rhp helps to create an oasis on Cambridge street
Volunteers from our Cambridge studio have been collaborating with local businesses, landscape designers, fellow architects and the local community to create an urban oasis-style ‘parklet’ on Mill Road in the Romsey Town area of the city.
Mill Road is a mile long vibrant multi-cultural street known for its diverse mix of independent shops and a growing cosmopolitan cafe culture, and a University, churches, a Hindu temple and a recently completed mosque.
A unique area of the city, the Times included it in the ’30 coolest place to live’ in 2013, but like many high streets or thriving communities it shares a common problem with limited space for people and vehicles to share, and with priority to traffic and deliveries while pedestrians and cyclists are squeezed to the perimeter with little space or clean air to breath.
Over the last few days in collaboration with 5th Studio, LDA, Feilden & Mawson, Studio 24, Neubau, Camcycle, Cambridge Association of Architects, local residents, local businesses and Romsey’s Neighbourhood Team, the group set out to provide a relaxing space for the public to sit and relax, creating a much needed green oasis in a usually car choked high street.
rhp’s Monika Olanrewaju said:
It was great to volunteer for this ground breaking community project in Cambridge. The project bought together my passions for placemaking and architecture. We supported fellow architectural and landscape design practices and local businesses who donated time and materials, and it produced amazing results. It really is an example of how people can create beautiful places when they work as a team.
What is a Parklet?
The Romsey Parklet is a much-anticipated experiment at the heart of the city to demonstrate the potential to transform and reclaim the road from vehicles for the benefit of residents and pedestrians.
The ‘parklet’ concept originated in San Francisco, with a single day installation in 2005, in the last ten years the city has embraced the concept and developed a guidance document that many other cities around the world have adopted and developed to help create temporary and permanent parklets in London, Mexico, Chicago and Philadelphia.
The reclamation of a section of road or car parking bays for temporary, permanent or seasonal creation of parklets can have measurable social, well-being, environmental and economic benefits to the residents, local business and the wider community.
The creation of places to sit, pause, relax and enjoy the activities and atmosphere of the street, whilst introducing planting and soft landscaping in areas where direct access to urban parks is lacking offers opportunities for social interaction.
The Romsey Parklet
The parklet is just one part of a series events and activities happening along Mill Road while the bridge separating Romsey Town and Petersfield is closed, all promoted under the 'Mill Road Summer' initiative which aims to promote and encourage continued use and trade in the street and welcome the community and visitors to explore the unique character of the area and enjoy the streetscape.
The main structure is made from reclaimed timber pallets and donated materials. Finishing touches including plants, trees, graphics, and bicycle racks have been added throughout the week long build programme.
The Romsey Parklet was officially opened by local MP Daniel Zeichner last weekend and will be removed at the end of the summer when the road re-opens, hopefully having demonstrated to the community and the city that it is possible to rethink and reconsider the way our city streets are designed to improve the experience for everyone.
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