Emily Peckenham

San Francisco's Parklets Transform Parking Spaces Into Urban Oases

by , 07/05/12

parklet, san francisco, rebar, parking day, public space, urban innovation, reclaimed space, urbanism, public art, architecture

Ranging from cute cafe-style seating areas to creative art installations and sunny urban gardens, parklets add a whimsical yet functional touch to otherwise dull streetscapes across the city. Public-private partnership is key to the parklet program, since a business owner must apply for and financially support the creation of the parklet.  Although many parklets perform double duty as outdoor seating for nearby cafes, each parklet is officially a public space, and any San Franciscan is welcome to stop by, read a book, or catch some rays without purchasing anything.

parklet, san francisco, rebar, parking day, public space, urban innovation, reclaimed space, urbanism, public art, architecture

One of the unique facets of San Francisco’s collection of parklets is the wide range of materials and functions each space encompasses. While some parklets are focused on the needs of the community at large – large bicycle racks, and outdoor space for eating and drinking – others bring a much-needed touch of greenery to barren corners or simply add visual interest to the neighborhood. With materials ranging from galvanized steel and planters to reclaimed wood and succulent topiaries, a variety of designers, architects, and landscapers have collaborated with business owners to create unique public spaces that display their talents to passersby.

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1 Comment

  1. amhsmc amhsmc July 6, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Every time I go to San Francisco I often find myself in the market street area and further North. I always see little parklets, but the seating often looks so uncomfortable and the surroundings are so hectic that I’ve personally never stopped walking and have never seen anyone use the space either. Open space should be more than just aesthetic improvements, it should have a functional aspect as well. I think because these parklets need to be supported by the nearby business, they are inappropriately placed for maximum effect.

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