Roanoke Parklet Experiement

What is a Parklet?

The concept of transforming automobile infrastructure into temporary public spaces originated from PARK(ing) Day, an activity first organized by the Rebar Group from San Francisco in 2005. The motivation behind this idea was Rebar’s desire to “activate the metered parking space as a site for creative experimentation, political, and cultural expression, and unscripted social interaction” (The PARK(ing) Day Manual). Details

Communities across the world have joined this movement by organizing and supporting temporary public installations following PARK(ing) Day’s core principles. Their common objective is to convert small areas of automobile infrastructure into a prototype for open-source urban design that is accessible to everyone. Cities, like New York and San Francisco, are using the success of this event to evaluate the potential of reprogramming parking areas into spaces for social exchange and artistic expression that could, eventually, be implemented as permanent Parklets.

Roanoke Parklet Experiment & Architecture Week

An oversupply of surface parking can be unsightly and uninviting to residents, visitors and workers of any urban setting; particularly where vast grey infrastructure is accompanied by a lack of green public space. Parklets provide a temporary solution by creating park-like areas with public amenities that might be, otherwise, unavailable. Such amenities can include shading, seating, bike racks, planters, public art, and more.

Through its Architecture Week, the American Institute of Architects seeks to bring the building profession and the public together to celebrate and explore architecture. This year, AIA’s Blue Ridge Chapter, in partnership with Downtown Roanoke Inc. (DRI), aims to promote public architecture and urban design through the Roanoke Parklet Experiment; a 2 day event that invites professionals, residents, and businesses in Roanoke to work together to enhance Downtown’s public realm – one parking space at a time.

The main objectives of this urban experiment is to:

  • Provide a venue for artistic expression in the form of a temporary functional installation
  • Advocate public architecture, art and design as a creative process that contributes to the urban landscape in a sustainable and responsible way.
  • Bring awareness on the importance and potential of placemaking through urban design
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