Philadelphia's newest Parklet was just installed in University City, and it's grand. Located at 125 South 40th Street, the Parklet — a temporary spot that repurposes curb parking spaces for street seating or other miniature public spaces — was installed via a collaboration between University City District and SHIFT_DESIGN. And at 60 feet, it's one of the largest Parklets ever installed.
This winter, University City District published the nationally-acclaimed study: "The Case for Parklets: Measuring the Impact on Sidewalk Vitality and Neighborhood Businesses," which provided data and recommendations based on analyses of six Parklets in University City from the 2013 season and their ability to bring more life to public spaces and more feet to neighborhood businesses.
The benefits of Parklets can reach far beyond the several parking spaces they temporarily annex. Jon Geeting of Plan Philly has written of Parklets: "The essence of those benefits, according to UCD, boil down to the idea from William H. Whyte that 'supply creates demand. A good new public space builds a new constituency. It stimulates people into new habits.'"
This newest Parklet, installed in front of a new stretch of businesses that include Hai Street Kitchen, Jake's Sandwich Board, Zesto Pizza & Grill, and a Dunkin' Donuts, consists of a 60-foot-long, 6-foot-wide wooden landscaped and furnished platform.
SHIFT_DESIGN, who has collaborated with UCD on previous Parklets, the UCD green wall currently on Lancaster Avenue, and elements of the newly redesigned Porch at 30th Street Station, manufactured the new Parklet. Mario Gentile, founder and CEO of SHIFT_DESIGN, says, "Our studio's approach to creative placemaking aligns well with the tactical urbanism visions that UCD strives for, making them a great partner for these projects."
As for the size of the new Parklet, neither UCD nor SHIFT_DESIGN could find evidence of any seasonal Parklets that are larger. "As far as we can tell," says Hommel, "this is the largest temporary Parklet out there."
· The Case for Parklets in University City and Beyond [Curbed Philly]
· The Case for Parklets: Measuring the Impact on Sidewalk Vitality and Neighborhood Businesses (PDF!) [University City District]