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Exploratorium Kicks Off Planning for Downtown's Living Innovation Zones

Rendering by Josh Bacigalupi 

A few weeks ago, the Exploratorium kicked off planning for the first of 10 Living Innovation Zones—a series of new public spaces meant to strengthen community—on Market Street.

Exploratorium will take on the role of lead designer for this first LIZ (as they're calling it) on Market Street at Yerba Buena Lane between 3rd and 4th streets. In true Exploratorium style, they kicked off the build process with a collaborative prototyping brainstorm session in the form of a Sketch-In on Market Street. Think of it as a giant coloring book with architectural elevations that the public was asked to weigh in on—in the form of conversation, writing, drawing, or asking an Exploratorium "sketch buddy" to create a rendering for them. Talk about crowdsourcing. And crowdfunding—check out Exploratorium's Indiegogo campaign launched to support the project.

“The site will feature a collection of activities that will help people—visitors and locals alike—to notice and evaluate the social signals given by the people around them,” says Shawn Lani, Senior Artist and head of the Exploratorium’s Outdoor Studio. “As they enjoy the parade of people along Market Street, they may be discovering something about those who live, work, and visit there.”

Exploratorium's LIZ is scheduled to open on October 29 as a dynamic public installation. Design details are still being fleshed out, but it's not too late to get in on the project. There are 40 days left in the fundraising campaign and $45,000 is still needed to reach the $75,000 goal. It's pretty cool to see the city supporting this level of creative collaboration. The hope is to create a strong community for the improvement of Market Street and the Mid-Market area, from the ground up. And so far, it's looking pretty good.