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From Pavement to People, Building the Street of Tomorrow

Cities around the world have been adopting changes to their streetscapes to create more people-friendly environments, balancing the reality of automobile needs with more robust accommodations for pedestrians and bicyclists.

An early parklet installed in Victoria, BC

On the West Coast, a movement to develop “parklets” began earlier in the decade that transformed a single parking space into a decked platform for cafe seating, landscaping, bicycle parking, and more. The idea was to reclaim vehicle space for pedestrian use to highlight the needs for better urban greenspace, while developing invitations for people to linger and enjoy the outdoor environment.

The recent advent of ride-share services, autonomous vehicles, and bike-share services have introduced an array of mobility options that have presented opportunities to continue to reclaim street space for multi-modal use.

The Better Block Foundation collaborated with Ford Motor Company to design the first fully digitally fabricated “mobility parklet” for the street of tomorrow, which provides a  platform to wait for ride share services, autonomous vehicles or public transit pickup, a range of storage for personal and dockless bicycles, and comfortable spaces to sit and linger. Digital fabrication has been seen as the future of construction, with 3-D printing, lasercutting, and automated CNC wood routing becoming more prevalent due to replicability, availability of open-source designs, and rapid fabrication.

This unit was designed by Rickey Crum of the Offset Collective in Dallas and fabricated in Oak Cliff at Better Block’s headquarters.  The mobility parklet’s plans will be available for download and install for communities around the world using CNC technology. On February 20 at 7 PM, the parklet will be officially unveiled at the “Let’s Talk About Bike Share” panel discussion at Oddfellows Restaurant (316 West Seventh Street, Dallas).

Better Block’s Digitally Fabricated Mobility Parklet


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