A parklet on Valencia Street in San Francisco (photo by Mark Hogan - Freewheel ParkletUploaded by SaltyBoatr, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17841324)
The City of Eugene Parking Department and AIA-Southwestern Oregon are organizing a Parklet Competition in Eugene for the summer of 2017. The initiative is a partnership between the City, Downtown Merchants, and other local groups as part of a series of events that will take place around downtown Eugene this summer geared towards increasing pedestrian presence and community involvement.
What is a parklet? A parklet is a sidewalk extension that provides additional space and amenities to be used by the public. Each parklet typically displaces one or more curbside parking spaces with a place for people to gather, sit, and enjoy the city around them. Parklets can be designed to be either permanent structures or temporary/seasonal arrangements. Their amenities range from tables, chairs, and benches to green spaces. Numerous cities support the introduction of parklets because they also benefit nearby businesses by helping attract customers.
Originally, proponents of parklets viewed them as means to instigate change and provoke a critical examination of the values that generate the form of urban public space. The PARK(ing) Day project, initiated in 2005 in San Francisco, has proven to be an effective, inexpensive, and popular example of tactical urbanism at work.(1) San Francisco has since continued to champion the quick and cost-effective conversion of underutilized parking and pavement into new pedestrian-friendly amenities in more than fleeting installations.
Goals for the Eugene Parklet Competition include reimagining the potential of our downtown streets, encouraging non-motorized transportation, enhancing pedestrian safety and activities, and fostering community interaction.
The competition organizers invite community members, architects, landscape architects, designers, artists, and all creative minds (professionals and students) to participate in this exciting collaboration and help create a vibrant downtown Eugene. Stay tuned: I’ll post more information about the competition here on my blog once it becomes available.
(1) Eugene’s own Cameron McCarthy Landscape Architecture & Planning has participated enthusiastically during past PARK(ing) Days, which occur every third Friday in September. I reported about their PARK(ing) Day project for 2009, which happened to also coincide with that year’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day.