Public Space Authority has Arrived

“Man Jose.” I used to think this was a laughable and unfair nickname, but according to the 2015 American Community Survey, there are 134 men to 100 women among 20 and 30 year olds in San Jose. And according to pedestrian counts conduction by the San Jose Downtown Association, there is a gender imbalance of 57% men to 43% women frequenting downtown San Jose.

“Tan Jose.” Drive around town, and tell us how much you love beige buildings. If everyone wore all beige clothes, there would be no telling where people end and buildings begin. 

“San Jose is the Most Forgettable Major American City.” Although overly cruel, this quote, which is the title of a 2016 FiveThirtyEight article, paints a strong picture that there is something about San Jose and the surrounding Silicon Valley that escapes notability.

While these quotes are specific to San Jose, they are emblematic of the entire region known as Silicon Valley. Despite overwhelming wealth, the Valley owns a global outlook and vision, and this is reflected in the overall investment of our public spaces. Perhaps you love the suburban monotony, the domination of big box stores and chain restaurants, and the fact that if you did not know any better, you could drive through Silicon Valley and easily confuse it with any post WWII city in the country (excluding botanists and geographers). In our humble opinion, this is F*ing bullshit. As a global economic powerhouse, if Silicon Valley cannot build a better urban experience that benefits everyone, what is the point of a good economy? Why is the capital of global innovation limiting itself to technology? There are a world of problems to solve, and if our brightest minds can figure out how to make millions texting each other “Yo”,we  think that same brain juice and capital can figure out better ways to use land.

This is important because, contrary to popular opinion, a majority of people are struggling to make it in the Valley. But public spaces are the epitome of equality. They are intended for everyone, and when done right, they create a sense of place, safety, community, and culture that are hard to replicate otherwise. Public spaces are epicenters of dialogue and conversations. Going back to ancient Greece, public spaces, or agoras, were where those OG philosophers and citizens came together to hash out a little thing called democracy. In these strained political times, where the donkeys and the elephants are seething with incredulity, infighting and frustration, we need quality public spaces more than ever.

Enter Public Space Authority

Driven by two influential urban planners (Ryan Sebastian and Zach Lewis) with a track record of getting things done, we exist to bring life to public spaces, focused on getting people to put down their phones, leave the echo chambers of Facebook, and talk with their fellow citizens face to face in a beautiful public space. While the format may wiggle from place to place, our philosophy is pretty straight forward: elements of play, delicious food and beverages, local art, local retail, engaging events, and well designed seating and lighting can radically transform a public space into a hub of activity, conversation, and excitement. 

We look forward to bringing heaps of buenoness to San Jose and beyond via great Public Spaces designed for everyone and curated to reflect the specific neighborhood in question. Through these public spaces, we hope to create memories that can help erase the notion that San Jose, or any part of the Valley, could ever be considered forgettable.

Stay tuned for more updates on this blog. We are just getting started.

Ryan Sebastian