San Francisco Civic Center Copies Paris

San Francisco artist and environmental types this morning revealed a handful of improvements in Civic Center

Jardins des Tuileries: the future of Civic Center Plaza.

 Plaza to help cheer up the rather rundown town square.

Some of those improvements: Planters! Tree sculptures! Outdoor cafes! With tables and chairs! And free wi-fi!

Actually, it’s all kind of neat. (It helps that the sky was clear and the sun bright and warm when the outdoor improvements were announced during a morning press conference.)

Most of the renovations are free to the city — the plants were donated, the tables and chairs were recycled from other city projects, the wireless is being provided by San Francisco-based Meraki.

The planters — there are about a dozen of them, filled with drought-tolerant plants — are the biggest cost at about $20,000, city officials said.

The renovations are part of a long-term plan to “activate” (yeah, we’re not sure either) Civic Center Plaza, and to turn it into, basically, one big sustainable art project.

Still, it’s a long way from the plaza in front of the Louvre — one of the inspirations for the Civic Center Plaza overhaul, said Mayor Gavin Newsom.

“What we’re standing on was inspired by Paris,” Newsom said, pointing to the huge patch of, well, gravel and dirt that takes up most of the center of the plaza. Apparently a similar gravel-and-dirt mix pads the walkways around the Louvre gardens.

“There is a much more beautiful garden that adorns the area (outside the Louvre),” Newsom said. “We’re not there yet, but you can see there’s an intentionality behind putting these gardens here. This is just a taste of it, this is just the beginning.”


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