Transforming the Streets of Sydney with Skiplet
Rebecca McHenry & Matt York
One person’s trash is another person’s treasure...
All over the world, from Times Square New York to Elizabeth Street in Melbourne, we have seen a significant push to reclaim the streets as places for people, not for cars. Innovative, passionate people are designing parklets, organising street closures, fighting for café seating areas, even advocating for inclusive play spaces to be bought to life in areas where we could previously only park a car or walk briskly to our destination. What’s more, with social distancing and public safety more important than ever before thanks to COVID-19, streets now play an additional, essential role in giving people in cities room to move freely and safely.
From lockdown, we have realised we have a unique opportunity to reclaim the streets for people. As our day-jobs have slowed, we have had more time to think – what can we do to ensure streets meet the needs of people now, and into the future? We realised, if we can make initiatives such as parklets affordable and efficient to deliver, we can find the ‘silver lining’ of COVID for Sydney and make our streets safer now, and more enjoyable into the future.
Skiplets are simple, effective and engaging parklet solutions that fit into a standard car space and can be delivered on a standard truck. Using a skip bin as a base, we transform “trash” into a moveable, flexible, intelligent parklets to be treasured by Sydney-siders. Skiplets can be used to dress any issue – designed as retail support initiatives with seating, used as footpath widening tactics, or installed to improve tree canopy and vegetation to reduce Heat Island Vulnerability. Costing an average of $50,000 per Skiplet, we can achieve a similar result for 1/5 of the average cost.