Soon Humans Will Rent Patches Of Land In A Public San Francisco Park

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

This detail would even feel heavy-handed in a novel about a dystopian future ruled by the libertarian tech elite, but here you go: in San Francisco’s Dolores Park, people will be able to reserve chunks of the park as part of a two-month pilot program by the Recreation and Parks Department. You can make the reservations online (or on the phone, as they clarified), and it costs money—$33-$260 depending on group size, plus a $200 security deposit. Staffers will be around to uphold reservations and ensure cleanliness on the weekends.

Many parks allow you to reserve eating areas or playing fields for organized sports, but, as SFist notes, the areas in question are “straight up sections of grass.” This program has some SF residents, like Board of Supervisors member Jane Kim, pretty uncomfortable:


There’s probably no better quick encapsulation of how fast San Francisco has become a parceled-out playground for a class of moneyed, efficiency-fetishizing manchildren. The very concept of a public park hinges on the idea that it’s good for everyone in the community to mingle in one place. Dolores Park—one of the city’s most famous—belongs to that community, and reserving out patches of expensive-ass grass via a website reads as a “fuck you” to the students, longtime residents, fixie kids, crusty drug weirdos, tourists, families, and every other group that wants to enjoy the park besides the rich who can pay for a place to sit in the sunshine.

Class disparity is visible enough in places like San Francisco. When a city—already increasingly unaffordable for old residents, awash in new money—decides to carve up its own public space and sell it to whoever can afford it, you have to wonder if it relishes self-parody.