Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Lincoln Park: Car Companies Start Designing the Cities They Drive In 

Wednesday, Oct 23 2013

Modern architecture isn't exactly the first thing that comes to mind when you see a Lincoln automobile — the huge, lumbering car your grandfather drove to pick you up from kindergarten, with its vinyl upholstery, ashtray full of stubbed-out Pall Malls, and tape deck playing hit songs by Betty Boop or Commander Cody (whose song "Hod Rod Lincoln" wafted over the radio waves in 1955). But now Lincoln's decided to rebrand itself with The Lincoln Reimagine Project, a $1.2 million undertaking through which the company plans to fund new urban developments and "technological eco-systems."

Its latest such ecosystem is the Portola neighborhood in San Francisco, a realm of single family homes and mom-and-pop doughnut shops that eerily fits the old, boaty Lincolns of yore. It's a match made in wood-paneled, vinyl-sided, vintage 1971 heaven. But now, the car company pitches itself as a luxury brand, while the neighborhood says it's sitting on the cusp of revitalization.

So, this past summer, Lincoln signed on as a major partner in the 1 Burrows Street pocket park, a small, green, public plaza to be erected in an underused neighborhood cul-de-sac for an estimated $200,000. Conceived by architect Reaz Haque of the local organization Architecture for Humanity, with help from the Portola Neighborhood Association, the new car-sponsored development will transform an erstwhile dumping ground (literally a dumping ground; specifically, for old toilets) into a local asset. Lincoln says the pocket park helps illustrate its "holistic" approach to automobile design. And to the company's credit, reimagining the terrain of a city is a holistic form of automaking, indeed.

About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"