32. Use the Space Between Buildings to Create Pocket Parks

pocket park

I’ve written about parklets and pocket parks before; those little places tucked within our urban fabric that really make cities worth exploring.   My favorite pocket park, Paley Park in New York (seen in the featured image), is sandwiched between three buildings and combines movable seating, a lifted Honeylocust canopy, green walls, and a white noise water wall to draw visitors in and provide respite from the harshness of the busy city life.

In general, these spaces often feel like we’d rather they went away.  Dark, trash collecting, forgotten spaces that we sometimes have to pass through or by. But the closeness of these fragments of the Forgotten City presents unique opportunities for creativity and as Alejandra Rangel Smith a Marron Fellow at NYU states, “Urban Parks provide important environmental advantages, measurable economic benefits, and, most importantly, invaluable services for people.”

pocket park a

Pocket-Park b

Pocket-Park c

South Bend has several areas that, while previously neglected, could really make an impact on the experience of the city given the right improvements.  In most cases, not simply adding a mishmash of plants and paint will do.  In all cases, careful considerations of context and users (existing and potential) must be done. The above photos are some examples of pocket parks that I think the city would benefit from building.

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