Pocket Parks: Urban Living Rooms for Urban Regeneration
Civil engineering and architecture
Urban parks are mostly implemented as large green-infrastructural projects exclusive to recreational activities and economies. Currently, 54% of the global population is urban and is projected to increase to 68% by 2050 (UN 2012). This entails the need for a more sustainable approach towards food production, movement and overall living together in cities. Micro-scale communal spaces could potentially prompt such goal. They are often most effective when they utilize abandoned or ill-used urban
... or ill-used urban voids; transforming them into pocket parks. This paper frames pocket parks as a potential first step towards both: sustainable urban regeneration, and equal access to public spaces in dense cities. It hypothesizes pocket parks as an answer to economic crisis, food production pressure, run-down communities and the lack of development land for communal spaces. It highlights their key implementation challenges. Also, the influence of communities' contextual needs on pocket parks' size, design, activities and funding is investigated by comparing selected international projects. Reflecting on the Mediterranean context, case studies from Cairo, Egypt and Tirana, Albania are analyzed and room for further implementation is discussed. Finally, the paper concludes with some recommendations to overcome their implementation challenges in commercial city centers and mixed-use residential areas.