Focus of work
The London Parklet Campaign invited communities to reimagine their local streets by creating pop-up parklets across streets. The action was targeted to draw attention to the huge amount of public space taken up by on-street car parking in London – an area roughly 10 times the size of Hyde Park – and to suggest some of the many better things that some of that space could be used for. The day coincided with the launch of the London Parklet Campaign – a new movement calling on the Mayor and borough leaders to enable Londoners to create ‘parklets’ in the streets where they live.
Parklets are an alternative use for a car parking space, enabling people to sit and talk, eat their lunch, or enjoy their leisure in any number of ways. They can be a space for plants and vegetables to flourish, for bikes to be parked, and children to play. The campaigners wanted to build on the tremendous success of London’s ‘streeteries’ – new seating areas built in car parking spaces to support bars and restaurants during the pandemic – by seeking to apply the same concept to residential areas. As well as their obvious social benefits, parklets can help address climate change by greening the urban environment and providing extra storm drainage.
This campaign encouraged people to use a car parking bay on their street for a social event by setting up a website and using social media for publicity. Twenty-two pop-up parklets were created across London, as well as one in Dublin, as shown in this online map. These were mainly small groups of families and friends setting up table and chairs in a parking space, and some larger community events.
The London Parklets Campaign organised a ‘Tour de Parklets du Nord’ on 25th September with @IBikeLondon to coincide with People Parking Day. Two designers from the Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington attended as judges to select the winners, and prizes were awarded for the best parklet and runner up.
There were many radical but good-humoured actions that transformed streets, by providing a social hub, and greenery, inspired participants and passers-by, establishing a precedent for even more future actions of this sort.