By Alison Lee | 15 Feb 2022
The way we use our streets has changed over time, from places where different activities (trade, social interaction, movement, playing) occur to places that are largely a monoculture of cars.

The years of the pandemic have required a pragmatic change in the way we think about streets, as we look to them to facilitate socially distant movements. We ask the question: Can car parking spaces be used to save cafes, bars, and restaurants?

Over a six-month period, the number of outdoor dining permits issued in inner Melbourne rose by 73% as businesses sought new ways of working. The dining parklet has now been popularised across Australia and is here to stay. Urbis’ work has evaluated the benefits of these outdoor dining rooms and shown that they are both good for business, the broader economy and the community.

Kerbside parking is not dead, but the economic benefits of other uses suggest there must be more variety. Beyond the dining parklet, what other uses are there for our kerbs? How about supporting a broader range of businesses by using parking spaces for sports clubs and gyms, coffee carts, food vans, groceries and live music? Why not expand the idea of supporting thriving communities and using these spaces as galleries and museums, library classes, playgrounds and more green spaces?

Watch Alison Lee’s Sydney Summit presentation about the need for more nuanced uses of our kerbs (not just parking!) to support businesses and communities as we recover from these pandemic years below.

If you want to know more about the economic benefit of dining parklets and bike parking as uses of our kerbs, check out Alison’s article here.