This February, in Portland, OR, the New Partners for Smart Growth (NPSG) conference hosted a unique set of communal spaces that have become a tradition of the conference. Parklets 4.0 was the fourth annual initiative to bring the urban green space movement indoors.
Parklets are parking space-sized areas used for recreational, community gathering, or beautification purposes that assist in bringing awareness to the quantity of community space that is devoted to parking rather than vibrant urban green space. These small urban parks are created by replacing a parking spot with a variety of elements (planters, trees, benches, café tables and chairs, artwork, bicycle parking, and more!). Parklets evolved from an annual event where citizens, artists, and activists collaborated to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. Following the success of the first 2005 intervention, Park(ing) Day has grown into a global movement. Now Parklets are being permanently installed in cities throughout the U.S.
Led by ASLA and the Local Government Commission (LGC), the Parklets project at NPSG, once again, included interactive spaces showcasing how a parklet can transform an under-utilized parking space (or two) into exciting opportunities for creating more vibrant spaces in communities. This year, five parklet installations spanned the area outside conference session rooms. The parklets were sponsored by local organizations and design firms involved in designing and advocating for urban green space throughout the country. Plant materials were graciously donated by J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co.
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