technology to address contemporary urban issues. Now, a new initiative is bringing this same open-source “hacking” mentality to the physical realm. Building on the parallel rise of “tactical urbanism”–the use of small-scale, informal designs to seed long-term changes to the city landscape– the Urban Prototyping (UP) Festival aims to support new design and technology projects that improve the urban environment by creating more inspiring, livable and engaging public spaces.

The San Francisco UP Festival will take place on October 20, 2012, and will feature over 20 model projects set up in streets and parking lots in a 3-block area around the 5M Project at 5th and Mission. Each project embodies the concept of open source and will be documented so that they can be replicated in any city worldwide. Model projects range from the whimsical to practical and include outdoor gardens, urban playscapes, glowing crosswalks, public urinals, urban parasol structures, and much more. The projects will give everyone the chance to see firsthand how these rapidly prototyped urban interventions can change and challenge the way we use, share, and contribute to our public spaces.

The initiative is led by the San Francisco digital culture organization Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA), in partnership Intersection for the Arts (IFTA). GAFFTA has been recognized for its large-scale festivals and hackathons at the intersection of technology, art, and urban issues, and IFTA is exploring the economic impact of the arts in placemaking through its new 5MPlaceworks initiative.

The Urban Prototyping Festival demonstrates the role of innovation and art to reinvigorate public space,” said Josette Melchor, executive director of GAFFTA. “The movement starts in the capital of innovation, San Francisco, and is spreading its arms to the world. Our talented community is responsible for the content of the event and we are pleased to provide–with our many partners–a platform on which citizens engage and design the changes they want for themselves.

Lead collaborators on UP are Rebar, a design studio whose projects reframe the way we think about public spaces worldwide; and global design and innovation firm IDEO.

UP stands out among other public design festivals for its focus on creating projects which are easily replicable, and can be adopted by cities worldwide. The San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation and the City’s Planning Department are working closely with UP to identify projects suitable for larger-scale pilots similar to the parklet program.

San Francisco is home to so much talent and opportunity,” says Jay Nath, the Mayor’s Chief Innovation Officer. “As the innovation capital of the world, we are excited to use Urban Prototyping to showcase the city itself as a platform for creativity – ultimately leading to new pieces of infrastructure and design that transform our public spaces.

After the San Francisco festival, UP events will be planned with partners in other cities, to explore how design, art, and technology can serve as tools for civic participation.