Pop-Up Public Spaces: Watch A NYC Parking Space Become A Commons

Parking Space

Making the most of every square foot of public space in an urban area is a great way to build community and achieve that lost sense of a “commons” that is so vital to healthy cities.

Founded about two years ago, the Pop-up Café Program by the NYC Department of Transportation teams with local restaurants to provide outdoor public seating in areas where sidewalk seating was previously unavailable. They use small but well-designed parcels of sidewalk or parking space to create miniature patios for warm weather seating. The seating is open to the public and no purchase at the partner restaurants is required.


The pop-up café at Local (144 Sullivan St.) in Greenwich Village was installed last July, creating a public space for a dozen or so people to hang out that would otherwise have been occupied by a single car. In the time lapse video below, the space is visited by 96 people in one day.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJlF57cUJnY]
Craig Walker, the owner of Local, says that the newly installed public space is “definitely good for business, especially in a way that creates new space for the community.”

Similar programs are “popping up” in California, Pennsylvania and Canada, with more on the way.

Video Courtesy of NYC DOT

Top Image Credit: Flickr – miggslives


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Author: Amanda Buhman

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