Five fantastic parklet designs and why we need more of them

Author Laura Laker

This short, accessible article published in 2020 by Zag (micromobility and urban design specialists), showcases five best practice parklet designs – where unused (parking) spaces are transformed into gardens or seating areas. Something we have seen popping up at an increasing rate through tactical urbanism initiatives during the Covid-19 pandemic. Place managers and local authorities might find inspiration from the examples included.

Date added 20 January 2021
Last updated 20 January 2021

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have witnessed a growth in tactical urbanism, as places needed to adapt for associated restrictions such as social distancing and limits on household mixing indoors. One such adaptation seen, is the rising number of 'parklets’ in cities and town centres across the world, which is the focus of this article and described as:

"...Parking space-sized gardens or seating areas used to...replace a parking space with space for people. A parklet could have furniture, such as tables and chairs, plants (including a herb garden), bike parking or anything else you can fit into a car parking space or two".

The article further explains how parklets, which have been in the USA for around 20-years but first seen in the UK in Hackney in 2015, can bring a number of benefits to places, such as enhancing appearance through injecting more greenery, enabling socially distanced seating, a place for people to get outdoors improving wellbeing, and providing bike parking. The five design examples showcased in the article are:

  1. Cyclehoop modular parklets - claimed to be the creators of the first UK parklet in Hackney, the size of a parking space, and now more mobile and low-cost.
  2. Meristem parklets - providers of parklets with or without seating, with Perspex and wood screens, planters, and protection from the elements, as seen in Liverpool.
  3. The DIY parklet - driven and co-created by local communities to create places beyond parking spaces for cars, sometimes due to tensions with local councils.  
  4. Pocket parks - solution to maintenance issues that can arise with full parklets, injection of greenery, and a meeting place for local communities.
  5. The recharging parklet - coined by Arup’s Susan Claris, a potential future parklet type where USB charging for things like e-bikes and e-scooters is included.