Global Street Design Guide

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Table of Contents

Global Street Design Guide

Existing Conditions

Parklets generally entail the conversion of two or more parallel parking spaces, or three to four angled parking spaces. The configuration will vary according to the site, context, and desired character of the installation.

Parklets may be installed on streets that have high pedestrian volume and local business activity, but lack public space for pedestrians.

Where on-street parking is often obstructed due to spillover of street activity, the city can allow the change in use of one or more parking spaces through a permitting process, requiring that the spaces remain open and accessible to the public.

Design Guidance

 Parklets must be buffered using a wheel stop at a desired distance of 1.2 m from the parklet to ensure visibility to moving traffic, pedestrians, and parked vehicles. This buffer may also serve as a space for adjacent property owners to accommodate curbside trash collection.

 Incorporate vertical elements such as flexible posts or bollards to make parklets visible to traffic.

Allow a minimum width of 1.8 m for the parklet, or the width of the parking lane.

Provide small channels between the base and the platform to facilitate alternate drainage, so that the design of a parklet does not inhibit stormwater runoff.

 Ensure that parklets have a flush transition at the sidewalk and curb to permit easy access and avoid trip hazards.

Place parklets at least 5 m away from the intersection. Where the installation of a parklet is under consideration for a site near an intersection, analyze volumes of turning traffic, pedestrian flows, sight lines, and visibility.

Furnish parklets in ways that make theft impossible or unlikely. Site selection should consider the level of surveillance both during the day and at night.

Use movable tables and chairs and integrate seating and other features into the parklet structure to enhance flexibility and usability. Work with partners to manage moveable  furniture and potentially store them elsewhere overnight.

Designs for the substructure of a parklet vary and depend on the slope of the street and overall design of the structure. The substructure must accommodate the crown of the road and provide a level surface for the parklet.1

Deck-pedestals spaced under the surface at different heights are commonly applied to achieve flush level surface. Another method is to provide steel substructure and angled beams.

Use slip-resistant surfaces to minimize hazards and ensure wheelchair accessibility.

Load-bearing capacity of floors vary by local agency. At a minimum, design for 450 kg/m.2

Include an open guardrail to define the space. Railings should be no higher than 0.9 m and capable of withstanding at least 90 kg of horizontal force.

Additional Considerations

The design of a parklet varies according to the wishes of partners or applicants. Designs may include seating, greenery, cycle racks, or other features, but should always strive to become a focal point for the community and a welcome gathering place.

Guidance should be developed at the city or regional level to encourage creative design that enhances the local context while maintaining appropriate safety standards.

In some cases, parklets may be operated by street vendors and can act as temporary pop-up shops.

Parklets are easier to administer through partnerships with adjacent businesses or surrounding residents. Involve local partners to program, fund, and maintain the parklet, and to keep it safe and clean.

Where no local partners are present, a parklet may be installed and managed by the city as a traditional park or public space.

Parklets are easy to implement and test as they can be created with low-cost materials and community participation.

They can provide an opportunity to collect comparative data to estimate the longer-term impact of replacing parking with public space.

Parklets are best tracked and measured when administered as part of a citywide program by the city transportation, planning, or public works agencies.

Cities may opt to use a prototype or standardized designs to increase affordability.

Cycle racks or physical activity equipment may be incorporated into or adjacent to the parklet.

Cities with heavy snowfall or extreme rain or floods should consider seasonal use and take local maintenance protocols into account.

While parklets are primarily intended as assets for local communities, they have been shown to increase pedestrian volumes, and generate revenue for adjacent businesses.3

This typical parklet section shows how the slope of the roadbed can be accommodated to provide a flush transition between the sidewalk and the parklet surface.

Parklets vary in configuration and design but typically replace two or more parallel parking spaces, or three to four angled parking spaces. They can include seating, tables, planting, cycle racks, artwork, shade structures, and other elements.


Following the success of the first parklet project at Rua Padre João Manuel in 2014, parklets became part of the citywide master plan of São Paulo to encourage additional public spaces as part of street design. A specific policy (DECRETO Nº 55.045) now regulates the creation and maintenance of parklets throughout the city. These parklets consist of fixed seating, planters, and cycle parking, and local design guidance assists to streamline the process.

As of May 2016, a total of 42 parklets have been built by private initiatives in São Paulo, and the municipality agreed to an additional 32 public parklets, one for each district, to expand the program to other parts of the city.

São Paulo, Brazil. A top view of a parklet on Rua Padre João Manuel which set a precedent for new policies regulating parklets in the city.


This pilot parklet was created in exchange for a loading bay and is part of a wider Regeneration Framework enacted by the Glasgow City Council. It was designed in  collaboration with the parklet host and features wooden benches, greenery, a seasonal canopy, and local information boards. Built by Community Safety Glasgow, with assistance from volunteers in their Community Pay Back Program, the parklet was constructed using reclaimed timber.

Glasgow, Scotland. This parklet was constructed as part of Sauchiehall Regeneration Framework, under the City Center Regeneration pilot.


The first parklet in Lima was conceived in February 2015, as a result of a Pocket Urban Intervention workshop. Since the municipal authorities were skeptical about the duration of use and quality of space, it was constructed with funding and efforts of students and teachers of a local institution. Well received by the media and the local community, the project was made part of a new program called “New Green Spaces,” initiated by the Environmental Office, Municipality of San Borja. There are plans to continue the construction of parklets in other parts of the city.

Lima, Peru. A parklet in San Borja conceived as part of a workshop held by an organization called Ocupa Tu Calle, and promoted by Lima Cómo Vamos and Fundación Avina.


1 Madeline Brozen et al., Reclaiming the Right-of-Way: Best Practices for Implementing and Designing Parklets. (Los Angeles: UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, University of California Los Angeles, 2012), 109.
2 Brozen, Reclaiming the Right-of-Way: Best Practices for Implementing and Designing Parklets, 87.
3 The Great Streets Project conducted a study in 2011 about the impacts of San Francisco parklets that found generally positive results relating to economics. Liza Pratt, Parklet Impact Study (San Francisco: SF Great Streets Project, 2011).

Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.

Case Study: Pavement to Parks; San Francisco, USA

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Case Study: Pavement to Parks; San Francisco, USA