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London’s catching the ‘parklet’ bug

Charming tiny green squares are popping up all over town

Joe Mackertich
Written by
Joe Mackertich

Debate currently rages in the Time Out office regarding the phenomenon of parklets. Where does a parklet end and a green begin? Who is making them and where can you see one? Some Doubting Thomases on our team claim parklets aren’t even a real thing. Unbelievable. 

Folks: parklets definitely are a real thing, and we should be happy about that. They are well good. The thinking is this: London has successfully reduced the number of cars on its roads. In some neighbourhoods (Hackney for instance) a whopping 70 percent of residents no longer own a motor vehicle. What this creates is loads of unused, unloved parking spaces. 

The one you can see in the above image was installed by Meristem Design, who have transformed eight drab parking spaces into four green, vibrant parklets across Fulham and Hammersmith. But these guys are not alone in their endeavour. Parklets have been popping up all over town. Witness the fitness:

What could be better than repurposing these vacant spaces for all sorts of other uses? We’re talking grass. We’re talking benches. We’re talking outdoor games. If you’ve recently spotted a Londoner idly swilling a glass of wine on what looks like a rectangle of grass surrounded by bits of a picket fence, you’ve seen a parklet. 

There’s even a London Parklet Campaign, dedicated to getting a load more of the mini spaces up and running, with help from residents and local businesses. According to the campaign, parklets (among other things) reduce social alienation, provide community focal points and don’t cost a bomb. All objectively good things, I think we can agree. Add your voice to their campaign right here.

I’ll tell you where parklets definitely are a thing: Lisbon (this links to a foreign language). I asked Time Out’s very pleasant Lisbon editor Vera Moura why she thinks they’ve taken off big time in Portugal. ‘The first parklets in Lisbon were born after two lockdows and felt like a breath of fresh air,’ she says. ‘These small green oases in the middle of the city invite people to sit and just enjoy street life. The project started with two parklets: parking spaces converted into places to park people.’ Cheers, Vera!

See any new parklets pop up in your neck of the woods? Let us know.

London’s best green spaces, according to us.

Time Out’s take on the city’s best hidden parks.

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