Community parklets

What are community parklets ? They take up the space of one parked car and turn it into an area where people can park their bikes, sit, have a coffee and chat, meet friends of all shapes and sizes and enjoy being outside. They can provide greenery, art or some other visual amenity and vastly improve our grey urban environment.

Their history: San Francisco has been credited with the first one-day parklet installation being created in 2005 as an unofficial activist project by feeding a parking meter with coins, unrolling grass sod and placing a potted tree on top. The world’s first official public parklets were installed there 5 years later and since then, parklets have been introduced in many cities to help green the urban environment.

Why do we need them ? Only 26% of residents in Islington have access to a car leaving the majority unable to use their public realm space fully. We all know the importance of nature to our physical and mental wellbeing – as noted in Islington’ Biodiversity Report published in April 2020 – but non-car owners currently have no stake in their own street. Islington has 5 commercial parklets, the first being opened in June 2019 in St Luke’s community centre. There are no community parklets, no process for getting a permit for a community parklet and only one guerilla parklet in Mayton Street which has a special permit which is up for renewal in June 2020.

Cost of a parklet: a commercial parklet can cost well over £10,000. But a community parklet can be created with waste materials and donated compost and plants with a lot of goodwill and neighbourly cooperation and can foster a strong local community spirit.

We want community parklets in Islington ! Islingtonians (Helena, Lynne, Caroline, Rachael, David, Susanna, Eilidh) have been campaigning for well over a year to get a community parklet process approved by Islington Council. Hackney has one, thanks to the inspirational leadership of local activist Brenda Peuch, and we have organised bike rides to see the wide variety of community parklets flourishing in our neighbouring borough. Covid-19 has temporarily stopped our activities but we’ve not stopped planning !

Have a look at our community parklet leaflet here

More details from eilidh.murray@blueyonder.co.uk.

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