Living local, urban design, sustainability, landscape architecture, and places in the East Bay. Design that works where it is.
They’re called parklets but they’re often more like outdoor café dining areas. These sidewalk extensions are parklets because of their roots. In 2005, the clever folks at ReBar had a plan to take back some of the space reserved for vehicles and turn parking spaces into little parks, or parklets. They can be used for any public use: galleries, bike parking, space to relax, but they are frequently used as café seating.
To take over a couple of parking spaces, most cities require a permit, an annual fee, neighbors’ buy-in, and a decent design. Parklets are privately funded and maintained but they’re public open space and accessible to everyone. You don’t have to buy a cup of coffee to hang out. Parklets are temporary – they exist as long as the host maintains the permit and the city thinks it’s a benefit to the community. As such, parklets are a form of tactical urbanism or urban prototyping. I’ll discuss that movement in a future post.
The remarkable thing about parklets is they are a cost-effective form of placemaking. Everyone wins:
What more could you ask for? Are parklets popping up in your city? The ones shown here are in my home town: Oakland, California.