This summer, People's Liberty prototyped a temporary parklet outside our 1805 Elm Street location. Our hope was that this little experiment might attract new visitors to our gallery space during the 9-5 weekday hours. One of our summer residents, Sam O'Conner led the charge, getting her hands dirty to design and build a dozen wooden structures, prompting individuals to interact. We asked Sam to reflect on her experience, sharing lessons she learned along the way. Here's what Sam said:
“Take a risk, your courage will grow.” This short, but oh-so-true sentence was recited by my global studies teacher almost every day my sophomore year of high school, and it has never shown more truth until my Residency at People’s Liberty. I was hired by People’s Liberty as the Experiential Design Resident for the summer months. My main responsibility was to identify solutions on how to better activate our storefront gallery, especially Monday through Friday from 9:00-5:00pm.
Once I identified the task at hand I used my love for design thinking to dive right into the project. After an initial brainstorming session with the team, we realized that our storefront had great potential to be a showcase for those across the street at Findlay Market. We first thought bold signage, moving parts, life-size robots, etc...but eventually ended up with a more feasible idea—the parklet.
Parklets are temporary uses of space within the public right of way that create a more pedestrian-friendly environment and expand the social-life of the street. During my research phase, I learned that Cincinnati has had the legislation to create parklets since 2013. The primary goal for our installation was to get more people
to experience the Gallery, to inform more people about People’s Liberty and our mission, and to demonstrate positive transformation directly at our doorstep. The final design unveiled simple, but thought-provoking prompts and blank playing cards for the public to engage with...and they did!
So, what’s next for this project? Where can I find the next parklet in Cincinnati? Stay-tuned because I’ve got some big things up my sleeve. Look out for the first parklet project launching this Fall 2015. Cincinnati ain’t seen nothin’ yet!
The Parklet Lady