Off The Grid

This course was concerned with the production of public space as social space through temporary food-centered interventions in the city

Taking on San Francisco’s food truck-based markets as a manifestation of temporary social space, this seminar explores the layers and scales of their physical definition, as well as the dynamic interactions of those programming and using the space with the goal to develop mobile social infrastructures that catalyze new urban conditions and events within the framework of these markets. The seminar was part of a one-year collaboration with Off the Grid, the second semester of which was a Building Technology Elective that built full-scale prototypes based on the design concepts generated in the Active Urbanism seminar.

Students developed propositions for mobile food market infrastructure such as seating, lighting, way-finding, and new concepts for stage set-ups through the lens of specific construction methods that lend themselves to temporary deployment and quick set-up. Some projects operated at the scale of product design, adding small components to the existing folding chairs. Other proposals generated a range of spaces using all sides of the food trucks as additional spatial definitions. Yet others proposed interventions where people wait in line for their order in front of the food trucks, turning them into a space for interaction and games. Two of the proposals were converted into full-scale prototypes during the second semester.

One of the prototypes was displayed during the Market Street Prototyping Festival in Spring 2015.