New York certainly has no shortage of unsightly scaffolding on its streets, but what if all of that unused area could be turned into mini pop-up parks? A green initiative called Softwalks has come up with a way to use existing scaffolding as support stations for fun and lively modular public spaces using their awesome little DIY kits that contain easy-to-build pieces such as a chair, a counter, and a green trellis. The components latch onto the metal beams to create simple impromptu hang-outs and rest stops for busy city dwellers, making the possibilities for sidewalk beautification endless.
The Softwalks initiative was born out of the MFA Transdisciplinary Design program at Parsons, The New School. Students were inspired by the Department of Transportation’s amazing makeover of the city’s traffic heavy areas into giant pedestrian walkways like in areas like Herald Square and Times Square. The group banded together and created simple kits with chair pieces, a counter, a light fixture, a planter, and a green trellis that anyone can pick up and install onto the beams of their nearest scaffolded area. The initiative aims to transform nearly 6,000 construction sites, equalling 189 miles of covered sidewalk.
The project’s greatest aspect is that anyone can get involved. The kit pieces are modular and lightweight, making them easy to install, take down, and reuse in new areas. The kits also create a public art activity, involving the community to brighten up their construction-heavy areas. Whether its a coffee break spot or a new community garden, Softwalks allows anyone to activate a once drab sidewalk shed into a fun and functional public space.