Menu

userImg showBgrSwitcher

Background by

userImg

Thanks!

Menu

NYC’s Soft Side: Transforming City Sidewalks


New York is a pavement pounder's paradise. With so much to see and do, the only thing left wanting is a place to take a break when there's not a stoop in sight. Enter Softwalks: the Brooklyn duo re-envisioning the functionality of the humble footpath.

Softwalks
© Softwalks

Construction scaffolding is an eyesore at best, but the amount of perennial building sites in the Big Apple take the "work in progress" look to the next level. Over 189 miles of sidewalk sheds straddle New York City walkways in total, and lined end-to-end, this skeletal tunnel would stretch all the way from Manhattan to Baltimore!

In a green design crusade, Howard Cambers and Bland Hoke of Softwalks took to realizing the full potential of these shared spaces.

Let this short intro to the project sweep you off your feet:

Softwalks' DIY kit of modular furniture pieces latch onto existing scaffolding beams to create impromptu sidewalk hangouts. Their foldout chair and coffee counter clamp onto the exposed outer structure of the sidewalk shed, allowing pedestrian traffic to continue its flow while the weary pull up a pew next to the newly gentrified gutter. To further soften the edges of this classically uninviting city space, hanging planters add a floral flourish to the makeshift framework, while specially designed lampshades reflect the nocturnal glow of fluorescents.

Softwalks
© Softwalks
Softwalks
© Softwalks
Softwalks

Like the sidewalk sheds themselves, these fittings are designed to be modular, ready to be transported from one construction site to the next. More fixtures in the pipeline include a decorative trellis, benches, and communal game boards to incite community interaction. And while the project was designed with New York City in mind, these pop-up parks are fit to adorn street corners at any corner of the globe.

Softwalks
© Softwalks
Softwalks
© Softwalks
Click on a picture to launch the image gallery (10 images)

Softwalks have recently succeeded in their first crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, which means components for their "pop-up parks" are now inching closer to a sidewalk near you!

---
Which urban innovation project do you have a soft spot for? Let us know in the comments!

by Melissa King

Share

facebook
googlePlus
pinterest
stumbleUpon
E-Mail
seperate multiple email addresses with a comma

Comments (1)

Nicolás Guzmán

posted by Nicolás Guzmán | 09/25/2013 10:51 am

What a great idea, looks amazing

14 Sunrises Through the Seasons: Top Down Daybreak Drives from Winter to Summer

August 21, 2014
14 Sunrises Through the Seasons: Top Down Daybreak Drives from Winter to Summer

Photographer David Chang tracks the dawn of summer with stunning landscapes at sunrise. Scroll through the seasons from the backseat of his MINI Cabrio.

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: Scanned Spaces with Pernilla Ohrstedt

August 20, 2014
Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: Scanned Spaces with Pernilla Ohrstedt

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers glimpse the future of driverless navigation with Pernilla Ohrstedt as she explores virtual mobility in an ever-changing digital world.

Classic Mini in Berlin: Art and Adventure with Amrei Andrasch

August 14, 2014
Classic Mini in Berlin: Art and Adventure with Amrei Andrasch

Amrei Andrasch is a Berlin-based artist who brings paper to life in sculptures and animation. Read on to learn about her work and how her classic Mini brings fun and freedom to the streets of Berlin.

MINI Takes the States 2014: Coast to Coast with a MINI Motorcade

September 10, 2014
MINI Takes the States 2014: Coast to Coast with a MINI Motorcade

The great American road trip. It's a required class in the lifelong studies of a motoring scholar. Every other summer, a great convoy of road-hungry MINIacs make their way across the US in an epic transcontinental cruise. This year they took in 15 cities across 18 states in just 15 days. Scroll through the adventure here and study up for your own cross-country coursework.

Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: Suiting Up for Space with Lucy McRae

August 07, 2014
Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: Suiting Up for Space with Lucy McRae

When tech takes us out of this world, how will our bodies respond to long-haul space travel? Lucy McRae explores ways in which we might prepare for the final frontier.

MINI Space Mixtape: Summer Tracks for Kicking Back

August 28, 2014
MINI Space Mixtape: Summer Tracks for Kicking Back

Savour the sweet waning glow of summer with 7 tracks that refuse to see off the year's sunniest days.