In praise of pocket parks

Pocket parks are often an afterthought by developers, architects and councils. Typically, they are bits of left over space that can’t be used for a building or a road. With increased population density, this public space needs to be planned. And it needs to be accessible and inclusive.

“These pocket parks are a terrific opportunity to answer that problem and to provide public space for the local community where previously there may not have been any.” Mike Harris, UNSW.

A shady area with seating in a residential setting.

Pocket parks are being created in spaces not previously considered for green space in Sydney. Large parks such as Centennial Park in Sydney are planned, but master plans need to plan smaller parks in subdivisions as well.

Pocket parks are not all the same. A town centre might have more seating whereas a residential one could feature play equipment. They can also be part of mitigating heat effects. In existing developments, creating a pocket park might mean reclaiming portions of the street.

“We must consider public spaces as social infrastructure and value them in terms of their wellbeing benefits,” Ela Glogowska, UNSW.

A neat paved area with a seat, hedging, shrubs and trees. Two storey homes are in the background.

Larger parks are still a must, but smaller places within easy walking distance are also essential. It is worth applying the three basic principles of the Everyone Can Play guide. Can I get there, Can I play, Can I stay. Connection to Country is another factor often forgotten.

The title of the article Architecture & Design is Pocket parks: Small in size, huge in benefits.

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