Have a passion for re-making streets for people? Help us design the next generation of multimodal parklets, and you could see your ideas on the street in 2019.

In partnership with Better Block Foundation, Spin is launching an open call for designers, urbanists, architects, citizens and anyone who cares about safe and livable streets, to design and build an on-street prototype that blends the traditional parklet, bike corral, and bus shelter with placemaking. Winning projects will be rolled out on National Parking Day, September 20, 2019. You can submit your application here.

Photo courtesy of SPUR

Streets should be for people: that means more space dedicated to what people need — places to spend time in, to connect with each other, to find fulfillment and opportunity — and less to moving and storing private vehicles. The parklet has become a powerful tool for reclaiming the street for people: parking-space-sized installations with benches, greenery, games, workspaces and a whole lot else, that slow traffic, make more space for people, and remind us all that the right of way belongs to everyone.

We’re excited to be a part of the parklet revolution, and want to take things to the next level: we’re working to create more spaces for people in our cities, and help cities manage parking for scooters, bikes, and other light electric and human-powered vehicles. Scooters and bikes are here to stay, providing fun, clean, and safe ways of getting around. But when these vehicles are not in use, we want to do our part to help make sure they’re safely and efficiently parked. We’re inviting budding parklet designers from across the country to join us in bringing a new generation of parklets to American streets, ones that combine multimodal parking and charging with placemaking and all the things that make parklets enjoyable and useful.

Image courtesy of SDOT

What does the competition involve?

In the design phase, we’re asking people to design an on-street parklet prototype to be installed in a parking or flex zone, and that can be fabricated within a $1,500 budget. Designs should blend the traditional parklet, bike corral, bus shelter with placemaking infrastructure, and be appropriate for installation in the semi-arid climate of Denver, Colorado. See below for the criteria against which designs will be judged.

In the build phase, 5 finalist teams will be awarded $1,500 (teams can also raise up to $3,000 themselves), and receive mentorship and support from the Better Block Foundation, to fabricate and install their designs in Denver during September 2019. All the parklets will be on display during Park(ing) Day. Judges and the public will award a First Prize as well as a People’s Prize, both worth $2,500 to the winning team.

Are applicants designing these parklets/scooter placemaking areas for specific cities?

Yes. We chose Denver as our first city, because of its longstanding commitment to sustainable transit options, its existing parking day program, and a supportive local network of community partners and advocacy organizations.

What are the criteria?

All designs must:

  • Include built-in scooter parking and charging.
  • Provide shelter and seating.
  • Allow for 25% digital fabrication (3D printed, laser cut, CNC routed, etc.)
  • Stay inside a basic budget of $1,500 (team fundraising is allowed, up to $3,000, but not guaranteed by Spin.)
  • Be ADA accessible.

Top designs will:

  • Be exceptional, bold concepts that encourage interactivity and communication and provide inspiration for pedestrians, cyclists and scooter riders.
  • Be realistic, for ease of fabrication.
  • Consider positive impact on street safety and the scooter or bike rider’s experience.
  • Address environment through creative applications of greenery, shade, lighting.
  • Be scalable to other cities and geographies.

What will the winners of the competition receive?

Five finalists will be announced on July 26th, and invited to build their design with the mentorship of Better Block Foundation. They will be given $1,500, and a travel budget of up to $1,500, plus they’re permitted to raise up to an additional $3,000. During the Parking Day Event on September 20th — hosted in a to-be-determined location in Denver — installations will have the chance to win the Jury’s first prize or people’s choice award, each worth $2,500. All finalists will be featured in photo and video from the day.

When is the deadline for applying?

July 19.

Who will be the judges?

We will announce the panel in August, but will include experts in the local and national built environment, such as business owners, city officials, residents, better streets advocates, planners, architects, and designers.

Why are these parklets missing from the current micromobility landscape?

Current parklets use street car parking to provide public seating, greenery, and traffic calming to streets — and if they include parking, it’s usually designed for bikes. This will be the first design competition to ask designers to integrate scooter parking and charging in their prototypes. Given the increasing popularity of scooters and limited sidewalk space, we believe it’s a win-win to reclaim more of the roadway to provide places for pedestrians to sit, and an area to clear up any vehicle clutter.

When/where will the parklets be rolled out?

We will introduce the winning parklet designs in Denver, Colorado, on Park(ing) Day, September 20th. We’ll be finding homes for the parklets in the following weeks, working closely with local community organizations in Denver, so winning designs may live on well beyond the September showcase.

Who can apply?

We encourage anyone to apply who is interested in making our streets safer and more livable, anyone with a passion for reclaiming streets from cars and putting people first through better urban design. We welcome creatives, makers, designers, and architects — as well as people of all ages, backgrounds, and from all types of communities who are passionate about making streets great.