We Rallied and Built a Parklet - PARK(ing) Day 2016
PBR HAWAII & Associates, Inc. saw PARK(ing) DAY as a good opportunity for something fun that advocates improving urban livability through placemaking… something innately incorporated in what landscape architects do. We had missed our chance in 2015 to design and transform a parking stall so we were not about to let that slip by again.
We narrowed down the selection of parking stalls to one in front of Lucky Belly on Smith Street because it met several criteria: 1) it’s close to our office; 2) it’s in a walkable neighborhood; 3) this block doesn’t have street trees so a parklet would provide a great contrast; 4) it’s active during the day. We noted the mauka-to-makai direction of Smith Street and saw that as an example of how strongly the Hawaiian sense of direction is embedded in the way we orient ourselves in here. It’s unique. We asked each other: What else would help emphasize that idea of orientation and understanding of this place? What can help this look more like Hawaii?
We quickly built a rough 3D model so the next steps were finding and coordinating materials. The key is to take whatever you can get! For example, Nylawn was willing to donate irregular pieces of synthetic turf so we were glad to pick them up. Of course, we weren’t 100% sure what to do with all the pieces, but that’s what design-build improvisation is for….
We did, however, know that we wanted the materials to be their own conversation starters. Having native Hawaiian plants doubled as educational outreach, where we talked to people about their ecological benefits and cultural importance. (A few people even tried to buy the plants! Sorry- they were rentals from Hui Ku Maoli Ola.)
In addition to providing event insurance, Better Block Hawaii loaned us cardboard furniture donated from the IUCN World Conservation Congress- people loved them and that helped further the idea of sustainability through reuse.
For more coverage of the day, see Civil Beat’s article here: http://www.civilbeat.org/2016/09/honolulu-parking-stalls-become-tiny-public-parks-for-a-day/
Grace Zheng is a licensed Landscape Architect and a Project Manager at PBR HAWAII & Associates, Inc.