Areas and Places

Regent Road parklet redefines Sea Point's urban space

The parklet will stay open, 24-7, and be available for public use while brightening Regent Road and encouraging people to occupy and reclaim ownership of the street.

A parklet is a public amenity for use by anyone at any time. It can take many forms, but in essence consists of a small park that is placed in a public parking bay on a city street. The aim of installing a parklet is to take back urban space from motor vehicles and reallocate it to the general public.

The Blok exhibition space on Regent Road in Sea Point gave the socially aware urban property development brand an unmissable opportunity to co-create a temporary parklet on the Atlantic Seaboard, and give back to the community in which they operate. The project, a collaboration between Blok, Future Cape Town, GAPP Architects and Cameron Barnes, was created in association with The City of CT’s parklet guidelines (2015), which aims to challenge introducing public space into dense urban areas.

GAPP Architects, winners of the Blok Parklet competition run in 2015, commented: “The Sea Point parklet is about taking a stand to reclaim and beautify public space along Regent Road for the people using the street. From past experience of parklet design, adaptable engaging spaces are the key influencing factors to usership. The design does exactly this as it encourages varied configurations to enable making spaces, which are easily adapted to varied situations. Triangular blocks of seating and planting can be placed together or near others to make intimate spaces, or pulled away to allow for large groups to engage. If an event is hosted and more standing room is needed, the blocks can easily be stored away. It also encourages non-motorized transport by providing convenient bicycle racks that are easy to mount and keep safe.”

Blok sponsored various elements of the project including the build, the hiring of the bays and the WiFi, but the structure is very much the property of the Sea Point public. The intention is that it is seen as offering a break from a busy stretch of road where there is little public seating; whether it be a comfortable place to read, eat, drink or interact with friends and strangers alike, or somewhere to take a call, take a seat, or simply take a break in a busy day.

Cameron Barnes, who constructed the parklet, says that “it should be seen as a slice of the Promenade on Regent Road. Somewhere that provides a comfortable escape from the urban environment, for anyone that needs it.”

The reason for the project is very specifically to try to understand how to define public space in an existing urban environment, and encourage people to think of the street as a space that they can use for purposes other than driving and walking between shops.

“We want to provoke conversation around public space; who can manage and participate in co-creating it, and essentially to redefine the way that people view public spaces in an urban environment,” says Jacques van Embden, MD of Blok.

“The parklet is a provocation as well as a gift. It extends the public realm into space formerly reserved for cars, thereby offering a space to pause and rest along a busy road where seating is scarce. At the same time, the parklet is the result of negotiation and collaboration with the city authorities – and a provocation to the car-owning public, to consider alternative ways of using and enjoying city space. As a public gesture, it is hoped that the parklet will also inspire similar interventions in more and more streets,” Rashiq Fataar, Future Cape Town.
The parklet will stay open, 24-7, and be available for public use while brightening Regent Road and encouraging people to occupy and reclaim ownership of the street.