Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Urban design: A public market complete with a "green living room"

Ping pong, anyone? / A green living room
at the Emeryville Public Market

The Public Market sits just across the bay from San Francisco, wedged between Berkeley and Oakland, in Emeryville, Calif. This 14-acre, mixed-use site is an urbanist's dreamscape. It has good office, retail and dining space, a cineplex, and good access to public transportation. The Public Market has undergone an urban transformation over the last year thanks to a new, private ownership group (Center City Reality Partners) that has infused fresh money to match its new look and changed attitude.

While there is still an international food court that's always bustling most weekdays at lunchtime, there are some new retail shops -- Guitar Shop and Urban Outfitters --complemented by a Peet's Coffee & Tea shop that always seems to be abuzz with activity.

According to the San Francisco Business Times, the new owners received a Catalyst Communities Pilot Project grant of $1.35 million to pay for "electric vehicle charging stations, a solar carport, models of recycling and composting, environmental education and a science display on the project's green features." Much of this grant has already come to fruition since the beginning of the year.

One thing which I find very appealing about the new-look of the Emeryville Public Market is the transformation of a once under-utilized patio space outside the former Border's Books into a snazzy and colorful urban park.

With the brick facade of the recently-opened hipster Urban Outfitters clothing store as its backdrop, this expansive urban park space, which also includes a lush, green grassy knoll, is complete with a ping pong table, colorful red and blue Adirondack-style lounge chairs, and a variety of brick and wood benches. It's a very inviting space to come and relax, whether enjoying a cup of coffee or a snack, reading a summer best-seller, or merely soaking up some Bay Area sunshine.

The Emeryville Public Market is located at 5959 Shellmound Street, Emeryville.

Photograph by Michael Dickens, copyright 2013. 

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