A 2014 Parklet installed on Emerson in North Minneapolis.
One of the parklets is positioned in front of the 2007 Emerson building here at JXTA, at the intersection of Emerson and Broadway. The parklet consists of movable café chairs and tables. It is surrounded by planter boxes with an arrangement of assorted flowers and plants set upon a 32×6 wooden deck. A simple idea and design that carries great impact.
Considered a temporary space to “encourage pedestrian engagement in the urban environment,” JXTA’s Artistic Director Roger Cummings observes that the pilot fundamentally and physically addresses issues of modifying accessibility to appropriate seating and relaxing in the area. “The parklet is programmed in a way to dovetail what we like to do: organizing people and activating space,” he says.
On Broadway, where there’s plenty of pedestrian activity, on-street seating areas are not a common occurence. For Cummings, the pilot doesn’t strike him as a “fly-by-night transient urban hippy-esque placemaking thing,” but rather a pop-up intervention in a non-traditional space.
“I have read feedback that Broadway and Emerson just sticks out,” he explains of reactions he’s come across since the parklet’s installation. “But when the [Northside] bus shelters do not provide an ample and respectful way to seat and gather and host neighbors, students commuting to school, people who are getting groceries, elders, and people with children, an intervention such as the parklet addresses those accessibility needs in a tangible and immediate way.”
EXTRA: Check out a time lapse video of the construction of a parklet.