The Urban Imagination Barrier
issue 04 - how parklets are fixing this
It’s difficult to describe urbanism
the solution? tactical urbanism!
Tactical Urbanism is all about action… this approach refers to a city, organizational, and/or citizen-led approach to neighborhood building using short-term, low-cost, and scalable interventions to catalyze long-term change.
I’m sure we’ve seen parklets pop up more frequently around COVID, especially if you were in SF.
A parklet is anything that takes up the space of a traditional parking spot. They can be used as outdoor seating for restaurants, bicycle parking, public seating, playgrounds, green landscapes, and more.
They create more seating, make the sidewalk an extension of the restaurant, and also engage in people-watching. They create eyes-on-the-street, a big theme that Jane Jacobs proposes in her book Death and Life of Great American Cities. If streets are only bustling at lunch rush hour, it leads stale, dull neighborhood life. A solution to this is encouraging mixed-use development (recreational, office, educational, commercial, cultural uses) in dense areas so diverse activity occurs at various hours. But, this takes time to implement. In the meantime, parklets are a great solution as they provide public space for individuals to congregate.
They also create more circulation on streets. Sitting inside instead of individual buildings that are divided from the outside street. What parklets do wonderfully is they redirect that traffic onto the public view. By simply putting seating outside, people spill into a street, and a boring parking spot turns into a vibrant open space.
It’s hard to believe that this space used to be for a single car to park for several hours. Most parklets take only 1-2 parking spots, but the difference is astoundingly
They remind me of Paris’ classic terrace that have been around for centuries. Cafe-goers spill into the streets! It’s also interesting to note that some people face the street, and not each other. People-watching is such a favorite Parisian pastime that bloggers have even ranked the best cafes for it.
parklets around the world
parklets that popped up because of covid
new york city decreasing the number of cars around a certain area