Chalton Parklet Design Workshop

Beth Hooper

Parking day participants at State College in 2011.
Julia Ingalls
What is a Parklet?

A Parklet is a small public recreation area or mini park which sits on the site of a car parking space. The idea was born out of the idea of making streets better for people rather than cars and to increase the amount of usable public space in cities. You can read an interview with Matt Passmore of Rebar Studio who started the Park(ing) Day movement here:

Who is this workshop for?

Anyone can use the design pack to design their own Parklet, however, the online workshop on August 1st is aimed at residents of Somers Town, London. I am hoping that residents can use this session to get to know each other better and potentially go on to build a parklet themselves. 
How do I design a Parklet?

Step 1 - Download design pack: here

If you don’t have access to a printer please email me via the address at the bottom of this page and I can post a pack to you.

Step 2- Identify site:

Chalton Street is mostly flat which is ideal for building a Parklet! Choose two neighbouring parking spaces ensuring they are not reserved for loading, blue badge holders, taxis or bus stops. Look out for utility covers, drains and fire hydrants. These must be accessible at all times so make sure your spot doesn’t contain or block access to any. Placing your parklet near a tree can be great for providing shade during the summer, but consider the effects of leaves dropping in autumn and problems with pollen, sap, birds and insects. Also think about nearby businesses and consider how the neighbouring pavement is used. It is best to avoid areas that are too busy and remember that you will need the support of your neighbours to gain permission from the council to build your parklet. All parklets should be at least 5m away from any junctions, cars will still be using the road so it is important that parklets are installed in a safe position. Proposed parklets close to a junction will need to pay particular attention to sight lines and visibility.

Step 3 - Consider community:

Your parklet should become a focal point for the community and a welcoming space for all users. All parklets will be built on a base which makes it level with the pavement and allows rainwater to flow underneath. Your design should avoid trip hazards and keep the space accessible to wheelchair users. Do you want to aim your parklet at a particular group of people? Children, cyclists, artists, book-lovers? What is special about Somers Town? What would you like to improve or celebrate?

Step 4 - Consider cost and materials:

Funding for the Parklet will have to be raised. There are ways you can do this but keeping costs low will make this easier. Use materials which are weather resistant, sturdy and recycled or reusable where possible.

Step 5 - Consider the road side of your parklet.

The design should include a barrier or guardrail around the 3 sides of your parklet that face the road which should be no higher than 90cm.

Step 6 - Consider planting:

Ensure any plants you want to install are safe for children and pets. Think about maintenance, you will be responsible for keeping plants healthy and looking great.

Step 7 - Have fun!

Use the pack provided as a starting point for your design. Don’t worry about producing technical drawings for now, this can be considered at a later stage. Sketches, collage and annotation is perfect while we are developing the ideas. Take a look at designs from around the world for inspiration but don’t forget we get a little more rain here in London than some places.

The following links are great resources:

Living Streets 

Hackney Council

Step 8 - Submit your design
Please submit your design to me by email (below) by Wednesday 30th July 2020. If you don’t have access to a scanner or camera, please contact me by email before Monday 27th July 2020.

Step 9 - Join us online

I will be holding a live design workshop via Zoom on Saturday 1st August. This will be a chance for everyone to share their initial designs and discuss which ideas work best. We can then either choose the most successful designs to take forward or combine a few ideas to come up with a design together. This isn’t a competition, it is a chance for people to share ideas and although I will lead the session the design is up to you. It is your community space, so be creative! If you can’t make the event at this time don’t worry, I will present all submissions that I receive by Wednesday 30th.

Tickets for the design workshop are FREE but you will need to book in advance here 

contact me: