Pop-Up Forest

A uniquely immersive "forest" to engage passersby in a dialogue about trees along the Market Street corridor, in adjacent neighborhoods, and the larger city. (2015)


Context: The Pop-up Forest was part of the 3-day Market Street Prototyping Festival in 2016. The festival was all about experimenting in different ways to activate and create positive experiences on San Francisco's busiest street. Our team collaborated with Friends of the Urban Forest to make this prototype possible. It is currently being re-installed in the Hayes Valley neighborhood in San Francisco.

Scope: This experience was created through the use of trees, native plants, mirrors and recycled materials. The prototype features two mirrored walls approximately 20 – 24 feet long and 10 feet high, placed 12 feet from each other. Between the mirrors, a selection of trees, native plants, and recycled wood chips will be sensitively arranged along a path. The mirrored walls will be positioned to reflect the trees and plants in an infinitely repeating pattern. The outer walls of the prototype were used to display an exhibit of information, data and activities to further educate and engage community members in a conversation about Market Street and Central Market’s urban forest. Exhibits may include: “Why do Market Street’s trees look that way?”, “What’s your vision for trees on Market Street?”, “Where will 50,000 new street trees go?” (Urban Forest Plan goal), “Do trees and plants belong on Market Street?”.

Role: Co-managed the project; coordinated with partners; created renderings for our concept proposal for the prototype; laid out the proposal and brainstormed project elements; helped coordinate construction; participated in construction; conducted outreach to the neighborhood; greeted and explained the project to passersby throughout the festival; organized documentation and follow-up.

Background: The communities surrounding Market Street have the lowest tree canopy (4%) of any neighborhoods in San Francisco. Research has shown trees provide compelling benefits for urban communities including reduced crime and violence, improved mental and physical health, and enhanced environmental performance. Drawing inspiration from an installation in Beijing by renowned landscape architect Peter Walker, the Pop-up Forest produces the striking visual effect of an infinite forest landscape “popping up” along Market Street.