The Tie-Rods That Bind

A San Francisco parklet provides history lessons and builds community bonds.

california, green infrastructure, recycled materials, parks, public space, preservation, sustainable materials, san francisco, civic participation, urban design


Julie Donofrio


Marguerite Anglin


Brittany Coyle

WRT San Francisco’s recent involvement in the parklet at D’Urso Delicatessen culminated in a successful collaboration, and a lasting contribution to the city’s growing inventory of parklets—each a reflection of neighborhood character and collective vision. The parklet was envisioned to build a public space for all to share in the SOMA neighborhood— a place bustling with commuters, entrepreneurs, baseball fans, and well-used thoroughfares for pedestrians, transit, vehicles, and bicycles.

Thriving with new energy today, the neighborhood was once the hub of industry, marked by rail and warehouses. Before that era, it was merely a part of Mission Bay, sitting on what was once the water’s edge. While investigating concepts and materials for the parklet, the design team drew inspiration from the historical context, both in physical form and material selection.

The team worked with neighboring businesses and sponsors to realize a design that reflects the vision and contributions of many. One of the highlights of the parklet is reclaimed 14' Douglas Fir timbers that were salvaged from the renovation of an adjacent former meatpacking plant. Additionally, donated cast iron elements mimic those found on nearby buildings. The parklet now proudly stands as a beacon of community collaboration and a hallmark of the neighborhood’s industrial past.