Open source parklet system helps cities to turn human & green

*Words by Jorn Wemmenhove | Humankind & Lennaert van der Hoeven | Business Design Agency

In a country known for cozy, dense, and ancient city centers, Rotterdam is an anomaly. Destroyed during World War II, and rebuilt according to the at that time modern planning paradigms, the city turned into a car paradise, with wide streets and lots of on street parking. But since 15 years Rotterdam is undergoing a rapid transition towards a human and green place to be. How? By adjusting its planning practices to be able to accommodate this change, making use of tactical urbanism. Their modular parklet system is now made open source. So all cities can have the buzz words and the urban change, for free!

Years ago some clever planners at the municipality invented the bicycle parklets, to reduce on-street parking and provide more space for cyclists. Over the years it gained a lot of experience with tactical urbanism and parklets in particular. But they usually turned out to be expensive, difficult to manage and therefore impossible to scale up. The city asked local agency for urban change Humankind and Business Design Agency to come up with a solution.

Truly smart, modular system

“It makes our street look nicer. We added herbs which I use to cook meals that we share with other neighbours. It brings our street together!” :Local Annie

The PRKLT as transition accelerator

The PRKLT is not only a way to turn on-street parking into a pop-up park, from grey to green. It is a system that takes the hardware, software and orgware of the city into account. The output is not just a good looking green oasis, but a tool to accelerate the transition towards less car-depended, human and green neighbourhoods.

“The current climate crisis calls for collaboration and sharing knowledge. We can’t afford to keep it all to ourselves” :Mark Bode (Business Design Agency)

Open source to open up neighbourhoods

We are BDA! An entrepreneurial innovation agency that strives for a strong local economy, more green in the city and a better living environment.