Gore ParkSan Jose, CA
1stACT Silicon Valley is a cross-sector leadership network that is working to activate downtown San Jose as Silicon Valley’s City Center. 1stACT chose SoFA, San Jose’s arts and entertainment district, as an area to focus their direct placemaking efforts. The transformation of Gore Park is the capstone project in the SoFA effort. The project will expand a small pocket park into an urban plaza and “living room” for the adjacent arts organizations and surrounding neighborhoods.
ArtPlace asked Erika Justis, director of creative place for 1stACT, what would be different in the community as a result of the project:
JUSTIS: SoFA is an eclectic neighborhood with businesses ranging from art galleries and nightclubs, to a martial arts studio and climbing gym. The Gore Park project is designed to create a gathering place for the district that can be used by everyone. The Park is located at the southern gateway into the downtown. It will add to the identity of the SoFA district as a diverse, welcoming and open place where creativity and individuality are nurtured. It will become one of the most accessible and user-friendly public spaces in the downtown. We are simplifying the event permitting process and have integrated programming amenities such as power and flexible space into the design.
Additionally, the project is serving as a test case and proving ground for private/public collaboration in placemaking. With the elimination of redevelopment funding in California, partnerships such as this one between 1stACT and the City of San Jose will become increasingly important to community-building efforts. The project has afforded an opportunity to develop new approaches and strategies and has provided several lessons that will be valuable to future efforts.