The renowned urbanist Jane Jacobs once wrote that well-located parks can “give back grace and delight to their neighborhoods.” But not all parks are created equal, and Jacobs wouldn’t have been impressed with Boston’s inaugural experiment with converting parking spots into “parklets” in Jamaica Plain and Mission Hill.
Parklets are supposed to bring a sense of whimsy and spontaneity to a city, but despite a reported investment of $15,000 to $25,000 per parklet, the spaces have found few users in Boston. They may be too close to traditional parks, or too oddly designed. In Jamaica Plain, the arching benches in one parklet offer more adventure to skateboarders than comfort for a conversation. Vineet Gupta, the Boston Transportation Department’s planning director, told the Globe he hopes usage of the parklets picks up next spring.