Bringing moments of color, whimsy, and joy to Downtown’s public spaces

What is Beautification & Placemaking?

As urbanist and visionary, Jane Jacobs, exclaimed, “Downtowns are for people.” The Downtown San Diego Partnership Clean & Safe program is dedicated to making Downtown’s urban neighborhoods clean, safe, and thriving.  Through our placemaking and beautification efforts we create moments of color, whimsy, and joy to help our neighborhoods thrive. Transforming our public realm – the streets, sidewalks, and public spaces that tie our neighborhoods together – into engaging, colorful, and welcoming places for all users is at the heart of placemaking and we see it as one of Downtown’s biggest opportunities. 


previous projects

Grow Urban:

The Downtown San Diego Partnership and URBAN INTERVENTIONS have come together to launch Grow Urban, an initiative to replace all of Downtown’s missing street trees and help our urban canopy thrive. Since its inception in 2019, the Grow Urban initiative has planted more than 200 trees in Downtown!


Corner Planters :

The DSDP Clean & Safe Program maintains custom-designed corner planters in the City Center, Cortez, Columbia District, and Marina neighborhoods. These planters enhance the pedestrian experience and reinforce each neighborhood’s unique identity.




Pole-to-Pole Lighting:

As part of our goal to improve walkability along Downtown’s primary pedestrian corridors, the DSDP Clean & Safe program has partnered with several neighborhood organizations to install pole-to-pole lighting to increase visibility at night and enhance the pedestrian experience.




Holiday Décor:

The DSDP Clean & Safe Program installs and maintains decorative bows lights, and garland during the winter holiday season along primary pedestrian corridors in City Center, Cortez, Columbia District, and Marina neighborhoods.





Columbia District Gateway:

The DSDP Clean & Safe program transformed a the southeast corner of Kettner Avenue and Ash Street from a plot of dirt into a colorful gateway to the Columbia district, featuring a mural and new landscaping.




Marina Gateway:

The DSDP Clean & Safe Program transformed a median on Market Street in the Marina neighborhood into a vibrant gateway with the addition of colorful seasonal plantings and decorative fencing, thus enhancing this major entry point into Downtown.




Neighborhood Banners:

Each of the six neighborhoods within the DSDP Clean & Safe Program’s boundaries have their own unique history and character. To further enhance the identities of each neighborhood and improve the pedestrian experience, the Clean & Safe Program installs and maintains distinctive neighborhood pole banners along primary pedestrian corridors in the City Center, Cortez, Columbia District, and Marina neighborhoods.


The DSDP Clean & Safe Program works with local artists and partners with private businesses and non-profit organizations to bring public art to the walls of Downtown. Beginning in 2019 the Clean & Safe Program became a founding supporter of Ladies Who Paint, an annual all female artist mural festival held each fall in Downtown. In 2021 we initiated an annual Call for Artists program to bring the talents of local artists to our urban neighborhoods.




San Diego Black Pioneers of Downtown:

In celebration of the contributions of Black San Diegan’s to our city, the DSDP Clean & Safe Program commissioned local artist Raquel Rhone to design banner honoring the legacy of civil rights advocates, athletes, teachers, business owners, public safety officers and more. The banners are on display every June and February along Market Street.




All Black Lives Matter Banners:

To inspire ongoing conversations about the importance of equity and justice, residents, visitors and the Downtown workforce were greeted with a art installation along Broadway highlighting the work of San Diego-based artist Anthony Tyson. Tyson’s pieces, which were on display during the summer of 2020, elegantly showed the message that Black lives of every age, gender, preference, past and future matter. The project continued the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s efforts to foster a greater sense of cultural vibrancy in Downtown through placemaking.



Utility Box Historical Wraps:

Once a notorious “red light” district, the Gaslamp Quarter now boasts a lively array of shops and restaurants that draw visitors from all over the world. However, look around and you’ll see nineteenth-century architecture gems and beautifully renovated historic buildings. Throughout the Gaslamp we’ve taken utility boxes and wrapped them with historic images telling the stories from days gone by. Check them out at each intersection in the Gaslamp Quarter!




Utility Box Art:

The DSDP Clean & Safe Program actively works with local artists to brighten Downtown’s streetscapes. You can find utility box art across various neighborhoods of Downtown as way of enhancing the everyday pedestrian experience.

Downtown Mobility Assessments:

As part of our goal to improve pedestrian safety and comfort in Downtown, the Downtown San Diego Partnership Clean & Safe program has partnered with the Columbia Community Foundation, Cortez Hill Active Residents Group and City Center Business Improvement District to conduct mobility assessments in Columbia District, Cortez and City Center. The mobility assessments and accompanying recommendations are currently being used to implement various mobility projects in each neighborhood. 



Artistic Bike Racks:

In partnership with the Columbia Community Foundation, the Downtown Partnership commissioned the design and installation of innovative and one-of-a -kind bike racks in the Columbia District. The bike racks not only facilitate additional bicycle parking but also provide seating opportunities and neighborhood branding. The artistic bike racks are being installed adjacent to transit stops and office buildings throughout the Columbia District.



Pedestrian Wayfinding:

Due to Downtown’s one-way street network and most street name signs being oriented for automobiles and not people, it can be difficult for pedestrians to navigate Downtown. To remedy this, the Downtown Partnership Clean & Safe program has partnered with the Cortez Hill Active Residents Group and the Columbia Community Foundation to install custom street name signs at intersections throughout those neighborhoods. The signs are distinctive to each neighborhood and contribute to improved walkability.

Downtown Insider’s Guide:

The Downtown Insider’s Guide is a free map highlighting more than 36 walkable activities and destinations. Categories include attractions and museums, theatres, parks, and more. It also includes insider tips on ways to get around town, a fun bucket list, and points out landmarks for art public art and other installations across Downtown. The Insider’s Guide is a must-have to explore Downtown San Diego and can be found at the Downtown Partnership offices as well as other destinations in Downtown. 

Curbside San Diego:

An initiative of the Downtown San Diego Partnership and 12 other community, business, mobility, industry and environmental organizations, Curbside San Diego is a initiative to support Downtown’s ground floor eateries and retail stores by advocating for creative and flexible use of streets, sidewalks and parking for outdoor dining, seating and designated waiting areas. 



Discover Downtown:

We’ve curated walking tours of Downtown’s neighborhoods—City Center, Columbia District, Cortez and Marina—and highlighted the street art, architectural wonders, and other hidden gems found in the East Village and Gaslamp Quarter. Pull out your smart phone and start exploring another side of Downtown San Diego! Learn more.  


Interested in partnering with us on placemaking events or beautification? We want to connect with you!