What could be more green, (and more fun) than a lively city street that makes walking and biking more enjoyable than driving?
Throughout San Francisco, locals and visitors are enjoying a new urban intervention: the parking-space-sized public lounge spaces or ‘parklet’. The program is part of San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks program that was launched in 2009 and it’s been a huge success.
On Valencia between 14th and 15th outside Four Barrel, a parklet with bike storage by Boor Bridges Architecture.
Click here to check out a map of all parklets in SF.
City residents began looking for ways to reclaim pavement as car-free public space and in 2005, thanks to the designers at Rebar, the movement got its first moment of success with Park(ing) Day. Since then the movement has spread beyond San Francisco to cities across the globe. (Did you know that Park(ing) Day is now an international event with over 150 cities participating? Nice job San Francisco!)
Another conceptual project for the Bay Area proposes repurposing the 2.2 miles of highway of the East Span Bay Bridge in anticipation of the opening of the new bridge in 2013. Fletcher Studio proposes the radical retrofit of the bridge to harvest water, wind and sun to cool a data server farm on the lower deck and to water and grow a medicinal marijuana farm on the upper deck. The two high grossing, non-public uses would generate enough income to pay off the retrofit expense within one year and then continue to generate income for public use throughout the Bay Area.
From miles long to the size of a bench; both temporary and permanent, other cities are finding their own way to reclaim their streets. Here are a few of our favorites:
The Highline Project, New York, New York by Diller Scofidio + Renfro with James Corner’s Field Operations allows pedestrians to walk 1.45 miles without stopping for a single car.
Crater Lake by 24° Studio in Kobe, Japan was developed to integrate leisure and play space into the cityscape.
The ‘Minhocão’ (giant worm) highway in Sao Paulo is closed to traffic on Sundays, becoming a pedestrian-only recreational space. – Bridgett