If you have not heard of the word “Parklet” before, then it’s possible that you might have been in a coma for the past few years. In simple words: Parklets are small urban spaces (usually regular vehicular parking spots in strategically place high pedestrian zones) which can be considered parks. Their intention is to reclaim green and public spaces for the citizens of cities.
The idea for Parklets have probably been with us for many years, but the first city to really make Parklets and important part of the city is San Francisco. It got its first Parklet in 2005 when a design studio kept a parking spot occupied by throwing money in the parking meter and rolling out green synthetic grass – this according to the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s now so successful in San Francisco that they even started a Pavement to Parks program.
This past September, the City of Cape Town allowed a number of Parklets to be placed around the city for Creative Week Cape Town. These were self funded by the businesses or organizations that put them up in the various locations. They were in locations such as Bree Street, The Fringe District and even Camps Bay. Although they were only allowed for the week of Creative Week, it gave Capetonians a taste of what Parklets could be. Hopefully we will see Parklets again in the future, semi-permanent and around more places in the city.
It could potentially become one of the World Design Capital 2014 projects, if it does indeed use design to transform lives.
With Parklets appearing around the world, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have created a document entitled ‘Reclaiming the Right of Way: A Toolkit for Creating and Implementing Parklets‘. The document describes itself as ‘to provide city staff and community members with practical guidance to support the development of small-scale parks, called parklets.’ The toolkit has many helpful suggestions and recommendations from studies done on a number of Parklets, while also containing various interesting pictures of Parklets in different cities (for those who prefer to look at pictures).
Did you visit any of Cape Town’s Parklets? What were you thoughts on them?
Also, we are currently running a competition where you can win yourself a book on Landscape Architecture in Cape Town if you share your idea for bettering public spaces. It’s simple – just go to this post, answer the simple question and you may be the winner of the beautiful book.