From crowdfunding to super-rich donors and other more scandalous methods, the means to fund new public spaces are proving to be diverse. But why the sudden rush for public space? Put simply, its rewards of public space appeal to a broad range of constituents: better quality of life for residents, increased real estate value, amplified tourism, and even the glory of architectural iconicity. Yet not all public space need be expensive or grand.
That’s just one of the reasons I like San Francisco’s ‘parklets’: these street-side hyper-miniature parks are temporary, keeping the city’s visual landscape diverse while giving young designers fresh opportunities for acclaim. They’re also surgical, with each location identified by the city as a prime parklet opportunity. Their specificity can also highlight the potential of design to intelligently meet local needs. Lastly, while some architects never study their project’s success (or failure) in the long term, the city monitors the impact of these installations over their lifetime. It’s a fascinating mix of characteristics; read to learn how they came about!