What is a pop up park ?
Another pop up park is coming to Melbourne… but how long will it be called a “pop up“ ?
Most Melbournians would agree the southern end of Elizabeth Street (at Flinders Street) is ugly. That’s opposite the side entry to Flinders Street Station, terminus of some north / western trams, home to a few grubby convenience stores and late-night-lingerers… and the only Melbourne intersection where all-hell-breaks-loose when the green pedestrian walk signs light up ! (people criss-cross in all directions… apparently that is called a “Barnes intersection” or a “pedestrian scramble”*)
Even the City of Melbourne thinks that intersection needs improvement. Next month the eastern side of Elizabeth Street (between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane) will be given over to pedestrians, with the trial of a pop up park. The temporary park will feature trees, planter boxes, artificial turf and movable furniture – installed over the summer months#. Between December and February council will assess how pedestrians use the re-vamped thoroughfare and open space. In February 2018, major construction works on an adjacent building will require the pop up park is removed… but hopefully replaced with a permanent fixture in early 2019.
But how long is a “pop up park” actually a pop up ? Over in the inner-west of Melbourne, the Yarraville Pop Up Park has been there for around 5 years now ! The “about” page of their Facebook page says the park has been “temporarily closed to traffic for 3 months” – but that might’ve been posted a while ago… On these popUPshops pages in March 2014 (how some councils respond to pop up) I mentioned that the City of Maribyrnong had recently saved the pop up from closing (it had actually voted to discontinue the park at a council meeting in late 2013, but changed its mind after an outcry from vocal locals !). But the Yarraville pop up park is certainly a favourite destination – it re-invents itself every now and then with popular community events, art installations and adjacent pop up shops (most recently a rotation of small business incubations in the 10/10 popup at 9 Ballarat Street, “powered” by VU Hanger)
But I’m not so sure the Yarraville street park is actually still a pop up… it seems to be more of a permanent fixture. The temporary park in Elizabeth Street will certainly be an authentic pop up the first time it appears next month, but if it returns again the following year (and stays…) I think it needs to be called something else.
Any ideas what we should call a pop up park when it settles in ?
* source : ddot.dc.gov – barnes dance intersections
# source : abc.net.au – Elizabeth Street pop up park
images : City of Melbourne, ABC News, Yarraville Pop Up Park, VU Hanger
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