Up To Speed

DIY Plazas and Parklets Draw the Crowds

DIY Plazas and Parklets Draw the Crowds

An increasing number of cities including New York City have been seeing the success of impromptu and Do It Yourself created public spaces. In Cincinnati, which celebrates National PARK(ing) Day with the temporary creation of parklets, other cities such as Montreal, New York City and San Francisco are working to make these tactical urbanism projects allowable on more permanent basis. Read more at the New York Times:

Nationwide, people moving downtown want to be in on the mix, too; they want pedestrian-friendly streets, parks and plazas. And smart cities are responding, like Dallas, whose Klyde Warren Park opened downtown last year atop the Woodall Rodgers Freeway, where it burrows for a few merciful blocks below ground. The place was buzzing when I passed by one recent weekend. In Phoenix, where nearly half of all city lots are vacant, the mayor, Greg Stanton, lately chose an empty 15-acre parcel — an eyesore in the heart of town — for an urban park and garden where nearby residents, mostly immigrants, can grow vegetables, for their own tables or to sell at local farmers’ markets.

And in San Francisco, the city government has been renting out curbside parking spaces, long term, on the condition they be turned into parklets. Most involve little more than benches and shrubs. But the best have become elaborate interventions, with landscaping, platforms, even mini-mini-golf. I spent a morning watching kids play and adults sunbathe in a parklet outside Fourbarrel Coffee on Valencia Street. Los Angeles and Philadelphia, among others, have recently started parklet programs. New York is trying it out, too.

By John Yung

John joined UrbanCincy in 2011 and immediately established himself as a key member of the UrbanCincy team. A native of Chicago, transplanted to Lebanon, Ohio in his teenage years, John currently resides in Cincinnati’s historic Mt Auburn neighborhood. John earned a Masters of Community Planning degree from the University of Cincinnati in 2013.