Selected Project Pop-Up Forest
Pop-Up Forest. Concept art courtesy of the project team.

Phil Pierce
Friends of the Urban Forest Director of Policy & Outreach

Doug Wildman
Friends of the Urban Forest Program Director

Anne Brask
Planner & Artist

Jon Swae
Urban Forest Plan Manager & Artist

Monica Way
Landscape Designer



Central Market

The Pop-up Forest will create a uniquely immersive “forest” experience on Market Street that engages passersby in a dialogue about trees along the corridor, adjacent neighborhoods and the larger city.

The communities surrounding Market Street have the lowest tree canopy (4%) of any neighborhoods in San Francisco. Research has shown trees provide compelling benefits for urban communities including reduced crime and violence, improved mental and physical health, and enhanced environmental performance. Recent initiatives including San Francisco’s Urban Forest Plan and Better Market Street Project have drawn attention to the value and importance of trees within the city’s public realm. Friends of the Urban Forest is excited to propose a “Pop-up Forest” prototype for this year’s Market Street Prototyping Festival. The Pop-up Forest will explore the role of trees on Market Street and within the Central Market community by creating a fun and engaging installation that celebrates the intersection of people, their neighborhoods and our urban forest.

Drawing inspiration from an installation in Beijing by renowned landscape architect Peter Walker, the Pop-up Forest will produce the striking visual effect of an infinite forest landscape “popping up” along Market Street. This immersive experience will be created through the use of trees, native plants, mirrors and recycled materials. The prototype will feature two mirrored walls approximately 20 – 24 feet long and 10 feet high, placed 12 feet from each other. Between the mirrors, a selection of trees, native plants, and recycled wood chips will be sensitively arranged along a path. The mirrored walls will be positioned to reflect the trees and plants in an infinitely repeating pattern. This arrangement will provide visitors the experience of entering a vast forest that extends well beyond the confines of the prototype. The dramatic effect will be further accentuated by the sounds of wildlife found in San Francisco’s urban forest played over speakers courtesy of the California Library of Natural Sounds. At night, rows of LED lights will illuminate the forest and reflect into the mirrors enhancing the visual effect while also providing security. The interior of the prototype will offer flexibility in its arrangement to allow for a series of public events curated by Friends of the Urban Forest including film screenings, tree plantings, tree tours, live music and other events.

The outer walls of the prototype will be used to display an exhibit of information, data and activities to further educate and engage community members in a conversation about Market Street and Central Market’s urban forest. Exhibits may include: “Why do Market Street’s trees look that way?”, “What’s your vision for trees on Market Street?”, “Where will 50,000 new street trees go?” (Urban Forest Plan goal), “Do trees and plants belong on Market Street?” The artful and visually engaging infographics will feature a summary of street trees growing along Market Street, South of Market and the Tenderloin culled from San Francisco’s recent Street Tree Census – EveryTreeSF.

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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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