City’s “Most Greenified Block”: Pennsylvania Street Gardens

Urban makeover project wins first annual award

April 15, 2013 — Pennsylvania Street Gardens, a greening and beautification project in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood, is the winner of the first annual “Most Greenified Block” award, given by Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) to a block that has undergone the greatest green transformation.

Plants and trees fill a formerly blighted site

The gardens include hundreds of plant species

Neighborhood resident Annie Shaw started the project in 2008 when she began to plant greenery in a blighted plot of land owned by Caltrans, which was visible from her home. Over the next several years dozens of volunteers pitched in, permits and grants were obtained, and the project expanded to include three other sites in a two-block area along Pennsylvania Street between 17th and 18th streets. The team has cleared the sites of trash, installed walkways, and planted hundreds of species of plants and trees.

“The Most Greenified Block award is for neighbors who come together to transform their block by planting and caring for street trees and sidewalk gardens,” said FUF Executive Director Dan Flanagan. “Annie Shaw and her fellow organizers and volunteers have improved their neighborhood tremendously, and could not be more deserving of recognition.”

Before-and-after view of one of the garden sites

Before-and-after view of one of the garden sites

“I am thrilled to accept this award on behalf of all the volunteers who put in countless hours of work to make this garden a reality, despite many challenges over the years,” said Shaw.  “I especially thank Emily Gogol, who partnered with me in the development of this new garden.  I hope this garden shows that the community can come together to improve unloved spots, and that amazing organizations like Friends of the Urban Forest are available to help.”

Urban greening projects beautify the city, reduce storm-water runoff, calm traffic, relieve stress, bring neighbors together, and increase the likelihood that people will walk rather than drive.

Volunteers working in garden

Volunteers Emily (left) and Arum (right) at work

FUF will present the award to Shaw and other project participants on Sunday, April 21, the day before Earth Day. The event will begin at 11:00 a.m. at  the corner of 17th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., and the award presentation will happen at 11:15 a.m., followed by brief remarks.

Parking is available on Pennsylvania Ave.  The event is near MUNI bus routes #10 and #22.

High-resolution images of the Pennsylvania Street Gardens are available here.

About Friends of the Urban Forest

Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) helps individuals and neighborhood groups to plant and care for street trees and sidewalk gardens in San Francisco. Since 1981, FUF has planted more than 47,000 trees to reduce the city’s tree shortage. By greening the streets of San Francisco, FUF supports the health and livability of the urban environment.