5 Initiatives Revamping Urban Spaces

Turning concrete jungles into friendly places


Image from Flickr user eyebeam

Folks are flocking to major cities; in fact over 50% of the population now lives in urban metropolises. Creative thinking and action is required to ensure that cities do not become congested concrete jungles. We are happy to present five dynamic organizations that are redefining urban space by infusing it with art, nature and culture - thus creating living, breathing communal places for all to enjoy.

1. PARK(ing) DAY

WHAT Worldwide event taking place on Friday, September 20, 2013 in which community members turn metered parking spots into public oases. 
HOW Local organizers collaborate to design and create an open space that matches the needs of their community, resulting in a range of parking spot makeovers from urban farms and art installations, to parks and bike repair shops. 
ONE MORE THING PARK(ing) Day is the brainchild of San Francisco based art and design studio Rebar, who in 2005 converted a single metered parking spot into a park - thus sparking the global event.

Screenshot of PARK(ing) Day


WHAT A planning, design and educational nonprofit that helps citizens transform public spaces. 
HOW The dynamic nonprofit partners with public and private organizations to create spaces that will benefit the general public. PPS has coined the term placemaking - recreating spaces with focus on the actual place, taking into consideration the needs and vision of the local community.
ONE MORE THING PPS has been around since 1975 and has since completed projects in more than 2,500 communities in 40 different countries and in all the 50 United States.


WHAT UK-based crowdfunding platform for neighborhood improvement projects. 
HOW Users can pitch their own ideas, receiving fundraising and technical assistance from Spacehive, or use the platform to donate to projects that interest them. 
ONE MORE THING The neighborhood makeover site is the jumping point for some cool projects, including a dog gym, an outdoor kitchen and this community center.

Screenshot of Spacehive


WHAT A crowd-sourced platform that connects artist with public spaces.
HOW Artists submit proposals seeking places to host exhibitions, and property owners in turn post available spaces that crave an artistic touch. Arthere is the conduit to make the match, resulting in beautiful partnerships with a variety of public spaces - from store fronts to rock climbing studios.
ONE MORE THING Arthere is active in multiple cities throughout California and New York.

Screenshot of Arthere


WHAT A government supported program that converts unused public spaces to plazas or parklets in San Francisco.
HOW Pavements to Parks finds underutilized roadways and turns them into public spaces by painting the asphalt, installing protective barriers along the periphery and adding greenery and moveable tables and chairs.
ONE MORE THING Pavement to Parks was inspired by their East Coast cousin New York City, who has similarly set out to convert parts of their concrete jungle into attractive and pedestrian-friendly public spaces.

Screenshot of Pavement to Parks