Help Re-imagine San Francisco by Contributing to the Market Street Prototyping Festival

Are you a maker, designer, planner or engineer? Are you interested in promoting civic innovation, advocating urban art and design, and improving city life?

If so, Autodesk is inviting people to employ their creative spirit by using our tools to imagine, design and create an original urban prototype for downtown San Francisco.

Autodesk is teaming up with the SF Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, the SF Planning Department and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts for the first-of-its-kind Market Street Prototyping Festival.

The festival is an unprecedented, community-based approach to redesigning and enhancing Market Street, the city’s main thoroughfare and civic backbone. Any person, business or nonprofit is welcome to submit a proposal that can be brought to life to physically demonstrate a new idea for improving Market Street by addressing one or more of the following goals:

  • Create a unique identity or “story” reflecting Market Street’s unique neighborhoods
    • Encourage and promote engagement between Market Street’s diverse populations
    • Increase invitations to relax, socialize, interact and enjoy
    • Improve pathways and relationships between neighboring areas to help find common ground
    • Make the street more welcoming to underrepresented populations
    • Address micro-climates along Market Street
    • Improve the aesthetic experience of buildings and landscaping

Submissions are expected to include a wide variety of projects such as creative forms of street furniture, performance art, interactive maps and signage, and new styles of lighting. The most promising prototypes have the potential to become more robust installations along Market Street through the city’s “Make Your Market” initiative and the “Better Market Street” project. In spring 2015, finalists will display their work to more than 300,000 people on Market Street from the Embarcadero to Van Ness Avenue, spanning nearly two miles in the heart of downtown.

1“Whispering Dishes” on Market between 3rd and 4th Streets was the result of a partnership between the Exploratorium and San Francisco to create a “living innovation zone.” (Photo courtesy of Shawn Lani via OpenCity Projects)

Autodesk is supporting the event as technology sponsor by providing world-class design and fabrication tools free of charge to participating teams. Participants are encouraged to document their process using Autodesk’s Instructables platform, and by doing so, will be eligible to win a prize perfect for makers.

Autodesk will also be directly engaged with the festival’s Embarcadero District as “block captain.” Corresponding responsibilities include supporting 10 finalist teams chosen to display their prototypes in the district during the three-day festival, and developing a special Autodesk prototype that will serve as the central icon of the district during the event.

Up to 50 projects will be chosen from hundreds of submissions from around the world. Matched with one of five Festival Districts on Market Street (Civic Center, Central Market, Retail Heart, Financial District and Embarcadero), selected project teams will receive a $2,000 stipend for materials and work directly with a District Captain and Community Cohort to shape the implementation of their designs. Public-engagement events held later this year will allow additional input from the community for further exploration of each prototype’s goals.


How to Participate

Whether you're a professional, hobbyist or student, your ideas are welcome and could help make Market Street one of the most vibrant corridors in America. The Market Street Prototyping Festival open call for proposals runs through September 2, after which a jury will select the top submissions to be presented at the festival next spring.

Share festival news and ideas with your social communities using the Twitter hashtag #marketstprototyping and keep us in the loop on your projects by tweeting @Autodesk and @Instructables.

Happy prototyping!