The term ‘Parklet’ has recently begun gaining traction across the world – the term is used to address a need to redefine our urban areas at a street level, providing space for the community and recreational areas in what were once unused, underdeveloped or poorly developed urban zones. In this article, we’ll ask the question ‘what are Parklets?’, delving into more detail and providing parklet examples to help inspire your next city dressing or town regeneration project.
What Are Parklets?
Parklets are defined by the Living Streets website as ‘small parts of residential areas reclaimed by the community for people to stop, rest and enjoy.’ These could be small community parks, community gardens or areas of kerbside space, like unused car parking bays, that would otherwise be left empty and provide limited or no value to the community. Residential parklets not only transform the look and feel of a space in roadside or urban areas, they also provide a genuinely useful solution – providing seating and rest areas, herb gardens, charging ports or electric transport charging points, for example.
Addressing the need for healthy streets
The Healthy Streets Approach was developed as a framework for embedding public health in our urban environments, particularly when it comes to transport and city planning.
Parklets fit squarely into this approach, and are being developed widely across urban centres across the world. The idea is that they increase attractiveness and aesthetics, but also provide a genuinely useful solution, as explained above, whether that be on a temporary or longer term basis.
Cyclehoop Modular Parklets
Designed to fit into unused car parking bays, these areas provide bicycle parking, seating areas and an extension to a designed natural area by enabling the installation of planters. Fully modular, they can arranged and rearranged as necessary
Again, using kerbside space to provide maximum benefit, these parkelts offer EV charging ports as well as green space to rest while the car’s being charged. They’re also designed to not take up valuable pavement space either, and again make sure of unused parking spots.
Garden Spaces for Communities
This area in Lewisham brings together a lot of aspects that underline the ethos of parklets – a community spirit, a desire to help others to create more attractive spaces, and to provide the ability for businesses to function and people to enjoy themselves whilst still social distancing. Currently London’s largest parklet, it contains a herb garden, is made from reclaimed wood and provides space for people to sit whilst using local businesses. It is also part of TFL’s London Streetspace Programme.
The Shoreditch Parklet
This Parklet by design agency Meristem Design aims to bring calm and sanctuary to this busy, bustling urban area. Offering a seating area, greenery and a well put together barrier between users and the adjacent road, it also hosts bicycle parking and offers the ability to relocate and reconstruct the planters elsewhere if needed.
Uses of canopies in parklets
At Base Structures we specialise in installing easy to erect architectural canopies for small spaces such as parklets, providing a convenient meeting point and shelter for outdoor seating and recreation. Canopies in parklets provide the perfect short or medium-term solution to weatherproofing, and allow resting spaces like the ones featured in this article to be covered and easier to use in poor weather. They are structural solutions and can be built into existing parklet designs or added at a later date. Additionally, they are affordable, and the perfect option for small community parklet builds on a tighter budget. Our canopy experts are able to advise you on both off-the-shelf and bespoke canopy designs, and their experience ensures they’re well placed to guide you through the process of establishing and maintaining a canopy to benefit your space, no matter the size.
If you’re interested in setting up a Parklet, or would like to know more, Living Street have provided this handy guide: https://www.livingstreets.org.uk/media/4590/parklets_tool_kit.pdf
Additionally, if you’re looking to incorporate the idea of Parklets into your larger urban regeneration, city dressing or street placemaking project, do feel free to call or message us for a no obligation chat through your options. We’d be happy to chat and to discuss your options!