I am a community builder and convener.

I invite people to reimagine their cities and their relationship to place through creativity and participatory design.




[freespace] is an international movement to turn vacant spaces into temporary community and cultural hubs. Ilana co-founded [freespace] in San Francisco in 2013, and it has since spread to 10 cities in eight countries.

the hall

The Hall was an interim-use (phase zero) project in a formerly vacant space in the heart of San Francisco's Mid-Market neighborhood. Ilana programmed the space with free events for the community, non-profit fundraisers, jobs fairs, and community-building experiences.


creative placemaking

In 2018, Ilana and a team of international creative placemakers and humanitarians worked with refugees in Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda to help identify and secure resources to build cultural infrastructure, such as an outdoor amphitheater.


Ilana speaks at academic and business conferences, universities and graduate schools, think tanks and workshops. 

Watch: Ilana at Presidio Graduate School 

Also featured at:

EARTH X Ed Tx Talks: Investing in Community as a Climate Change Mitigation Strategy | April 26, 2019

Redwood City Parks and Arts Foundation: Downtown Park Opportunities Speaker Series | April 11, 2019

SF Parks Alliance Partner Conference: Crafting Community: Creating Successful Spaces through Art and Activation | March 2, 2019

Night of Ideas SF: Welcoming City | Feb 2, 2019

SPUR: Food Halls: Flash in the Pan or Here to Stay? | July 27, 2017

Urban Land Institute: Winning Public Engagement: A Case Study on 1028 Market Street | July 20, 2017

Placemaking and Civic Tech: Opportunities for Collaboration | March 16, 2016

San Francisco State University | February 25, 2016

American Institute of Architecture NEXTSF Conference | November 12, 2015

American Planning Association - California Conference | October 6, 2015

Inflection Point with Lauren Schiller radio show | Aired September 17, 2015 

Boston University Executive Development Roundtable Workshop | May 13, 2015

Pomona College | April 28, 2015

SPUR (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association) Panel | September 23, 2014

Dancer's Discourse Project Panel | August 12, 2014



Experts offer up park ideas in Redwood City | The Daily Journal | April 19, 2019

The Changemaker Who Realized Problems Couldn't Be Arrested Away | Medium | August 28, 2016

S.F. Job Fair Brings Cops, Tech and Homeless Together | Next City | August 12, 2016

SF job fair puts Tenderloin residents on track to employment | SF Chronicle | July 15, 2016

6th and Market development seeks professional artist(s) for public installation |Hoodline | February 23, 2016

The Hall Celebrates First Anniversary, Prepares for Future Development | Hoodline | November 3, 2015

'Super Pop-up' food hall feeds into SF's plans for Mid-Market | SF Chronicle | September 3, 2014

Hacktivation event seeks ways for tech to help SF Homeless | SF Chronicle | March 28, 2014

San Francisco's untouchables | SF Bay Guardian | March 25, 2014

Freespace | Channel News Asia | November 19, 2013 

Talking with the freethinker behind freespace | J. Weekly | August 29, 2013

Boxes in Space | SF Bay Guardian | August 13, 2013

Work + Play = Freespace | SF Chronicle | July 26, 2013