The ‘Parklet’ – Urban Design in Vancouver’s Streets

September 1st rolled in fast and brought with it rain, the chills and constant yawns. Coffee intake has multiplied and panic set in that summer has come to an end. However a little rain never hindered Vancouverites from enjoying the outdoors. Thanks to Viva Vancouver there are over a handful of urban spaces to stop and relax for a while.

Several years ago Viva Vancouver started a pilot parklet program, which transforms city-owned spaces in front of local business on a busy street. Sponsored parties, designers and regional partners collaborate to create these welcoming vibrant places for communities to enjoy the streetscape in their neighbourhoods. The parklet starts with a platform built over parking spaces and usually includes bench or chair seating, tables and landscaping. All materials used must be sustainable, able to with stand year round weather conditions and meld seamlessly into the surrounding area. The main goal is to encourage community on a micro scale, bring all ages together in conversation and attract potential customers to businesses.

The concept started five years ago in San Francisco and has spread to other US and Canadian cities. Here in Vancouver the pilot program has been well received and fully approved as of June 1, 2016. Currently there are 6 built around the city and Viva is looking for interested groups that would like to sponsor and build their own. JDG has fortunately had the opportunity to work on two new locations. Our first was designed for a well-known restaurant chain for a parklet in the Kerrisdale area. Second was sponsored by an up and coming company on West Broadway. We are very excited to be part of such an important collective that’s working on improving our great city

If you haven’t had the chance to visit a parklet, grab a coffee and a friend to explore one of Vancouver’s many urban spaces….

  • Urban Pasture Parklet – Robson St. between Burrard and Thurlow
  • Hot Tubs Parklet – Fraser St. and 44th Ave
  • French Quarter Parklet – Main St. and 21st Ave
  • Parallel Park – Main St. and 14th Ave
  • Commercial Drive Parklet – Commercial Dr.
  • Sunny Sloped Parklet – 4th Ave between Maple and Cypress St.

Keep your eyes open; maybe a parklet will pop up in your area soon!

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