One of the best kept secrets of San Francisco is the POPO (not popover, but privately owned public open space). In the 1985 San Francisco downtown planning ordinance, ““to meet the needs of downtown workers, residents and visitors” requires 1 square foot of public space per 50 square feet of office space or hotels”, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Many of these spaces are on the rooftops of commercial buildings with great views of the City, or in open areas where you can enjoy your lunch in front of redwood trees or beautiful flowers. The owners of these private spaces have tried to hide these public areas for obvious reasons, but a recent update of the ordinance required these places to be noticeable to public with proper signage. You can take a tour of the San Francisco 15+ downtown POPOs here.
Update: 7×7 has just done an update of the secret hideouts and gardens in the financial district of San Francisco here. Lovely!
(photos courtesy of San Francisco Chronicle, sfpopos.com and sfist.com)