Grow Urban A Tree Planting Movement

Grow Urban- A Tree Planting Movement

What and Where

There are over 200 missing street trees in downtown San Diego, many more are dying or need to be replaced. Planting trees is one of the most significant ways to improve the social, mental, environmental health and economic well-being of the city. URBAN INTERVENTIONS created and partially funded an effort to replant missing street trees throughout downtown working with San Diego Partnership’s Clean & Safe program. This has been embraced by and expanded into a larger ongoing initiative attracting grants and funds from businesses and organizations.

Art for Trees Catalogue

What and Why

Utilizing art created by partner Pete Garcia, URBAN INTERVENTIONS is able to contribute 100% of the proceeds to worthy initiatives and causes. This has included supporting first-year college students at SDSU, who are the first in their families to attend a university. Currently, proceeds from the catalogue are supporting Grow Urban in providing funds to plant missing street trees in downtown. To access the catalogue here’s the link.

13th Street refresh

13th Street Refresh

What and Where

Demonstrating that simple interventions can improve the appeal of any street, URBAN INTERVENTIONS worked with local property owners along a single block in downtown San Diego’s East Village. Fixing a broken streetlamp, replanting a missing tree, removing barbwire fencing and a general clean-up made a huge difference.

Street Stories

What and Where

A free pop-up street-poet happening on the evening of December 14, 2018 created and funded by URBAN INTERVENTIONS. The goal was to bring together the disparate communities of downtown to share stories on the themes of Compassion, Community and Tolerance – featuring three well known story-tellers Gil Sotu, Bridget Gray and Viet Mah accompanied by a saxophone and bongo drums. The East Village location was revealed one hour before the event via social media.


Window Stories

What and Where

Window Stories is a public art project created and partly funded by URBAN INTERVENTIONS to enhance the public space along E Street in San Diego’s East Village (downtown San Diego). It transformed a large wall of the Salvation Army retail store, that was frequently tagged, to tell four unique stories through 3-dimensional “windows” with light and motion-activated sound. While designed as impermanent, the 4 light boxes have been up since May 2018. Tagging has essentially stopped, and the nearby area transformed. The installation has been embraced by the local community, including area homeless.

Anthony Ghiglia and Pete Garcia IDEA1

Construction Fence Stories

What and Where

Nothing is more boring, impersonal, and a big target for taggers in a city than a construction fence, but certainly not the one for IDEA1 – a project in downtown San Diego. A bold black and white painted geometric design on its construction fence served as the perfect background for a series of revolving “Stories” painted on 4′ X 8′ plywood sheets by students of the K-8 school Urban Discovery Academy located across the street. The “Stories” were replaced by new editions as previous ones were taken down and auctioned to raise funds for the school.


This project fostered a new spirit of community collaboration – a win-win for the students and school to raise funds and for the community who got to enjoy the aesthetic value of the construction fence, including the benefit of only having a handful of tags in 18 months.

Bringing Art to San Diego Civic Center Plaza

What and Where

The Plaza is the civic heart of downtown and the seat of City Government. As such, it reflects how the City views itself and viewed by others. It’s a place for convening, but needs to be refreshed and enhanced to celebrate the art and culture of our region.


This proposed, work-in-progress initiative will be a collaboration between URBAN INTERVENTIONS, the Institute of Contemporary Art, San Diego (ICA, SD), and the City of San Diego Arts & Culture Commission – the goal is to enhance the Plaza by installing temporary vinyl prints of existing work from local artists. The art will be rotated every six months, and all expenses would be covered by URBAN INTERVENTIONS and ICA, SD.


Storefront Stories

What and Where

COVID affected many aspects of downtown life, including the closure of many small businesses and restaurants along major streets. The goal was to enhance downtown for pedestrians during this period by transforming empty storefronts into whimsical, engaging, entertaining, and artistic displays. With the theme “Love in the Time of COVID” the storefronts would be designed and installed by local artists in collaboration with creative businesses, and stakeholders. Venues would be concentrated into one to three block area(s) that enjoyed foot traffic for maximum effect.

Sidewalk Park

School Sidewalk Park

What and Where

URBAN INTERVENTIONS created this concept for Urban Discovery Academy, a charter K-8 school located on 14th Street in San Diego’s East Village neighborhood. It explores ways to connect the local school to the community by enhancing the sidewalk and street experience adjacent to the school. 14th Street is a designated “green street” as part of the City of San Diego’s downtown plan.


Zoltar Speaks

With large urban footprints, many cities struggle to activate streets to attract pedestrian traffic. Healthy cities require a delicate balance of density with housing, jobs, retail, entertainment and public places like parks, plazas and gathering spaces. Zoltar is designed to be an unexpected and fun way to bring people to a specific location. It’s temporary, can be moved and programmed to do many different things – entertain, educate, and/or engage.

What and Where

An interactive display that can be relocated as needed.