In the midst of an urban boom, crowded cities across the world are turning to temporary public spaces to open up their crowded city centers. A temporary café, a picnic grove, a yoga studio, a hip restaurant, an artsy brewery, and an outdoor movie theater have all been formatted to take over unused public spaces, such as parking spots and abandoned lots. These temporary streetscapes have coined the name Pop Up Parks and they may be the breath of fresh air modern urban centers need.
Pop Up Parks allow cities to quickly, efficiently, and affordably create much needed public spaces. Not only do these temporary spaces allow for cash tight cities to create parks and plazas on a budget, they also give cities the ability to try out new types public spaces without a full commitment.
The enthusiasm for such temporary spaces first began years ago when New York’s Broadway declared a couple of the street lanes as public space, installed lawn chairs and tables and called it a plaza. San Francisco soon followed lead with its own version, which involved utilizing parking spaces as small public parks.
The movement began as an effort to create amenities throughout cities where such resources were lacking, as well as bring attention and energy back to abandoned areas. Since their conception in New York, Pop Up Parks have sprouted across the globe. From Huntsville, Alabama to Vancouver temporary parks are giving people of all ages the chance to find new ways to experience and fall in love with their city all over again.
With a public urban space like Waller Creek and a community like Austin, Texas there are endless opportunities for Pop Up Parks along the creek, now and in the future. Pop Up restaurants and breweries could nestle in the Grove, while Pop Up yoga classes and movies could flourish at Waterloo Park, and those are just a few. What other activities could you envision “popping up” along Waller Creek that would make you fall in love with Austin, Texas all over again? Look to the examples below for more inspiration and information!
Courthouse Square: Pop Up Park Competition – Huntsville, Alabama
For three days, Huntsville’s downtown square was surrounded by twelve separate and unique pop up parks sponsored by the city to encourage more people and less cars. The pop up parks took form in parking spots scattered around the Madison County Courthouse.
Better Block Project – Dallas, Texas
City residents came together to demonstrate the potential that a vacant and run down block of buildings in Dallas’ Oak Cliff section has to be great. This one day demo of the streets potential included installing trees and benches, and populating the block with pop-up shops and parks. Currently, this block now has almost all of its storefronts occupied.
The Lawn on D – Boston, Massachusetts
“The Lawn on D is an experimental event space designed to encourage public engagement, foster creativity and test opportunities for integrating the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center into the urban fabric with arts, music, games, food & beverage and other community-driven programming. The Lawn on D will be open for approximately 18 months beginning in August 2014 with seasonal programming.”
The Porch – Philadelphia, New Jersey
“The Porch at 30th Street Station sits amidst a dense concentration of Philadelphia’s education, medicine and innovation sectors and is used by thousands of daily commuters and first-time visitors. The Porch has developed into an oasis of activity, respite and interaction through an observation-based and iterative design process that is changing the way people think about public space.”
PICNURBIA – Vancouver, British Columbia
“PICNURBIA offers space for people to come together, relax and watch. Inserted into the urban downtown neighbourhood, a community where people already live, work and visit, the site is intended to become an easily inhabited summer zone, where people may gather to enjoy the long summer days. PICNURBIA is designed to offer an ‘on-the-block’ amenity where people can drop by on purpose or stumble upon more informally as they walk or bike home.”