Orlando is beautiful, yes, but we can always make it better, and taking a back seat in helping our city to realize its full potential is something we’re not really about. Let’s get up there and shake things up, Bungalowers.
Here’s a look at ten pop-up projects that you can do by yourself, with some friends, your neighbors, or an organization that only require a short-term investment but could have a long-term impact on our city.
NO. 1 – COMMUNITY STAGES
The City of Orlando wants a public busking program in the downtown core. City officials have been humming around local organizations like the Downtown Arts District for a number of years to take on the intimidating task of creating an ongoing curatorial program that would formalize an ongoing street performance program in the downtown core for years but the job seems to be harder than it seems as we’ve yet to see something materialize. It’d sure be great to see a small number of community stages set up downtown to showcase local and visiting talent. The answer could be as simple as providing soapbox-like stages that are curated and run by businesses nearby who adopt the space as their own and program it themselves.
NO. 2 – POP-UP RETAIL SHOPS
Want to activate that vacant retail space? Host a pop-up! We’re looking at you new Downtown highrises. Having short-term tenants to showcase a raw space isn’t only great for the street and nearby businesses, it’s also great business sense and can help building owners find a longterm tenant, without relying on old school real estate advertising tactics like LoopNet to do the work for them.
NO. 3 – POP-UP DOG PARKS
Transforming vacant lots into pop-up, short-term dog parks is totally a thing and we deserve it in Orlando. While most vacant lots are getting snatched up for future development around town, there are still plenty of overgrown grassy areas that could use a little pupply love, if even for a few months or even a year. PetSmart teased us with a possible park back in May 2015 that never came to be – and it broke our hearts. Come back to us, PetSmart. We need you.
NO. 4 – LET’S PLAY OUTSIDE MORE
Human brains work more efficiently when they are engaged in something active and enjoyable. Play helps kids learn and can rewire their brains and is proven to be a crucial component to lifelong learning. If we want to make Orlando more family-friendly (which we know is a major goal for City Hall) we need to make it more engaging and conducive for play.
NO. 5 – PUT OUT SOME PUBLIC FURNITURE
Public seating should be responsive to the people that use it, which means it should vary, it should be readily available, and it should meet the varied needs of urban street life. Cities are generally afraid to provide abundant public seating for fear of promoting transients and “urban loafers” but a well-trafficked and well-loved urban space will police itself – for the most part. We shouldn’t be afraid to provide places to gather in the public realm for fear of a homeless person using it.
Seating provides space for people to stop and engage with one another and in today’s climate, public discourse and interaction should be promoted, not forced behind closed doors.
NO. 6 – MAKE THAT PARKING SPOT INTO A PARK
Having an option to sacrifice one measly streetside parking spot to host a pop-up outdoor patio is a no-brainer. Let’s provide more spaces to linger and be seen in public spaces where people feel safe and can eat an ice cream cone. The City will be more beautiful for it.
City of Winter Park, you know you need these. Plus, parallel parking is apparently really hard for some of you.
NO. 7 – RECLAIM OUR INBETWEEN SPACES
Sometimes you can come up with something really exciting just by changing your perspective – an alleyway can become a beautiful cafe or a rooftop can become a moonlit party. Look around the corners of our regular day-to-day lives and instead of seeing something ignored or expected, put on some new glasses and see it for an unclaimed opportunity.
NO. 8 – HAVE A PUBLIC POOL PARTY
The City of Orlando currently has 11 public pools that they operate, four of which are open year-round – College Park Pool, Dover Shores Pool, James R. Smith Pool, and the Wadeview Pool. And most of they time, they look kind of lonely. Invite your neighbors, UberEats your favorite local foods, grab a blue tooth speaker, and head to your local community center this summer to give those pools some love.
Use THIS LINK to find a pool close to you.
NO.9 – POP-UP BIKE PATHS
Some of you may already be throwing your shoes at us because of your feelings about the Curry Ford bike lane project that took place in July 2018, but hear us out. We never know unless we try, right?
The monthlong project placed bike lanes to both sides of the street and added a mid-block pedestrian crossing that, while a vast majority of drivers said they “hated,” saw a 50 percent increase in bike activity and a 38 percent increase in pedestrian activity while it was in place. Imagine placing those along corridors where people are actually already biking, like Corrine Drive or Mills Avenue.
While painting and marking longterm bike paths take a pretty chunk of change to carry out, short-term, guerrilla tactics with traffic cones and planters have been proven to work and are often adopted at the end of their pilots.