How do you transform an urban neighborhood in 320 square feet or less? A handful of cities are implementing parklets, small urban oases converted from one or two on-street parking spaces.

Construction and maintenance costs of parklets vary but can be $15k to $20k. In most cases though, they are being paid for by private investors, business owners who would like to beautify their blocks and attract foot traffic. Even so most cities require that the furnishings not match those from an adjacent business to further indicate that the parklet is a public space rather than an extension of any particular business.

Parklets may feature cafe tables, built-in furniture, benches, or even grass. Granted the finishes and furnishings selected give some a more permanent appearance, while some appear to be temporary additions to the street. One “parklet” search on Google turns up many ideas, and the idea is ripe for experimentation.

To read more about parklets as seen in the June 2012 issue of Governing magazine, click here.

By Philly Bike Coalition / Flickr

By Philly Bike Coalition / Flickr

Author: Tory