Even in a city that practically invented eco-consciousness, Andres Power is one urban planner with some serious chutzpah. The 30-year-old San Francisco native heads up the city’s Pavement to Parks initiative, which not only develops green spaces in the city centre, but also creates them from perhaps the most coveted real estate possible: parking spaces. Called parklets, these public spots are lined with greenery and welcome cyclists and pedestrians alike.
The parklets are spare in form, simple in function, yet brazen in execution in such a car-centric city. The first two arrived last spring, taking over two or three former parking spots fronting accommodating businesses such as cafés or bicycle shops. Four more parklets are planned for 2010, while a giant version taking 30 spaces along two blocks is planned for early next year.
‘With this project on the ground,’ Power enthuses, ‘we’ll finally be able to say that we’ve truly reclaimed the street for people.’