Pop-up parks are spaces where communities re-create their streets as temporary cafes, playgrounds and bike lanes. All it takes is the addition of some potted trees, café tables, and painting in some bike lanes. "Temporary parks allow cities to test drive new public spaces," says Prema Gupta who masterminded several instant parks in Philadelphia. Pop-up parks not only bring life to a vacant space but also bring a community together. Joe Baldwin, who helmed the creation of a pop-up park, has provided some suggestions for transforming blacktop into green space.

  1. Keep it street legal: To gauge public sentiment about the proposed event, you must also get a minimum of 65 percent of the block to sign a petition
  2. Score some green: See if any sod companies are willing to donate some turf for the park
  3. Get a helping hand: Participants can lend a hand by simply landscaping the park
  4. Go for the green: By law, block parties have to be accessible to everyone, so be sure to get the community involved.
  5. Leave unsoiled: The city doesn’t provide cleanup, so it’s up to you. As it turns out, sod isn’t all that difficult to get ride of.

Via Time Out Chicago

Temporary streetscapes have expanded beyond basic seating and greenery. Residents of Queens, New York close a busy block to cars and turn it into a “play street,” with free movies and yoga classes during the summer weekends. 

In Dallas, Texas residents were fed up with a vacant block of commercial buildings so they organized a one-day demo of installing trees and benches and filling in the block with pop-up shops. Now almost all storefronts are occupied. The concept of “A Better Block Project” started spreading throughout the country. Even Oklahoma City started their own better block and revitalized a historic block.

Click here to learn more about pop-up parks and other innovative ideas for turning an empty space into a great public space!