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Minneapolis' newest meet up spot – the parking lot

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A lot can be done with a slab of concrete the size of one or two parking spaces.

The city of Minneapolis is launching a pilot program to build miniature parks, called "parklets" or "pocket parks," to green up parts of the city and create an area for people to gather.

Jon Wertjes, the director of Traffic and Parking Services with the Minneapolis Public Works Department, told BringMeTheNews that the city will be spending $75,000 from its traffic and parking services operating budget related to pedestrian safety and livability improvements to introduce two to three public parklets as part of this pilot program.

These parklets will be the size of one or two parking spaces, KSTP reports.

Parklets became popular in San Francisco, and the movement has grown in popularity throughout North America, expanding to cities like Seattle, New York City, Montreal and Dallas, the Southwest Journal notes.

Supporters say these little green spaces have a lot of potential – parklets around the U.S. have features for passive recreation that include benches and trees, rocking chairs and even bean bags. While some parklets have more active attractions, including giant chess boards, exercise equipment and foosball tables, according to the University of California-Los Angeles' guide for building and implementing parklets.

For more photos of parklets, check out San Francisco's pocket park Flickr page.

It's not known what Minneapolis' parklets will feature, or where exactly they'll be built. The Southwest Journal says city councilors are pushing for parklets to be in places like Dinkytown, Uptown and the North Loop, where there's a lot of pedestrian traffic, but not a lot of green space.

Minneapolis Pedestrian Planner Mackenzie Turner told the Southwest Journal that the parklets will be easy to install so they can be removed at the end of summer, but she expects a more robust parklet program in 2015.

Wertjes said for the next few summers, the city will reuse and redeploy the parklets that are going to be introduced this summer, while encouraging property and business owners to expand the number of public parklets in the city.

Turner told the Southwest Journal that the city will develop design standards for the parks so when the pilot program ends, businesses and community sponsors will maintain them instead of the city. Parklet sponsors will be able to apply for permits to design and build their own parklets, Turner says.

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