What are the social benefits behind the scenes of parklet design?

roads and streets, green infrastructure, parks, sidewalks, urbanism, trends, cities, parklets


Shamilla Jensen


Marguerite Anglin


Brittany Coyle

PARKLETS! You’ve heard of them. You may have seen them. You may have even visited them. Over the last 2 years, these small urban parks have become quite the buzz, picking up momentum in dense urban areas and becoming a full-blown movement across the United States.

While much coverage has been given to the social benefits of parklets, less has been given to the creative process that makes these spaces happen. Within San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks program, the nature of the required sponsorship and community interest has fostered otherwise unlikely collaborations between people who all have a deep, personal interest in improving the experience of their public realm.

Through serendipitous events, the San Francisco office of WRT is currently in the middle of such a collaboration. Through this process, our team of designers and neighborhood businesses are building strong relationships with each other. Of the team members, the owner of a sponsoring deli is the most central, common thread amongst us. He has pulled together a passionate team that may have otherwise only crossed paths at his counter or in anonymous moments passing on the streets of our neighborhood. In our collective participation, not only are we creating a much needed open space for the area, we are also creating bonds that will enhance our individual experience of this neighborhood.