City Space Architecture implemented the first-ever parklet in Bologna as part of A-Place

August 7, 2021
By City Space Architecture

Picture by Elettra Bastoni.


In 2020 City Space Architecture implemented a parklet in front of its operational headquarters in the Porto-Saragozza neighbourhood, via Curiel 13/d, in order to develop some placemaking activities by promoting community engagement, creating cross-disciplinary learning spaces and engaging an intergenerational audience and different social groups, with special attention to the elderly and young people.

The design, implementation and management of the parklet is part of A-Place. Linking places through networked artistic practices, co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union. City Space Architecture is partner of A-Place, read more here.

A parklet is a public space, for non-profit purposes and open to all, it can be used for free for events and initiatives for the neighbourhood.



As a response to the pandemic, City Space Architecture (CSA) got involved in a local project named “Strade Aperte” (Open Streets), initiated by a number of Bologna-based grassroots organizations together with architects and designers, in order to suggest small-scale projects to reclaim the public land for greener, pedestrian-friendly and socially inclusive purposes. CSA’s parklet was included in the list of actions of “Strade Aperte” to be presented to the Municipality.

Regrettably, the process of obtaining a permit of the local government, even with the support of the “Strade Aperte” project, took a long time (from May to September 2020). City Space Architecture also asked to sign an agreement to co-create the parklet and get institutional suppport on this initiative. Bologna is the first Italian city that approved in 2014 a 'Regulation on collaboration between citizens and the city for the care and regeneration of urban commons'. Read more about the Regulation here.
According to the administrative procedure, our request was published on the website of the Municipality, for public evidence, here. Unfortunately, the Municipality of Bologna rejected our proposal to co-create the parklet. However, the Municipality granted permission but asked to pay a fee for the occupation of the public land, from September 30th to November 30th, specifically for the area hosting three parking spots where the design proposal of parklet was implemented.

It was difficult for the Municipality of Bologna to understand the social value of the parklet, its non-profit character and its capacity to reshape public land with a more innovative and alternative function than being a parking for cars, especially in terms of giving more space for physical distancing. In order to use the parking space, CSA had to pay a fee like any other commercial activity would do. In conclusion, the design and implementation of the parklet required more time, energies and financial resources than expected.

Since the opening of the parklet, on October 4th, 2020, we set up a communication strategy to inform other associations and art institutions in the neighbourhood about the initiative, also through social media (in particular on Facebook posting in several groups managed by local residents) and organized a series of cultural and artistic events in the parklet and the surrounding streets during October and November 2020.

At the beginning of November, new restrictions imposed by the Italian government, due to a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, made it impossible to organize other outdoor activities.

CSA has managed to extend the permanence of the parklet from December 1st until May 31st 2021. However, it is worth to mention that the Municipality has granted this extension only after payment of a fee for the occupation of the land.

In May 2021, City Space Architecture applied to the Municipality of Bologna in order to extend the duration of the parklet for additional two months, ending on July 31.



After 10 months of activities, care and dedication, throughout the winter, the pandemic and the severe restrictions imposed by the Italian Government, on the occasion of this last extension granted in May by the Municipality of Bologna, City Space Architecture decided to launch a social media campign to spread awareness regarding the importance of public space, especially in the suburban contexts, and the need to invest in small, even temporary, improvements in the design of the public realm through creative placemaking.

The street where the parklet has been implemented, via Eugenio Curiel in Bologna, is packed with cars, with poor quality of sidewalks and pedestrian accessibility.

On May 31 we launched on the Facebook group of the parklet the social media campaign, asking for:

- feedback, by filling out a form and write short comments

- donation, in orer to support City Space Architecture and help covering the costs we paid to the Municipality of Bologna.

The Facebook group of the parklet is currently sharing contents on placemaking, tactical urbanism, environmental issues, public space concepts, with projects, policies and initiatives developed in Europe and beyond, thus providing useful reading materials. It has currently 200 active members from across the world. It will stay udpated till December 31, 2021.

On July 29, 2021 City Space Architecture hosted a farewell party to celebrate our parklet, engaging local residents, artists, activists and public space lovers, from Bologna and elsewhere, with live music and a storytelling activity on the meaning and importance of public space, encouraging participants to speak up their voices.

The party included a sound performance by the artistic duo Tyche and Automatòn.


PLEASE SHARE OUR CAMPAIGN (below) - we need your contribution to support public space culture!



The PARKLET is a temporary installation created by the cultural association City Space Architecture in the Porto-Saragozza neighborhood in the city of Bologna (Italy), as part of A-Place. Linking places through networked artistic practices, co-funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union. Read the news here.

What is a PARKLET? A parklet is a public space, for non-profit purposes and open to all, it can be used for free for events and initiatives for the neighborhood.

It was inaugurated on 4 October 2020 and stayed in place till 31 July 2021.

City Space Architecture paid a fee to the Municipality of Bologna to keep the parklet in place, about € 450 per month, since it was created on September 30, 2020, by replacing three parking spots.

If you believe this is an important opportunity for the community to meet, interact and socialize, and an occasion to discuss about sustainable urban mobility, public space and nature-based solutions in urban contexts, please make a donation to support City Space Architecture. Thank you. 

Follow all activities on the Facebook group (active till December 31, 2021, for discussion and feedbacks).



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