San Francisco, CA – September 5th, 2013 – Today the Exploratorium announces its role as lead design partner on the first of 10 Living Innovation Zones – new public spaces on San Francisco’s Market Street – that enable collaboration between the community, innovators, and the City to enhance public good, encourage exploration, and showcase innovation. The creation of the Exploratorium Living Innovation Zone (LIZ) will feature an interactive design process that incorporates public input and iterative prototyping at the project’s future site, on Market Street, at Yerba Buena Lane, between 3rd and 4th streets. The Exploratorium is launching an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to support the project.
“The City is partnering with the Exploratorium, one of the most innovative and loved places in our world-class City, to launch San Francisco’s first Living Innovation Zone in the Yerba Buena neighborhood,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “And what better place than the Exploratorium to help shape a fantastic new public space, in an educational, engaging, provocative, and playful way, all at the same time.”
As part of the project launch, the Exploratorium is inviting the public to participate in a “Sketch-In” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today, September 5, 2013, at the project’s future site, on Market Street, at Yerba Buena Lane, between 3rd and 4th streets. Shawn Lani, Senior Artist and head of the Exploratorium’s Outdoor Studio, will lead the collaborative drawing and brainstorming session that will help shape the project.
“Opening our design process harnesses the intelligence and insights of the Market Street travellers and community,” says Lani. “The mission of the Exploratorium is to change how the world learns. If you’re going to change how the world learns, you have to go out to where the world learns every day. Where does our museum experience start and does it need to end? What role do we have to play in the kinds of transformational urbanism taking place in San Francisco? Our hope is to contribute what we know about inquiry and place-based learning and be a part of an expanding conversation about the role of public institutions in public spaces”
Instigated by the Mayor's Office of Civic Innovation, San Francisco's Planning Department, and Better Market Street architectural advisors, Gehl and Associates, the LIZ program is a framework that allows groups to use city public spaces to prototype and demonstrate innovative solutions that improve the physical realm. The Exploratorium Living Innovation Zone (#ExploLIZ) will be the first LIZ to open to the public, on October 29, 2013. Designed by the Exploratorium’s Outdoor Design Studio team, the Exploratorium Living Innovation Zone will be a dynamic public space installation bringing new life to the street while offering an innovative lens through which passersby can see the neighborhood and natural phenomena in new ways.
“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 Lani. “As they enjoy the parade of people along Market Street, they may be discovering something about those who live, work, and visit there.”
While the design details are still in development, the funding for the Exploratorium project is the innovation story of the moment – an unusual public/private/crowd source partnership. Transportation Alternatives, with support from the Summit Foundation provided funding to kick-off the exhibit design process. Notably, the Exploratorium will raise the rest of the money through the San Francisco-based crowdfunding site Indiegogo. The campaign goal is a total of $75,000, with $25,000 secured as a match commitment from the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District (YBCBD). In keeping with the spirit of innovation, this is the Exploratorium’s first foray into crowd-sourced funding, where the Exploratorium will engage its fans to fund the project.
The Exploratorium’s online fundraising campaign will include such benefits as sketches of the Exploratorium Living Innovation Zone by the Outdoor Studio design artists ($55 level), exclusive ringtone compositions by Exploratorium sound artist Wayne Grim ($25 level), or behind-the-scenes tours of the Exploratorium and its exhibit design shops, along with a 3D-printed exhibit model ($500 level). The 45-day crowdfunding campaign kicks off September 5 at www.exploratorium.edu/LivingInnovationZone. Curious fans can follow the project’s progress on the design team’s Tumblr blog at http://exploliz.tumblr.com/, or share thoughts and ideas on Twitter using the hashtag #ExploLIZ.
About the The Living Innovation Zone Program (LIZ)
The Living Innovation Zone (LIZ) program aims to enhance the public realm with innovation, simplify permitting process for projects in public space and support innovators by providing real-world demonstration opportunities. LIZ sets forth a model to make it easier and less expensive for innovators, artists and designers to engage with specially designated public spaces in the City. These types of urban infrastructure “hacks” have already created new types of public space, community participation, and socio-cultural development in San Francisco via the success with parklets. LIZ seeks to build on these successes, providing innovators with a real-world setting to test new ideas, evaluate next generation technologies, collect data about impact on street activation and educate the public about innovative solutions. In doing so, LIZ aims to steer San Francisco’s tech and creative communities toward advancing sustainable community development, efficient government and a better quality of life for San Franciscans. To learn more about Living Innovation Zones, visit www.sfliz.com.
About The Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation (MOCI)
The Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation (MOCI) utilizes government as a platform for innovation. MOCI works closely with San Francisco residents and local creative and tech-minded communities to collectively design solutions and new approaches to long-standing challenges. MOCI has three strategic focus areas: economic development, citizen engagement, and government efficiency. To learn more, visit http://innovatesf.com or follow us on Twitter at @SFMOCI.