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Posts Tagged ‘parklet’

Providence is engaging in so many entertaining pop-up activities I can’t keep up. Suzanne sent this link about one that happened today. I guess it is what people mean when they talk about “placemaking.”

Chris writes at the blog for Our Backyard Rhode Island, “Where else but Our Backyard could you walk to dozens of parks in just one day? Today 32 temporary parklets have sprung up in Downtown, the West Side, and the East Side of Providence to mark PARK(ing) Day. More than 30 metered parking spaces have been transformed into temporary public parks. Designers worked with local businesses to find creative ways to add green space to the urban environment. They trucked in plants, Astroturf and picnic tables to create alluring stop offs for people out for a walk.

“On Matthewson Street, you can even use frisbees to play checkers on a board as big as a queen-size comforter. Organized locally by the RI chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (RIASLA), the RI chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIAri), and Transport Providence, Park(ing) Day strengthens connections in Our Backyard.”

More here.

Photo: http://ourbackyardri.com/
A Providence parklet today.

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Walkability greatly improves the quality of life in a town or city, a precept our country lost track of for many years. I grew up in exurbia, where there were no sidewalks. And although I loved walks in the woods, I always felt a little gypped by the ads in comic books starting, “Be the first on your block …” What was a block? As an adult, I have lived only where there are sidewalks.

One of the most engaging recent developments of today’s walkability movement is Walk[YourCity], which enables you or anyone else to make professional-looking signs to interesting places in walking distance. (I love the stealth aspect of posting them.)

Suzanne and I began noticing signs in Providence a couple months ago, but it was only recently that some folks behind the effort blogged about it.

“Providence, RI, is playing host to two Walk [Your City] campaigns — both intended to activate public space and promote active transport.

PopUp Providence is a placemaking project that ‘introduces interactive, artistic and cultural displays and interventions throughout the City’s 25 neighborhoods.’ W[YC] signage has been incorporated … Other first-season PopUp Providence projects include a pop-up music studio offering teaching and performance spaces, and a parklet adding seating to the streetscape. …

“Providence’s Planning Department mentioned W[YC] to folks from the I-195 Redevelopment District, who thought the signs would be a great way to direct folks to their interim use art installations — soon to include 12 creative installations throughout the I-195 downtown parcels.”

More at the Walk[YourCity] blog, here. (And may I just note that Providence has exactly the kind of creative, entrepreneurial climate that would lead people to embrace something like this.)

Photos: Emily Kish and Kate Holguin

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Cities that want to encourage foot traffic, public transit, and getting around on bicycles are starting to remove parking spaces in favor of mini parks big enough for a couple planters and benches where passersby might read, chat, or eat a sandwich.

Eric Moskowitz writes in the Boston Globe: “The program, boston.PARKLETS, follows the lead of San Francisco, which boasts 30 parklets, and New York, which unveiled the first of what it calls ‘curbside seating platforms’ in 2010.

“They are part of the growing movement to reclaim urban space for pedestrians and bicyclists and promote public transit. Mayor Thomas M. Menino has proclaimed ‘the car is no longer king,’ citing the environmental, aesthetic, and health benefits.

“It remains to be seen how willingly Bostonians, known for fiercely coveting and protecting their parking spots, receive the parklets.

“Vineet Gupta, planning director for the Boston Transportation Department, said the city will work with merchants and neighbors to find appropriate spots, with the first parklets probably appearing next spring. They would scarcely put a dent in the city’s 8,000 metered spaces and untold thousands of unmetered and resident-permit spots, but they would enliven areas with heavy foot traffic otherwise lacking in public amenities, he said.” Read more.

If you have actually seen where this has been done, do send a photo.

These two parking spaces in Boston could become a parklet — a tiny patio with benches and planters. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)

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