Skip to content Skip to navigation

Re-imaginations of Public Space

May 3, 2017 -
12:00pm to 5:00pm

Please RSVP:

The rise of tactical urbanism, parklets, and prototyping festivals has catapulted the San Francisco Bay Area as the capital of innovative public space design. Recent transformations of public spaces— whether streets, parks, plazas— have redefined how urban dwellers relate to physical spaces in their cities. While these practices offer new opportunities for respite, activity, and expression, they are also taking place in the midst of rapid demographic changes and rising social inequality, generating robust debates about whether these improvements benefit diverse communities and foster a sense of belonging and communal purpose. These discussions are taking place all over the country and the world, but are most clearly manifested in the Bay Area. Public space projects often become bitter sites of contestation, competing rights to the city, and blurred distinctions between private and public uses.

Re-imaginations of Public Space explores the framing of “public” in public space, the activation of urban spaces through artmaking, and the politics of placemaking along with strategies of placekeeping. The daylong festival will feature keynote speaker Deborah Cullinan, CEO of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and student presentations on site-specific projects. Meet and join fellow civic dreamers, imagineers and creators as we re-imagine new possibilities for fostering public spaces that are humane, inclusive, and socially beneficial in the Bay Area and beyond.


Interactive Exhibits 12-5pmCampus Tactical Urbanism Project 12:30pmCivic Dreams, Human Spaces Presentations 1:30pmKeynote Speaker 3:30pm

Keynote Speaker: Deborah Cullinan, CEO, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Deborah Cullinan joined Yerba Buena Center for the Arts as CEO in September 2013. With her stewardship, YBCA has sharpened its mission and vision; re-grounding the organization in its origins as a citizen institution and San Francisco’s premiere art center built by the community, for the community. Fostering a “culture of invitation”; Cullinan brings together creative citizens of all kinds to spur social change. Prior to joining YBCA, Deborah served as the Executive Director of San Francisco’s Intersection for the Arts for 17 years. Under her leadership, Intersection became a powerful arts-focused community development organization committed to radical partnerships across sectors to achieve equitable community change. She is a co- founder of ArtsForum SF, and a member of the Board of California Arts Advocates, Californians for the Arts, MissionHub, and the Community Arts Stabilization Trust.

She is on the Advisory Board of the Catalyst Initiative, Grey Area Foundation for the Arts, Howlround, the San Francisco Arts Education Project, and the Community Visions Project/Americas for the Arts. She is co-chair of the San Francisco Arts Alliance and is a Rockwood Fellow, a Gerbode Fellow and alumni of the National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program.

Re-imaginations of Public Space is organized by the Stanford Human Cities Initiative with support from the Program on Urban Studies, Stanford Campus Planning and Design Office, and Stanford

Event Co-Sponsor(s): 
Program on Urban Studies
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: