Experiential public spaces to succeed require a variety of different activities throughout the day. Bike-able and walk-able activities within the space should be a priority. Neighborhood coffee shops, restaurants and retail shops can provide a catalyst for walkable traffic. Bistro seating and curbside parklets with tables, chairs and planters will enhance the streetscape experience and expand the seating capacity of any eating or drinking establishment.
One word about parklets. Many communities are spending large sums of money for custom designed and engineered parkets. Parklets have become popular enough that many companies are now offering prefabricated parklet kits. These prefabricated parkets kits contain pedestal supports for the deck surfaces, corner post, planters screens; rectangular planters, horizontal stainless aircraft cable or decorative laser cut fence panels. These parklet cost substantially less than the custom versions and are designed to be seasonally assembled and disassembled for snow removal during the winter.
Create pedestrian and bike-able destinations with streetscape parklets. Add umbrellas to the parklets and combine multiple stall bike corrals or bike racks, decorative planters and safety bollards to the space near and around the parklet to build public vibrant gathering places with public amenities. multiple stall bike racks will encourage bike riding to the destination and reduce the stress on local parking.
Bike shelters are still relatively rare in mixed use or streetscape environments largely because they don’t match local architectural styles. However contemporary bike structures entering the market are challenging the old bike shelter norms. High density two level bike parking or offset bike parking systems combined with bike shelters can provide massive amounts of bike parking in a small foot print. Bike shelters can remove the visual clutter associated large unruly randomly parked bikes
The experiential public also demands shade in the form of natural trees, shelters, windscreens or umbrellas. Shade is often overlooked in public spaces but places without shade usually don’t contain many people. Umbrellas perfectly suited to public spaces are the large cantilever or side-post surface mounted umbrellas. Large rotating or pivoting umbrellas can provide a large amount of shade throughout the day since the shade canopy can be rotated to maximize the amount of shade relative to the location of the sun. The large umbrellas that are available with surface mounted or embedded installation options are preferable since they won’t blow away and they eliminate the small table inserted umbrellas that impact direct visual contact with everyone at the table.
Do you have additional ideas that should be incorporated into experiential public spaces. If so, we’d like to hear from you.