How public is a "public space" that requires you to sign in?

Presumably it is also behind a door marked "BEWARE OF THE LEOPARD".

The Roof Terrace at One Kearny shows why we're lucky that San Francisco requires downtown developers to provide space in their projects that is accessible to the public at large. [...]

But the only exterior hint that the terrace exists is a see-through sign etched into the glass at knee level by the front door. Once inside, a guard requires you to sign in before going farther.

Previously, previously.

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12 Responses:

  1. Nick Lamb says:

    Poor sign-posting can be / has been worked around by telling people these things exist. Whereas the idea of letting developers pay some fee instead of building such spaces at all just sounds like a roundabout way to create a new tax, and it's not as if the City doesn't already have tax-raising powers. Nobody is fooled, certainly not the multi-million dollar companies who own and build the type of construction covered here.

    The fact that after several successive mentions (I don't even live in your city and I'd heard of them) they're still empty most of the time suggests SF workers and residents don't need them after all.

    If they are needed it shouldn't be too hard to get the word out. If they aren't, then the city doesn't need to impose a new fee on developers it just needs to abolish this rule. If what is needed is acres of new parkland, well, the city needs to set aside a pile of tax money to buy up acres of real estate and knock all those buildings down, no amount of pestering sky scraper owners for a few square metres of space each will get it done.

    • jwz says:

      These spaces are almost all actively hostile to their discovery by, and use by, the actual public, so the fact that they are empty does not prove that they're not needed or wanted, it just proves that their design is a shitty match to their stated purpose.

      If I were walking by an outside park at One Kearny, I might well sit down and hang out for a while. But even though I know it's there, there's no way I'm ever going to bother entering an office building that I don't work in, signing in at the desk, and taking an elevator up to the roof.

      Constructing an area like that and pretending that it's a space for the use of the "public", rather than for just "the tenants of this building", is either disingenuous or delusional.

    • MattyJ says:

      " ... buy up acres of real estate and knock all those buildings down ..."

      Ha ha ha. Hilarious. Let us know when your next open mic gig is.

    • Sam says:

      Ignore the guard. They know they cant stop you and make you sign in.

      • jwz says:

        You know, normally I do that, but a few months ago I discovered a building where you cannot use the elevator until the rent-a-cop has pressed a button at the desk to "unlock" the floor you want to go to. So that trick doesn't always work.

  2. jmags says:

    Another instantiation of the fact that tons of people want to move to San Francisco despite the fact that they apparently loathe city life.

  3. NotTheBuddha says:

    How public is a "public space" that requires you to sign in?

    Perhaps we could measure its position along the public property-privately owned public venue scale by seeing how many LARPs a week they are willing to put up with?

    Signed, Azrael Abyss, Prince of Sorrows

  4. Gabriel Rosenkoetter says:

    Is there something to prevent me from signing in as "Mouse, Mickey"?