A mobile parklet rotates around Vienna to create temporary spaces for social interaction.
Urban street life is about diversity. “The diversity, of whatever kind, that is generated by cities rests on the fact that in cities so many people are so close together, and among them contain so many different tastes, skills, needs, and bees in their bonnets.” (Jane Jacobs, 1961)
The pandemic has forced us to retire our urban lives to our private homes and distance from others. Most spaces of diversity and collectivity on a neighborhood scale shut their doors to avoid the spread of the virus. More than ever, we miss grocery shopping in small local businesses, a cup of tea in the neighborhood cafe, a chat with other residents in the local post office, and a theatre play in a neighborhood cultural space.
How can we bring diversity back to our streets?
OPEN AIR SPACES
The safest spaces to interact with other people while socially distancing are open-air spaces - and in our closest proximity, the streetscape! The City of Vienna supports “Schanigärten” (temporary terraces for gastronomy in public space) as a solution for gastronomy to keep functioning during the pandemic.
However, what about other small businesses, cultural activities, and service providers? What if we move our favorite urban functions to the street?
Moreover, the pandemic has restricted our urban mobility behavior. The potential to spend more of our lifetime in direct proximity to our homes, without any traveling, has gained new importance. However, not all Viennese neighborhoods offer high diversity to fulfill all residents’ needs.What if the park or the hairdresser or the theatre comes to your street for a day?
Park ‘n’ Roll is a parklet that accommodates various functions and travels quickly from one space to another. It activates streetscapes in dense, monotonous neighborhoods and offers a diversity of activities in open air space. The temporary park on a trailer is pulled by a small truck and occupies two standard parking lots.The modular, flexible furniture allows an almost endless possibility of functions. Activities are defined in collaborative processes with neighbors, local businesses, and municipalities according to their needs. Short-term activities are measured, and if successful and accepted by residents, they get scaled up to a permanent parklet for the street.We think the resilient city is about the diversity of activities in our closest proximity and social interaction between people!