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PLAZAS + PARKS Plazas and parks can be created from an underutilized street right-of-way or parking lot space into an area reserved exclusively for human activity. Temporary plazas and parks can enhance local economic and social vitality, pedestrian mobility, access to public transit, and safety for all street users. Like a parklet (not included in this guide due to abundance of existing materials and design information), plazas and parks depend on a successful partner can act as a steward of the public space.

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DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS Plazas or parks work best on lowly trafficked “stub” or “slip lane” street segments with low vehicle traffic volumes and active retail spaces that front the space. Look for a space where additional public space would be an amenity, or where high volumes of pedestrian traffic merit enhancing such street space available for walking, sitting, and other passive and active programming opportunities. When designing a plaza or park, it is important to create a clear, strong edge to define the space using a combination of barrier elements, surface treatments, and landscaping elements (more on that to follow). Keep your public space compact so that activity is not spread too thin.


SURFACE TREATMENTS: »» Striping: Use min. 4 in. solid white lines to separate the plaza from the roadway. »» Colored treatments: Murals or other specialized surface treatments can be used to further define the plaza or park space.



BARRIER ELEMENTS: Physical barriers (such as flexible delineators or large granite blocks) should be used to create a strong edge and define the place as a pedestrian-only zone. LANDSCAPING ELEMENTS: Plants, trees, and other landcape amenities go a long way in making the plaza an inviting space to linger and socialize.


SIGNS: For plaza branding and explanation. May also be required to communicate rules of public space use (no smoking, etc.).


STREET FURNITURE: Movable chairs and tables are preferable. Shade elements should also be added in sunny/hot climates.


PROGRAMMING: Activating plazas and parks with programming is key to success. Events and activities can include exercise classes, live music, food trucks, farmer’s markets, etc.

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Above: Somerville, MA pop-up plaza designed for the Davis Square “Somerville by Design” charrette (Dan Bartman). Below: Dewey Park in Burlington, VT was created by converting a low-volume, redundant street segment into an interim design plaza. The surface features a mural by a local artist, Abby Manock. Sybertech planters are are maintained by community volunteers. Street furniture includes movable seats that are made available during the weekly farmers market held in the plaza, as well as during other special events (Street Plans).


Tactical Urbanist's Guide to Materials and Design v.1.0  

The only materials and design guidance for Tactical Urbanist demonstration, pilot, and interim design projects. Funded by the James L. Knigh...

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