by Vincent Nieto
Many metropolitan cities have large amounts of freeways. Many of these freeways are elevated to keep a clear separation between city streets and the freeway. At every intersection an unusual space is created and often times never thought of more than just an interstitial space to get from one side to the other. These spaces were generally not meant to house any type of program and as a result often times it used in a negative way.
Cities around the world have recognized the potentials and the problems of such underutilized and unattractive space. Many have explored expanding the space by converting it into functional spaces. Recreation spaces such as basketball courts and skate parks are among the most common solution. However, such projects are aimed towards a permanent solution. What happens when a permanent solution cannot be implemented?
Take for example, San Francisco, the city has is an elevated double-decker freeway, the i280. Underneath this freeway is a 3 miles long, forty feet wide space that is underutilized and owned by the state. The state may not allow for permanent structures may agree to temporary uses. What are the possibilities of temporary programs and how can it be accomplished? The following are examples temporary programs. In this case, the proposed programs directly respond to the needs of the surrounding neighborhood.
The first example of a temporary program that can be beneficial to the area is a local Farmers Market. This is a great location because of two things, first the main produce distribution center for San Francisco is located at one end of the proposed site and two, the nearest farmers market is a few mile from this location. Many residents in the area do not own a vehicle so carrying large amounts of grocery on a public transit can be very difficult.
The second example of a temporary program can be a mobile green space using repurposed trash bins. Having green spaces for this area is very important especially. There is a lack of green spaces in the area which can ultimately lead to higher crime rates.
The next two examples are solutions using a modular system for various purposes. The first image is an idea of capturing rainwater from the freeway. With the average rainfall in San Francisco, you can capture over 9 million gallons of water each year from this 3 mile stretch.
The last example is using the modular system for enclosed programs. Such programs can be temporary housing, after school tutoring and community outreach offices. These programs are essential to areas similar neighborhood. Most often times, these areas are forgotten by the city but are usually the ones in most need.
Repurposing underutilized spaces can be very beneficial to both the city and the surround neighborhood. Using a temporary approach can be cost effective especially to areas that are underserved.