Press Releases

What’s Out There Weekend – September 17-18 – Free Two-Day Celebration of San Francisco’s “Mostly Modern” Parks, Gardens & Public Spaces

Free Tours of Twenty-Five Free, Publicly Accessible Sites throughout San Francisco –
September 15 Launch Event Room & Board Store –
Weekend Promotional by Hotel Rex

Washington, DC (July 7, 2011) – On September 17-18 in San Francisco, The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) will host What’s Out There Weekend San Francisco, providing residents and visitors an opportunity to discover and explore twenty-five free, publicly accessible sites in the Bay Area. The theme of the event is “Mostly Modern,” as most of the sites are Modernist. San Francisco and the Bay Area have the broadest and most diverse Modernist landscape legacy in the country - places people pass by on a daily basis, but do we know their background stories? Expert guides will provide free tours of San Francisco parks, plazas, and gardens designed by some of America’s greatest landscape architects including Lawrence Halprin, Ted Osmundson, Robert Royston, and others. A companion What’s Out There Weekend San Francisco Web site features downloadable information about all the locations and a schedule of tours.

The weekend is an extension of the What’s Out There database of America’s designed landscapes. The free, online, searchable, Wiki-format, and vetted database hosts illustrated entries about more than 1,000 parks, gardens and open spaces throughout the US.

What’s Out There Weekend Sites
Bowden Park
Civic Center Plaza
Embarcadero - Justin Herman Plaza
Fay Park
Fort Mason Center Campus
Ghirardelli Square
Golden Gate Park Japanese Tea Garden
Golden Gateway Center
Greenwood Common
Kaiser Center Roof Garden
Lands End
Levi’s Plaza
Market Street Corridor
Mitchell Park
Oakland Museum of California
One Maritime Plaza
Pine Lake Park & Stern Grove
Santa Clara Central Park
St. Francis Wood
Sutro Baths
Sutro Heights Park
Sydney G. Walton Square
UC Berkeley Campus
United Nations Plaza

What’s Out There Weekend is made possible by the significant partnership of SPUR (San Francisco Planning & Urban Research Association) and the generous support of national partner Bartlett Tree Experts,  and also the support of local partners San Francisco Recreation & Parks, the Hotel Rex, and Room & Board. Additional support comes from AECOM, Sasaki, SWA, Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture, CMG, Dillingham Associates, Fisher Development Inc, Quarry House, ROMA Design Group, Royston Hanamoto Alley + Abey, Stephen Wheeler Landscape Architects, and Topher Delaney SEAM Studio.

Launch Event
A launch party for the weekend will take place on Thursday, September 15, from 5:30-7:30PM, at the Room & Board store at 685 Seventh Street. A drawing will be held for a $250 Room & Board gift certificate and along book signing for local landscape architecture publications.

Hotel Rex Promotion
The Hotel Rex, a Joie de Vivre hotel, is offering a free two-night stay for two prizewinners. Enter TCLF’s competition to win by submitting a high-resolution photo or a short essay about your favorite Bay Area landscape – deadline is August 15th. The Hotel Rex is also offering a 15% discount during the weekend to anyone who uses the booking code wbclf or registers via

What’s Out There Database
What’s Out There Weekend dovetails with the Web-based What’s Out There database (WOT), launched in October 2009, the most comprehensive, searchable database of the nation’s designed landscapes. The database spans more than two centuries of American landscape design and is searchable by landscape name, locale, designer, type, and style. It’s profusely illustrated and includes a glossary of 27 types, 49 sub-types, and 14 styles, more than 1000 designer profiles and site entries, descriptions of some of our country’s most important cultural landscapes, and relevant links. The goal of the WOT database is to raise public awareness of the rich diversity and interconnectedness of our shared designed landscape heritage.

What is a cultural landscape?
A cultural landscape is a geographic area that includes cultural and natural resources associated with an historic event, activity, person, or group of people. Cultural landscapes can range from thousands of acres of parkland to small homesteads. There is a broad range of landscape types, including waterfronts, campuses, cemeteries, commemorative landscapes, and scenic highways. They exist in direct relationship to their ecological contexts. They are works of art, narratives of cultures, and expressions of regional identity.

Sponsors and Partners’ Remarks
"Historic landscapes add so much to the fabric of life in our cities and towns," said Scott Jamieson, vice president of Bartlett Tree Experts. "As a company that has been helping to preserve the integrity of these landscapes for more than a hundred years, Bartlett is pleased to be able to help build awareness of these special places in our midst."

“What’s Out There Weekend San Francisco is a free and easy way to experience the city’s incredible wealth of landscape architecture and to better understand who created these remarkable parks and public spaces,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, president of The Cultural Landscape Foundation. “The Bay Area has an unrivaled collection of designed landscapes, particularly Modernist ones, which can be seen on the What’s Out There section of TCLF’s Web site.”

"SF Rec and Parks’ mission is to encourage everyone to get out and play, and we appreciate having community partners like the Cultural Landscape Foundation who help us carry out our mission," said Phil Ginsburg, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager.

About SPUR
SPUR is the Bay Area's good government and good planning think tank. However, it is unique -- in perhaps the entire country -- in that the SPUR policies are devised through community-based work, based in thorough and nonpartisan research; Furthermore, SPUR puts its ideas into action, producing over 100 public education events and advocacy. In a city dominated by single-interest politics, SPUR plays the crucial role of uniting citizens to jointly craft solutions to our common problems. For more information, visit

About San Francisco Recreation & Parks
The roots of San Francisco's Recreation and Parks Department stretch back to the 1870s, when city officials, responding to residents' demands for a large public park, established a Park Commission to oversee the development of Golden Gate Park. Over the years, many more parks were added to the system, and playgrounds, athletic fields, and recreational facilities were developed under the auspices of the Recreation Commission. In 1950, the two commissions were merged, and the modern Recreation and Park Department was born. Today the department, overseen by the Recreation and Park Commission, administers more than 220 parks, playgrounds, and open spaces, including two outside the city limits. The system includes 25 recreation centers, nine swimming pools, five golf courses and numerous tennis courts, ball diamonds, soccer fields and other sports venues. Included in the department's responsibilities are the Marina Yacht Harbor, Candlestick Park, the San Francisco Zoo, and the Lake Merced Complex.

About Bartlett Tree Experts
For over a century, Bartlett Tree Experts has developed and implemented sustainable practices that help landscapes thrive. Founded in 1907, Bartlett is a research-driven, family-owned and operated tree care company with offices in 27 U.S. states, Canada, Ireland and Great Britain. Bartlett's services and products – all developed through our own tree research laboratory and experimental grounds - improve the preservation, management planning and care for trees. Bartlett is the only private company in the National Plant Diagnostic Network, a consortium of government agencies and universities providing rapid diagnosis of plant pests and diseases.

About Hotel Rex and Joie the Vivre Hotels
Founded in 1987 by Chip Conley, San Francisco-based Joie de Vivre manages nearly 40 boutique hotels, more than 20 restaurants and five spas in California. The company is recognized for creating some of the most innovative hospitality services and products and designing one-of-a-kind properties. As California’s largest boutique hotel collection, Joie de Vivre Hotels is becoming the hotel brand synonymous with the California travel experience, offering a wide range of unique urban, suburban and waterfront boutique hotels that cater to leisure and business travelers in all market segments.

About National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Modernism + The Recent Past
The significant buildings, landscapes, and sites of the Modern movement and the important architectural, social, and cultural resources of the past 50 years are among the most underappreciated and vulnerable aspects of our nation’s heritage. Day by day, a steady campaign of demolition erodes the physical fabric of the recent past, with little consideration of its community importance, design significance, or role in creating a sustainable future. TrustModern, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Modernism + Recent Past program, challenges the nation to change how we view, steward, and preserve the architectural and cultural heritage of the recent past before more landmarks are lost.

About Room & Board
Room & Board is a Minneapolis-based furniture retailer offering unique home furnishings that combine classic, simple designs and exceptional quality using natural materials. Ninety percent of its furniture is manufactured in America. Room & Board is proud of its commitment to supporting American manufacturers and small, family-owned businesses. Room & Board professionals have helped many consumers furnish their homes, translating their passion for well-designed home furnishings into outstanding value for customers. Room & Board opened its eleventh store at 1840 14th Street, NW in Washington, D.C. in June, 2010 in the former Taylor Motors Building, which they restored to its original 1919 luster. With stores in Minneapolis, Chicago, Denver, Orange County, San Francisco, Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles, Room & Board’s unique collection of home furnishings is also available nationally through

About The Cultural Landscape Foundation
The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) provides people with the ability to see, understand and value landscape architecture and its practitioners, in the way many people have learned to do with buildings and their designers. Through its Web site, lectures, outreach and publishing, TCLF broadens the support and understanding for cultural landscapes nationwide to help safeguard our priceless heritage for future generations. TCLF makes a special effort to heighten the awareness of those who impact cultural landscapes, assist groups and organizations working to increase the appreciation and recognition of cultural landscapes, and develop educational tools for young people to better connect them to their cultural landscape environs.