The West Parks People, Not Cars

September 18, 2012 | By | Comments (2)
John Bela of Rebar and parklets

John Bela of Rebar, the firm behind the parklet craze. (Photograph by Thomas J. Story)

In a city where innovating is as natural as breathing, it’s no surprise a group of San Francisco designers looked at a parking spot seven years ago and thought, “leafy urban oasis!”

From that kernel from design firm Rebar, parklets, the parking-spots-turned-pop-up-parks, were born. SF quickly latched onto the idea and created Pavement to Parks, the city-funded program that sponsored the first official parklet (above).

The trend has since spread West-wide, with mini parks sprouting up as unique the neighborhoods they live in, like Seattle’s Sunset Substation Park, which will turn a defunct electrical station into a green space with a solar-powered canopy.

In the go-West department, we’ve even inspired East Coast cities like Boston and Chicago to give them a shot. A few of our favorites:

Parklet outside Lola's Mexican Cuisine

Parklet outside Lola’s Mexican Cuisine in Long Beach, one of three along E. Fourth Street. Of course, it’s got a sustainable-wood deck and low-water plants for greenery. (Photograph by Andrea Gómez Romero)

Parkmobiles in SF

Parkmobiles, or moveable plant-filled dumpster parks, are the latest trend in SF. (Photograph courtesy of Laughing Squid)

LA parklet

L.A. will get four prototype parklets this fall, including one complete with two exercise bikes (yeah, really) and a foosball table. (Rendering courtesy of DLNAC)


  1. Karin

    Hello – I wanted to know did this article come out in Sunset Magazine or only on the internet. If there is a hardcopy – what is the date of the issue that it came out on.

    September 18, 2012 at 8:59 pm
    • Aislyn Greene

      Hi Karin, thanks for the comment! This is a web-only story, but we did run an interview with John Bela of Rebar in the March 2012 issue.

      September 19, 2012 at 8:34 am

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