In 2011, UCD worked with the City of Philadelphia to pilot Philadelphia’s first Parklets, thanks to funding from the William Penn Foundation. These innovative temporary seating platforms transform parallel parking spaces into a place to sit, relax, eat and enjoy street life. Parklets are landscaped with planters and a decorative railing, furnished with movable café tables and chairs, and add a distinct vibrancy to the neighborhood. 

UCD’s Parklet process informed how the City has implemented Parklets in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia.

In 2015 UCD gained national attention due to the publication of The Case for Parklets: Measuring the Impact on Sidewalk Vitality and Neighborhood Businesses. The study describes how Parklets can bring life to public spaces and business to neighborhood establishments. Key findings from the report included that: Parklets can attract an enormous number of users (over 150 unique users throughout day in 240 square feet that otherwise would have hosted one or two parked cars); installation coincided with a substantial (~20%) boost in sales for nearby businesses; and Parklets can have considerable spillover effects on nearby sidewalks and spaces.