Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cool Ped Stuff #6: Parklets

Count on San Francisco to come up with a program that turns Pavement into Parks (and on Streetfilms to make a movie of it):

Inspired events like Park(ing) Day and New York's pedestrian plazas, the joint effort of the mayor's office, public works and planning departments, and the MTA creates temporary mini parks in unused (and often unusable) patches of public street right-of-way. Although the parks are currently dismantled after an intial trial run, the idea is to make the most popular ones permanent fixtures in the SF streetscape.

What I really admire about this idea (aside from the improvements to the pedestrian environment, of course) is its brilliant political strategy. Putting up a "temporary" park bypasses much of the bureaucracy and political finagling that would be required to build a permanent park. Once the temporary park is place, people fall in love with it. Suddenly there is a group of park supporters who will help fight to make the park permanent--a group who probably never would have existed if the temporary park hadn't been built in the first place. In other words, sometimes the only way to get a good idea implemented is to put the proverbial cart in front of the horse...

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