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Vancouver’s Parklets

During our road trip, we weren’t just focused on the great outdoors; as someone who lives in an urban neighborhood, I made a goal of stopping in cities that had significant placemaking or urban renewal developments. Vancouver and its parklets was one of these stops.

Not sure what a parklet is?

A parklet is a sidewalk extension that provides more space and amenities for people using the street. Usually parklets are installed on parking lanes and use several parking spaces.

Now that you’re learned, you can check out and appreciate these six examples found all over Vancouver. Initially a temporary installation in 2013, the parklets became quite popular and still remain, two years later.

  1. Commercial Drive

    Located in front of Prado Cafe, this parklet features communal tables and benches. Bonus points for the handicap accessible table and attractive profile from across the street.

  2. Urban Pasture

    This parklet features simple, staggered benches with an abundance of flora, a refreshing change of pace from the surrounding urban environment.

  3. Sunny Slopes

    Built on an incline, this unique parklet hosts two semi-enclosed seating areas with backs, to help close out traffic and encourage group gatherings.

  4. Parallel Park

    One of the more colorful and bold parklets, Parallel Park is a great extension of the coffee shop located just next to it.

  5. French Quarter

    With leaves all over the place, this parklet was probably one of the least maintained- and looking at concepts prior to the build, also half-baked. The “French Quarter” aspect was supposed to have been realized with trellises and pergolas, but it seems that it was never done or taken down due to visibility issues with traffic. I still liked the open feel and greenery, and how the parklet felt like a completely natural extension of the sidewalk.

  6. Hot Tubs

    Located outside of a spa, the theme continues with varied seating shaped to mimic hot tubs. Interestingly enough, the seating flows over onto the sidewalk, creating a smooth transition over at least three parking spaces. This site was also unkempt, with trash and leaves everywhere.

If you’re planning on visiting Vancouver, I highly recommend checking out the parklets, as they are a very interesting concept that could be implemented in any town or city. I’d love to see one or two in downtown Cincinnati or Covington.