Micro Placemaking with Macro Results: Designing DC's First Semi-Permanent Parklet
October 15, 2015
In July, D.C.'s first seasonal parklet popped up along K Street's busy commercial district. Transforming two parking spots into a playful, interactive micro-park, it invites pedestrians and office workers into a small oasis with fern and liatris.
Called "parKIT," this new public space was designed by Gensler in collaboration with the Golden Triangle BID, as a toolkit for D.C.'s parklets. Wedge-shaped, multi-use modules of various heights can be scattered and rearranged by the public, and the scene at the parklet has been ever-changing since its opening.
In this presentation, the parKIT team discussed the lessons learned from the design process, various reactions, and discoveries through the daily operation of the parklet. Also, they shared their observations on how temporary urban spaces can generate a new type of participation and placemaking in D.C.
Laura CareyLaura Carey, Associate AIA, Associate ASLA, is a technical designer in Gensler's Washington, D.C., office focusing on landscape architecture and architectural design. Her projects range in scale and scope from master planning to product design and include work both in the U.S. and abroad. When approaching any project, Carey seeks to combine small scale industrial design elements with large scale thinking to create unique and meaningful places. Carey holds Master of Architecture, Master of Landscape Architecture, and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Pennsylvania.
Claire KangClaire Kang, Associate AIA, is a technical designer in Gensler's Washington, D.C., office where she focuses on revitalizing and realigning existing airport infrastructure with future operational needs. Prior to joining Gensler, she worked for Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei while documenting the lives of urban villagers in Beijing. As a 2013 Dow Sustainability fellow, Kang collaborated on interdisciplinary research which examined the redevelopment of a 10-block neighborhood in Detroit. She holds a master's in architecture from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto.
Carolyn Sponza, AIACarolyn Sponza, AIA, is an architect, planner and urbanist who lives and works in the District. As a senior associate and master planner with Gensler, Sponza has worked on projects of all scales — from local neighborhood master plans to new city plans and transportation master plans for rail facilities and airports. Sponza is an established facilitator and writer, recently authoring a guide to pop-up projects called Conceptualizing Temporary Urbanism.