Tucson’s First Parklet concept revealed

At the beginning of this year, we made a major push to establish Tucson’s First Parklet in partnership with Exo Roast Co., The Old Market Inn Tile Shop, and Tap & Bottle – three businesses located on the northwest corner of 6th Avenue and 7th Street. After a great jump start complete with a crowd-sourced fundraising campaign and lots of media coverage, we ran into some hiccups in the planning process. Namely, we found out that the entire vicinity of that intersection would be torn up in 2015 to do some major underground drainage work.

While it’s been hard to wait, the team decided that it would be wise to hold off and build a “permanent” parklet rather than try and get something put in place now, only to have to rip it up in a year.

The good news is that it’s given us time to really think through the design concept and work with a fantastic architecture firm: DUST Architects. They’ve done pro-bono work and come up with a great, desert-appropriate concept for the parklet and we’re absolutely thrilled to see it come together.

We’d like to give a huge heart-felt thanks to DUST for all of their hard work.

Here’s their concept…

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SEMILLA micro park[let]

The intent was to initially reclaim a parking space and make it a small, inspiring and beautiful outdoor space for people to gather. This process then incorporated the City of Tucson’s plans for street improvements at the corner of 6th Ave. and 7th St. as part of the Downtown Links project.

The Intent remaining the same, the Semilla (seed) was planted to RECLAIM parts of the new and existing hardscape, by incorporating water collection and reintroduction of soil and desert plants. The idea to reclaim the earth and watershed is based heavily on practices already in use throughout parts of the city and surrounding neighborhoods, through sustainable harvesting of rainwater as irrigation to REGENERATE the biology of the desertscape in the urban environment. This will promote the growth of native, pollinator, and edible plants that support the lives of the desert species that depend on them.

This lays the groundwork and is the essential part of the concept that is SEMILLA micro park. Once Phase 1 is complete, it sets the stage for Phase 2 and the introduction of components that allow for the human interaction and habitation of the space. Steel root structures grow steel grate hexagon lilypads out of the earth, existing as a canopy above the micro life of the catch basin. Steel and wood seating also emerges from the catch basin to provide solitary or communal interaction. These components allow for us to COMMUNE with each other and the micro environment created. A place to CONGREGATE and play during business hours or after hours for a stroll through the neighborhood.

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