Just a summer ago, we co-designed Chicago’s first parklet (or people spot) in Andersonville, bringing the bustling pedestrian corridor a patch of green space to enjoy the sun. This summer, we are partnering with Dimo’s Pizza to bring another People Spot to Chicago, this time in Wicker Park. This newest parklet, only the city’s third, is also proudly supported by the Wicker Park SSA.
We are designing and building, and then the good people at Dimo’s will be caring for the parklet, open to the public for as long as pleasant weather permits. Dimos is also raising funds via Kickstarter, which launched on July 23rd, with a goal of $10,000. The money will cover design and maintenance costs, purchase materials for construction, subsidize artists, gardeners and designers and provide free wi-fi to the public.
As with our Andersonville parklet, we are creating usable open space, and not just a cafe platform. This parklet will be more sculptural with a large area dedicated to native plantings, which serve the dual role of screening traffic, and processing stormwater. The frame and flowing bench will be fabricated locally from steel. There will also be plenty of area for general seating and pizza munching. The exterior of the structure will be clad with reclaimed wood from the Rebuilding Exchange feature a colorful mural, an ode to Wicker Park’s bike culture. And if you look at the profile from the street, you’d swear is was a slice of pizza.
Parklets are an excellent way to carve out a bit of green space in an otherwise extremely impervious area, especially six corners, where concrete, asphalt and clusters of metallic cars overwhelm the senses. In addition to providing a place to recline and relax after (or before) a long work day, parklets help stormwater re-enter the Chicago system through permeable plant cover, instead of having it be drained far away and then re-routed back into pipes. Efficient and less energy intensive! Read on for some preliminary sketches of the parklet. Thanks so much for your interest and support!