Public space is crucial to any urban center and can be taken for granted in today’s society where people find it more important to have their own space than to share it with others. Fargo is host to a frighteningly large amount of paved parking areas and unused and inoperative spaces in some of the most active parts of the city. Parklets are seasonal expansions of the existing sidewalk designed to provide space and amenities to people using the street, which can come in many forms and designs to complement the place. Cities with great urban spaces like Portland, San Francisco and even those closer to home like Minneapolis, have started to embrace Parklets, creating master plans and guidelines set out for them.
Fargo Parklet 1.0 was a test to see what could be done with a small amount of public space that would usually be planted in and then forgotten about, and done at a fraction of the cost. Its modularity makes it easy to move and store so that when the weather turns cold it can be easily put away and be ready for next year. Its lack of beautification made it cheap to construct at less than $400. The corner of Broadway and 2nd Avenue was slated to receive new plants at a much higher cost, which is inefficient in so many ways. The planters cost the city $2,300 each, while their greenscaping deactivates what could be a public space. And that’s certainly not to say that Parklets can’t be green, the necessity for plants is higher with Parklets as they offer more comfort to people who use them and can highlight the space.
The next iteration of the Parklet for Fargo is to create something that defines a place and enhances the space to a level that normal planting couldn’t do. The first iteration showed how a space that has been stagnant for so long can be different and repurposed for the pedestrian experience. The next one will be a more long term solution designed for more aesthetics than pure functionality. These small forms of tactical urbanism show that Fargo is ready to become a forward thinking urban center and are important to show the citizens of tomorrow that this is great city to be in.