In August, we set out to join the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood House in designing and building a parklet from reclaimed material. Not just any reclaimed material though, the wood we will be using has a special place in the community because it was salvaged from a building that was taken down there. Our aim is to give back to the community using this old material and giving it a new purpose serving the public. In addition, this would be the first parklet to be built in Vancouver by a non-profit!
What is a parklet? A parklet is an extension of the public sidewalk into the adjacent parking spaces. Parklets are all different but are designed as a public space for anyone to use and often include seating, tables, and other amenities so that people can enjoy the outdoors! Parklets have many benefits including creating dynamic public spaces, extending the sidewalk area in a safe way, and fostering community through providing space for socializing. You may have seen a few others around Metro Vancouver, take a look at the photos below to see if you recognize any.
On September 22, 2016, we held a community BBQ in order to engage citizens around the design of this parklet. We collected signatures of support, asked people to fill out surveys and make drawings of the things they would like to see in the parklet, and got to meet so many great members of the Mount Pleasant community! We also listened to concerns and answered questions while sharing a meal with some wonderful people.
We set up an area where the parklet would be located with seating, tables, and games that allowed neighbors to experience what the parklet could be like. In addition we created a picture frame where people could write an idea for how they want to use the parklet and drop it in to help give us ideas. We were so excited by the enthusiasm of everyone who came to the event and grateful for the important feedback and ideas that were given to us. We collected almost 100 signatures and got 20 in depth surveys in addition to the countless people who stopped by to have a conversation with us about the parklet. The temporary parklet was well used during this event by people of all ages, showing that it would be well used in this community.
The City has now approved our initial application and is asking the community for feedback. We would like to request that you support us in contacting them and rallying around this new addition of public space to Mount Pleasant! You can see our design concept sketch above and the contact information from the City below. Pending approval, we plan to hold another event where we will invite members of the community to come see what we have designed based on their initial ideas and give more feedback before we complete the design phase of the parklet, so don't worry there will be more chances to get your ideas heard and have a discussion!