March 22 2013

Lack of Green Spaces? Pocket Parks are the Solution

When one thinks of a park, one usually imagines a large plot full of trees in the centre of the city with routes for walking or jogging, and shaded sitting areas where people can enjoy the fresh breeze during the hot summer days. But what happens in cities, like Thessaloniki, Greece, in which green spaces are vital, but there is no free for such uses?

A Sign that points towards a Pocket Park Pocket parks are the solution to this common “lack-of-green-spaces” problem. Pocket parks, also known as vest-pocket parks or mini-parks, are just a smaller version of a regular park. All that is needed is a vacant lot between, or even behind, a couple of blocks of flats. As you can easily imagine, the less money, the more creativity!

A mini-park could include spaces for relaxing, a playground that you can visit with your children on a sunny morning, a small space for events, or even a small café where you can meet with your friends during your lunch break.

Pocket Park - Paley Park in New York City Cities known for their high level of architecture and urban planning, like New York City, can demonstrate great examples of pocket parks. Greek cities have seemed quiet indifferent to this type of green spaces – at least, until today. There are many proposals for mini-parks in several cities of Greece , such as Athens, Thessaloniki, and Agrinio. These are mostly made by students of Schools of Architecture. Just a few months ago in Athens,  the dream actually came true. Although it cannot be compared with the modern design Paley Park (NYC) has, it is a great start, and we all look forward for the next project.

1.Pocket Park in Sepolia 2. Pocket Park in Pagrati , Athens, Greece I think it is about time we reorganized the needs of our city and dealt with them, not with costly projects but with intelligence and creativity. Pocket parks are certainly a way to do that. They may seem a small and discreet intervention, but at the same time they may be a breath of fresh air for the concrete cities in which we live.

Are there any pocket parks in your city?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Dafni Dimitriadi

Dafni Dimitriadi is a student of Architecture at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Her numerous experiences in participating in architectural competitions have helped her understand the importance of research and design. She is interested in building and urban design restoration and aims to continue her studies in order to gain more knowledge related to these fields. She is an active volunteer and has participated in many interesting projects, including Open House Thessaloniki. She currently lives in Thessaloniki and through her blogs aims to explore developments associated with architecture and urban design.

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This entry was posted on Friday, March 22nd, 2013 at 9:58 am and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Environment, Environmental Design, Land Use, Landscape Architecture, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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4 Responses to “Lack of Green Spaces? Pocket Parks are the Solution”

  1. elsa koppasi Says:

    for your information , the two Athenian pocket parks you show on this article have been designed and made by an organisation called “atenistas”. We are all athenian volunteers who work with anything we can collect from the streets (pallets, tires, wood etc). Our member Labros Seklis who is an archiyect designs the parks and all together work on weekends to complete it.

  2. Steven Petsinis Says:

    Are there also pocket parks in Athens or anywhere else in Europe?
    In Australia the majority of out ‘pocket parks’ are extremely mundane and produced basically by local councils.
    We are really into activating obscure spaces at the moment and unique pocket parks
    with a community driven design may be a great concept over here.

    Great article, really inspiring.

  3. Dafni Dimitriadi Says:

    Dear Elsa, you are absolutely right ! I have linked the photos on the post with the website of the team (http://atenistas.org/). I personally admire your work ! Hope there are more examples in the future ! Thank you for your comment !

  4. Dafni Dimitriadi Says:

    Dear Steven, first of all thank you a lot for your comment !
    There are some examples of pocket parks in Athens and in other countries of Europe, for instance Denmark. “Copenhagen has a vision of becoming the capital city in the world with the best urban environment by 2015. Before 2015 the municipality will establish 14 pocket parks throughout the city and plant 3,000 trees to create green streets and connections”. (If you’d like to see more : http://www.dac.dk/en/dac-cities/sustainable-cities-2/all-cases/green-city/copenhagen—pocket-parks-a-drop-of-urban-green/?bbredirect=true. )
    Last but not least, it seems that where there is no proper organisation by the local councils etc. ,the community should undertake initiative and make better the place in which they live !

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