top of page

Short interviews were taken throughout the festival, which demonstrate participant engagement and feedback about the installation. The installation was successful and enjoyed by all.

This Collaborative project was initiated in October 2017 and the design and planning process took a matter of months. Getting permissions and funding.

The Parklet Movement


This proposal was inspired by others working on the parklet project. Parklets are intended for people. They are a way of extending the usable space available for pedestrians and offering people a place to stop, to sit, eat and relax. Parklets can also serve as urban gardens, providing benefits such as absorbing or blocking harmful pollutants, and improving biodiversity. Parklets can also provide space for art and other visual amenities. The movement was kick-started in San Francisco in 2010 and has gained traction in cities all over the world for example in Mexico City, Denmark, Paris, Glasgow, Leeds as well as London.

In London, one of the forerunners was Green Campaigner Brenda Peuch who set up the People Parking Bay in front of her house by London Fields in 2017. Following this, Hackney Council ran a competition for individuals, neighbours and communities to take-over parking spaces across the Borough. Parklets have popped up since in Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham and Haringey. No other University in London has built or installed a parklet on their campus.


ParkUp, a collaborative project between Imperial College researchers at the Centre for Environmental Policy, the Grantham Institute, and Emma Brassington, an artist at University of the Arts London.


ParkUp encourages passersby to rethink how we design, manage and use urban space in more sustainable and smart ways. The installation involves ‘taking over’ space that is normally reserved for cars, and redesigning it as a community space: an urban garden and miniature park. By reconfiguring typical 5x2m parking spaces with plants, seating and interactive poster boards,  ParkUp aims to stimulate thinking around how cities could look and feel if they were designed for people instead of cars.


Besides showcasing Imperial’s leading research to members of the public (through the installation of large 2mx1m information boards embedded into the installation) the space was used for other public engagement initiatives: with interactive games: plant your own vegetables, high pollutant absorbing plants and a 'design your own city' games board.The installation was also used for informal talks and workshops.

The project was funded by the Grantham Institute Imperial college and University of Arts London, Student Initiative fund


Research Communication


A primary aim of ParkUp is to communicate and engage people in our current research on smart, sustainable and healthy cities. Drawing on the preliminary research findings of Doctoral Researcher Karina Corada we will install plant life identified as particularly effective at removing particulate matter and harmful gases. We will install and plant these species with members of the general public during the festival weekend, offering opportunities for public engagement and discussion. Information about each plant, and how it works to absorb pollution, will be located within the flower beds allowing users of the parklet to find out about the effective plant species for air pollution removal.


The design of the ParkUp encompasses multiple integrated large information boards and games. Here, we highlighted further work done by Doctoral Researchers Catalina Cruz (on urban gardening), Karina Corada (on plant type and air pollution) and Rosie Riley (on air pollution and behaviour change). These information boards will provide information on urban greenspace and active travel in a informative, visual, compelling and engaging way. Research by Dr Audrey de Nazelle and her research group at the Centre for Environmental Policy suggest that redesigning urban space can encourage active travel, reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and improve the public’s mental and physical health. Shifting the focus of urban design towards pedestrians and cyclists can have numerous benefits. In particular, the reduction in motor transportation reduces harmful local air pollution that is responsible for approximately 9000 premature deaths every year in London alone. New amenity spaces such as ParkUp can be used for parks, urban gardens or other community activities. ParkUp will physically embodies this research as well as communicates it to passersby via the information boards and interactive games.



Our Parklets


London-based design company Meristem has parklets that can be moved around to different locations. Meristem have successfully installed their parklets across london for Hammersmith and Fulham Council, The City of London Corporation, and Hackney and Ealing Councils. For the Imperial Festival, we will be using two of the Meristem parklet bases, adapting them with our own plants, information boards and other decorations. 


bottom of page