Main Street Pocket Park

What started as a weedy, deserted eyesore became a beautiful, welcoming parklet in May 2021. Sponsored by Ben E. Keith Foods, the Main Street Pocket Park is a collaboration of love, sweat, and a desire to see downtown Little Rock continue to thrive and grow.

The Rise of Parklets

COVID forced diners outside and now many downtowns are exploring ways for the outdoor dining experience, via parklets, to become permanent. This presentation explores the process of finding the balance between creating a cost-effective and inviting space and needed government guardrails to ensure safety and access. Many see this emerging experience as a way for restaurants to survive economically and meet the growing customer desire. 

Reimagining Outdoor Dining and Public Space

Discover how a downtown pedlet program in Montana and streeteries in Maryland promoted local placemaking efforts, created public spaces, and spurred an outside dining movement that increased business revenue, supported local business, and created jobs. Attendees will gain the knowledge of how to establish these programs in their communities, learn of the wider economic impact in a downtown commercial district and how these can be viable tools in the post-pandemic recovery process.

Bethesda Streetery

Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) unveiled the “Bethesda Streetery” in June 2020 as an economic recovery response during the COVID-19 pandemic. The open-air eatery featured an outdoor seating design with tables and chairs placed on closed streets in downtown Bethesda, MD. Streetery attendees were invited to “Picnic on the Avenue” after picking up food and beverages from any local Bethesda restaurant.

Bedford Street Piazza

To support struggling restaurants, DSSD worked with a multi-department team from the City to implement StrEATeries within one week of re-opening the state to outdoor dining. The initiative created ~1,000 outdoor dining seats beyond those typically allowed on the city’s sidewalks through two complementary approaches.

Advancing Places: Reimagining Downtown Commons

Streets, parking spaces and sidewalks comprise the largest area among types of public space in downtowns across the world. Pre-pandemic, managing parking for delivery bikes and procuring permits for outdoor cafés was challenging. However, reduced traffic presented opportunities to take advantage of these resources in new ways. Join this discussion of management models, programs, and regulatory frameworks that have shifted the use of our public assets to small businesses that need it most.

Advancing Places: Parklets

As public space becomes increasingly more valuable, the community interest and benefits of parklets have steadily increased throughout 2020. Generally defined as people-friendly spaces which introduce street furnishings (in street) curbside, parklets are providing respite and generating revenues in their communities. Panelists will discuss the process to put together and maintain parklets of all kinds in their district.

New Development Meets a Neglected Neighborhood

Congress Heights Community Training and Development Corporation developed a framework for investing in a place-based inclusive economic and social development strategy centered around Congress Heights. It was built on extensive community engagement with a broad variety of stakeholders, from large developers to local youth, to city economic development officials, to local civic association members and more.

Creating a Physical Sense of Place by Enhancing Infrastructure

By seeking improvements to landscaping, pedestrian lighting, wayfinding, visual identity, and event infrastructure, the Cherry Creek North BID leveraged a massive infrastructure project to quite literally build a new sense of place for the area. Countless hours of stakeholder and community outreach were undertaken in addition to hiring the foremost experts in design, architecture, and planning.

San Pedro Squared

The San Pedro Squared project converted 12 parking spaces in a nearly block-long city-owned garage and five on-street parking spots into four micro-retail shops and the city’s longest parklet. The four shops, collectively called MOMENT, changed the streetscape and feel of the block. The shops and parklet provide unique and aesthetically interesting improvements to the garage facade, with wooden awnings, bright furniture, sidewalk painting, murals and lush plantings that soften the building.

Biscayne Green – A Public Space Intervention Showcasing a Reimagined Biscayne Boulevard

The 2025 Downtown Miami Master Plan includes a goal to permanently transform Biscayne Boulevard into an urban boulevard that features a pedestrian promenade, emphasizes transit, and provides bicycle infrastructure. An objective of the Biscayne Green Temporary Intervention was to bring awareness of the barrier effect Biscayne Boulevard represents and to showcase how these spaces can be turned around into a local destination for green space, entertainment, and community.