Chicago Produces First Parklets

As they wait for construction materials to arrive, the race is on to see which of Chicago's two permitted parklets, which the CDOT calls "People Spots," will be the city's first to be completed.

The Lakeview and Andersonville neighborhoods will soon be blessed with Chicago's first foray into the growing nationwide trend in parklets, the quick and cheap repurposing of parking spots as small public spaces. "Their locations, inception stories, and designs differ," reports Steven Vance, "but the projects have many similarities: local architecture firms are working pro bono to design and obtain permitting; the respective Chambers of Commerce are contributing construction funds."

Both teams of designers were careful to craft spaces that felt like miniature parks, rather than just extensions of neighboring eating establishments. Such was the motivation for Kevin Toukoumidis, the principal at dSPACE Studio, who designed the Lakeview parklet. "His intention was to activate a space differently than a sidewalk cafe," writes Vance. "If people see just tables, they think it's part of an establishment. This isn't," Toukoumidis said.


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