Public Space and Public Life Studies
Public Life Surveys are critical to our understanding how public spaces function. Through careful and systematic observation we are able to understand if public spaces serve the needs of people. These needs include dimensions of comfort, safety, and ease of mobility for pedestrians. Surveys include counting of pedestrians and cyclists; and inventory of stationary activities and behaviors.
The findings of surveys can inform strategies to change the public realm, as well as help us understand the impacts of changes. Have our changes to the City increased or decreased the number of people walking, and, the 'walkability' of the City? Gathering data on pedestrians at regular intervals provides important tests for how a city performs for the people who use it, giving everyone a good idea of where to focus future efforts. For cities that have never counted people, the first pedestrian counts are the most important, because these counts establish a baseline for future comparisons.
By conducting a survey of stationary pedestrians in public areas, we learn when, where, and why people are using public spaces. Understanding this basic information can lead to ideas about how the space can function better to support a lively atmosphere, as well as how to improve the quality of the space.
On this page, you can access reports produced or commissioned by the San Francisco Planning Department. If you have any questions related to methodology, reports, raw data, or anything else, please use the contact below.
Robin Abad Ocubillo and Svetha Ambati, SF Planning, January 2017
Rachelle Sarmiento, SF Planning, August 2016
PData Collection Methodology
Gene Stroman, SF Planning, May 2015
Map of Studies
Pre- and Post-Occupancy
SF Planning, June 2016
Stella Kim, SF Planning, June 2016
Pre- and Post-Occupancy
Gehl Studio San Francisco for SF Planning, December 2015
Amir Hajrasoulina, SF Planning, January 2015
Pre- and Post-Occupancy Studies
Justin Panganiban and Robin Abad Ocubillo, SF Planning, August 2014
Pilot Evaluation Study
MKThink for SF Planning, December 2013
Robin Abad Ocubillo, SF Planning 2013-2014
Nicholas Perry, SF Planning, May 2013
Robin Abad Ocubillo, SF Planning, March 2013
Alexandra Sweet, SF Planning, September 2010
Adam Popper, SF Planning, March 2010
Gehl Architects for SF Planning, April 2009
Melinda Alice Stockman, SF Planning, August 2008
Chee F. Chan, SF Planning, August 2007
SF Planning Department
Robin Abad Ocubillo, Program Manager
City Design Group
Svetha Ambati, Program Coordinator
Information & Analysis Group