“I’m the program director of People in Plazas, a concert program and nonprofit whose mission is to activate public spaces and bring them into everybody’s neighborhood. The main thing I do is musical concerts, but I have also done many other things in public spaces, movies, little art shows, things like that…I’ve done concerts across the street from City Hall in Joseph Alioto Performing Arts Plaza and I’ve done concerts in United Nations Plaza. This is over the past 10 to 15 years, so I’ve seen a lot. Historically United Nations Plaza and Civic Center Plaza have been dead spaces. They’ve never been active. For various reasons, it’s not a simple fix.”
“I’m a 69 year old woman and I have a brace on my legs. A couple of months ago I went to get tires on my car two blocks away from here. And I said well, I’ll go down to the Civic Center, see the bunnies [see note], and hang out for an hour while I get my tires put back on. Well you know, of course I knew this but I forgot; I come down here, there’s nowhere for me to sit! There’s no way I can stand for an hour so I end up sitting I guess on the air flow ducts for the garage, I don’t know what they are! Those green things out here. So I sat on that. I mean you can’t expect people to use this space if there’s nowhere for them to sit. Now the grass is fine for some, but not if you’re in business attire, going to work, or if you’re older! And you really can’t haul your body up from the grass. So I would say that would be my first thing, put some seating out here and redesign this space so it isn’t so foreboding.”
“To bring it back to the Beaux Arts—forget it! We’re in the 21st century. It’s so stodgy. Nobody is going to come here. And I’m more than a middle aged person and I feel like it should be something really cool…It should be really radical. Not fighting with the Beaux Arts, but totally different and modern.
“Let’s make our own history, shall we?”