REQUESTS FOR PROPOSALS Creative Submissions for the 2016 Market Street Prototyping Festival
Submissions for the 2016 festival are now closed and are currently in review.

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Submission Deadline

Friday, 11:59 PM
April 15, 2016

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Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) in partnership with the City of San Francisco Planning Department is requesting creative proposals for submission in the 2016 Market Street Prototyping Festival. This is the second year we are inviting Bay Area citizens from all walks of culture, practice, and discipline to submit prototype ideas to make Market Street a more vibrant public space while also reflecting the uniqueness of San Francisco. This opportunity is not limited to artists and designers, so don’t be shy.

We are looking for exceptional bold concepts that will encourage interactivity, communication and inspiration on Market Street, San Francisco’s grand pedestrian boulevard. Market Street famously runs diagonally through San Francisco, originally designed to streamline the delivery of goods from the port to residential areas. It has continually evolved since then, and now requires the attention of innovative thinkers to shape the culture and integrity of Market Street to meet the needs of today’s visitors. Ultimately, the goal is to unite diverse neighborhoods along Market Street.

Of the submissions received, 30 prototypes will be displayed during the 3-day Market Street Prototyping Festival, transforming Market Street into a public platform. Installations will line Market Street from the Embarcadero to Central Market, spanning 1.5 miles in the heart of downtown.The event allows countless pedestrians to experience, explore, and interact with the prototype installations. Select projects will then live on to become a part of the 2018 Better Market Street project, a comprehensive streetscape redesign.

Need inspiration? Check out the MSPF Recommendations List generated by community members and submit one as your project for 2016.


Submissions are written and submitted online by clicking the Submit a Project button. Entries must include the following components to be considered:

  • Contact information (full name, email, phone number)
  • Project/Idea Title
  • Project Description (Max. 500 words)
  • Idea Renderings/Sketches
  • Description of how it will engage the community
  • Bio (for you and/or your team)
  • Projected Budget



Deadline for submissions

MAY 16-20

Finalists notified

MAY 26

Project Launch Event / Artist Orientation

JULY 14 (Date Unconfirmed)

Community Engagement Design Charette


Market Street Prototyping Festival

Entry Criteria

Each prototype, or physical conception of creative ideas, must align with specific criteria to be considered for selection. Concepts must generate engagement, be accessible and inclusive of a diverse public, and be sustainable.


  • Concept draws in and activates an audience.
  • Concept creates a new experience for Market St. pedestrians.


  • Concept invites diverse social engagement.
  • Concept transcends boundaries of gender, age, race, income and physical disability.
  • Concept enhances the character of the neighborhoods and communities along Market Street.


  • Concept is attractive and provocative.
  • Concept is durable to withstand heavy use, street environment and weather conditions.
  • Concept is sustainable over the three day period of the Festival.

Along with the character of each concept, there are physical guidelines that the concept must accommodate including size, power usage and materials.

  • Project dimensions – less than or equal to w12′ x d12′ x h12′.
  • Can be accessed by people with disabilities.

Power Usage
  • Power needs – 110/120V // maximum 1500 watts
  • Noise level – below 50 dBA at a distance of 10′ from sound source

  • Uses sustainable or reusable construction materials

* For safety reasons the following will NOT be permitted:
  • No flame or fire
  • Placement cannot obstruct:
    • Bus and MTA zones
    • Fire hydrants
    • Emergency zones
    • Public utilities
    • Disabled persons and pedestrian through zones

Selection Process

A diverse panel of designers, artists, thought leaders and community stakeholders will review submissions received by the April 15th deadline.

Ideas are selected based on their creativity, sense of community, ability to meet the entry criteria, as well as their potential to make Market Street a more vibrant public space and to identify Market Street as uniquely San Francisco. A total of 30 finalists will be notified between May 16-20, and invited to showcase their idea at the Market Street Prototyping Festival.


Finalists will be given the funding and mentorship necessary to make their visions a reality. A $2,500 reward provides for materials, technology and other components to build out the concept. Finalists will also earn a mentorship that partners them with professional design experts who will offer technical and fabrication expertise to project teams in taking their concept designs to prototype designs.


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Contact Information

Due dates, timeline, entry criteria and scope of project are all detailed above. If you have questions that are not answered in this RFP or the FAQ, please reach out to

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) is one of the nation’s most innovative contemporary arts centers. Founded in 1993, YBCA’s mission is to generate culture that moves people. Through powerful art experiences, thoughtful and provocative content, and deep opportunities for participation, YBCA is committed to creating an inclusive culture that awakens personal and societal transformation. YBCA presents a wide variety of programming year-round, including performing arts, visual arts, film/video and civic engagement. YBCA venues include the Forum, Screening Room, Galleries and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater. For tickets and information, call 415.978.ARTS (2787).

The mission of the San Francisco Planning Department, under the direction of the Planning Commission, shapes the future of San Francisco and the region by: generating an extraordinary vision for the General Plan and in neighborhood plans; fostering exemplary design through planning controls; improving our surroundings through environmental analysis; preserving our unique heritage; encouraging a broad range of housing and a diverse job base; and enforcing the Planning Code.


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The Market Street Prototyping Festival is a collaboration between the San Francisco Planning Department and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

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