News | 15 December 2022

Parklets popping up in time for summer

Parklets are starting to pop up around the city on Courtenay Place, Dixon Street and Oriental Bay, just in time for summer and the silly season.

Parklet at The Champegneria.
The Champagneria parklet on Courtenay Place.

After a few trials in the city, more business owners are taking on parklets after seeing how successful they have been for other restaurants and cafes. 

These pockets of outdoor space can bring more people and activity to a street while leaving footpaths clear for people passing through. 

They can also add more plants, art, seating, and bike or scooter parking to a neighbourhood, supporting zero or low carbon ways of moving around the city.

The programme started a year ago in response to COVID, and since then they have been changing the way people use streets, says Project Manager Urban Regeneration and Design Charlotta Heyd. 

“It’s about making people the priority and promoting the idea that our streets aren’t just for vehicles and movement, it’s valuable space for people to enjoy too.”

Local business owner Lydia Suggate now has two parklets for her businesses. One outside her restaurant Nolita, which has been there since May, and now more recently at the bar The Champagneria. 

She believes that the parklet has helped make her business stand out.

“At the Champagneria, having the extra area gives good visibility and makes the street feel nicer. It adds to the look of the city and fits a good number of people, instead of just a couple of cars that use it. We’re happy with having the extra area, it’s a great sun trap.”

Two people sitting at their parklet.
'Aye! Empanada' owners, Ayelen and Sebastian.

Sebastian from Aye! Empanada on Oriental Bay is in the final process of setting up his parklet, and is excited by the opportunities it will bring for his business.

“The first summer in our new location was hard as a lot of people didn’t know we were here. The parklet is one of the big things that’s changed that for us. It’s given us a lot of exposure and we’re getting  lots of new faces coming in.

“We’re just waiting on cushions and umbrellas, and then we’ll be even more set for summer!” 

Sebastian has had a lot of positive feedback from the businesses around him and isn’t worried about the car park being taken away in-front of his cafe. 

“There is plenty of public transport around and it’s easy to walk here once you’re at the beach, so people can get to us easily. We would highly recommend any business to try out a parklet and hope people can come and enjoy them!

The Council are keen to collaborate with more businesses to trial a parklet, and we’re also working with businesses interested in investing in longer-term street changes.

Information and a design guide are available on the Council’s website so interested businesses can work out if an area near them could be used for a parklet.