City of San Francisco Tests Public Outreach Tool for ‘Better Market Street’


The San Francisco Department of Public Works is a world-class public works organization that contributes to making San Francisco a beautiful, livable, vibrant, safe and sustainable city. DPW enhances the qualityof life in San Francisco by providing outstanding public service.


The Better Market Street projects aims to build a new Market Street that is more beautiful and green; has enlivened public plazas and sidewalks full of cafes; showcases public art and performances; provides dedicated bicycle facilities; and delivers efficient and reliable transit.


- City staff sought widespread public input on Better Market Street project.

- 272 out of city’s 700,000 people attended recent public meetings
Nearly one third of those surveyed were uninformed of project 

- Public meetings attempted to communicate project design options

- Residents had difficulty visualizing project designs


SFDPW Director Mohammed Nuru looking through Owlized OWL digital viewfinder

- OWL digital viewfinder deployed to corner of 6th Street and Market Street for one week

- Two Market Street design options visualized inside OWL

- Users could toggle back and forth between designs while looking up and down the street by moving OWL head left and right.



- 500+ people viewed Better Market Street design options through OWL
- 15 people used the OWL every hour
- 98% of users said they felt “more informed” about Better Market Street
- 37% were introduced to Better Market Street project for first time
- 99% said they would like to use an OWL again to visualize proposed city project designs
- 85% of users said OWL was “very helpful” or "helpful" for understanding proposed design options
- 52% lived in the neighborhood
- 49% worked in the neighborhood
- 77% lived in San Francisco



“The OWL quite literally is virtual reality, an immersive and far more intuitive way to see space than our traditional plan-views, sections, or even renderings.”

--Neil Hrushowy, City Design Group Manager, San Francisco Planning Department


“The potential for the OWL device is virtually unlimited. I see it being valuable for really anyone who wants to communicate any type of design.”

--Tristan Randall, Special Projects Executive, Autodesk


“When I first looked through the OWL and looked at the 3D visualization, I was actually super surprised at how powerful it was to me, because there was a kind of focus I could have. And I think that kind of focus was what many people felt. They were able to get into that potential future in a different way, in a way they couldn’t through a 2D drawing.”

--Kelli Rudnick, Assistant Project Manager, Better Market Street,

San Francisco Department of Public Works