Parklets — i.e., sidewalk extensions that serve as pocket parks, outdoor dining terraces, or as other amenities — have been around for many years, but the coronavirus pandemic prompted cities to further embrace these solutions. In the Liverpool Without Walls project, Arup and Meristem Design collaborated with the city council to create modular designs with planters, separation screens and benches. “We felt that we could easily take the parklet design and adapt it to make it safe to meet social distancing guidelines to help give the bars, restaurants and cafes in Liverpool much needed outdoor space,” explained Jonathan Mottershead from Arup. The project is part of Liverpool’s strategy to promote the safe re-opening of catering after the pandemic lockdown.
Relation to Resilience
The parklets in the Liverpool Without Walls project show how local governments can support local businesses in times of pandemic. By flexibly repurposing parts of public space, in particular streets and parking space, enabled local restaurants to stay open during difficult times. By staying open, and by the various preventive measures taken in the design, the parklets provided a safe space for people to gather over a meal and connect, during a period that is marked by social isolation.