Stephanie Goodson

Three years ago, I moved to Mission Bay, a former industrial neighborhood in San Francisco where old warehouses meet new high-rise apartment buildings. As I began to explore my new neighborhood, I noticed that there were many charming pockets that paid homage to its past and future, from the newly developed waterfront, to the houseboats on the channel. But the vast majority of Mission Bay is vacant lots, just waiting to be funded for development. I began to wonder if there was some way to bring the community together within them; I was looking for a way to meet my new neighbors, and also thought it would help build the growing community.
Around the same time, I began craving dirt, probably because of my failing attempt to grow anything in my small apartment. I had an idea: What if the vacant lots in Mission Bay were activated into garden and event spaces? We could grow food, build community and host movie nights.
In 2010, I began talking with the local developer who holds a lease with the city of San Francisco to develop the entirety of Mission Bay based an approved 300-acre mixed-use plan including commercial, residential, hotel, a hospital and a retail corridor. With the downturn of the economy, the prospective tenants and developers had slowed, providing an uncertain amount of time in which the new neighborhood would evolve. I realized designing a portable solution would allow the gardens to be transported from one vacant lot to the next within a day or two—a win for both the developer and the community.

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