Temporary Greenspaces Turn Undeveloped Lots Into Micro Parks
After lots exchange hands, they can sit empty for years before development begins, often as eyesores. Fort Worth's Near Southside Inc has a solution to make better use of space during development limbo.
The org, which promotes redevelopment in Fort Worth's (you guessed it) Near Southside neighborhood, is building the city's first micro park. Magnolia Micro Park sits on a 5k SF lot that owner Mike Dolabi plans to turn into a mixed-use project. In the meantime, Near Southside has transformed the barren land into a public greenspace with tables, a refurbished shipping container and turf grass.
By way of a license agreement with Mike, Near Southside furnished the park with donated and recycled materials, and plans to keep the park intact until groundbreaking. When the time comes, Near Southside will roll up the turf grass and haul off the park materials—hopefully to a permanent location.
The park increases awareness of the lot, benefiting the landowner long term. Plus, Near Southside covered the cost of installing the park, maintenance and liabilities, Near Southside director of planning Mike Brennan tells us.
The key to the park's success can be attributed to both Mikes having a desire to better the neighborhood. Owners must think outside the view of their narrow concerns and understand the benefit for the community, Mike says.
But creating a micro park can be an inexpensive way to support the community before you develop, even without the help of a third party like Near Southside. The ideas of tactile urbanism and DIY public greenspaces has become widespread, Mike tells us. And in areas with a lot of private residences—both multifamily and single family—public greenspaces can be hard to come by.