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Economy

Mobile 'Parklet' Contest Winner To Be Announced Tuesday

A rendering of "The Boardroom," one of the three finalists for a city of San Diego competition to design a mobile parklet.
Downtown San Diego Partnership
A rendering of "The Boardroom," one of the three finalists for a city of San Diego competition to design a mobile parklet.

A contest to design a mini-park that can move from place to place in downtown San Diego is down to three finalists.

Downtown San Diego Partnership, the downtown-advocacy nonprofit organizing the contest, will pick the winner based on a poll on their Facebook page. Voting closes at 5 p.m. Monday and the winner will be announced Tuesday. The finished project will then be unveiled on Sept. 19.

The city of San Diego will give $5,000 to fund construction of the winning idea.

A rendering of "Contoured Curves," one of the three finalists for a city of San Diego competition to design a mobile parklet.
Downtown San Diego Partnership
A rendering of "Contoured Curves," one of the three finalists for a city of San Diego competition to design a mobile parklet.

Three ideas still in the running are The Boardroom, which has a series of benches surrounding an elevated stage. The Urban Nook is a garden space that can be wrapped up into a box and moved. And Contoured Curves has a wave-like design of wooden planks that can be rolled to new locations.

Kris Michell, CEO of Downtown San Diego Partnership, said all three "parklets," or mini-parks, could bring new life to unused spaces in downtown because they're easy to set up and move.

"Parklets are great, but now they've gone to moving parklets, because we get to try these out in different spaces," she said. "And so every community in downtown is going to experience this parklet."

Her organization backs a strategy called "tactical urbanism," which means creating quick, cheap and sometimes temporary projects that draw foot traffic to downtown spaces. In June, they helped install a temporary pocket park in a vacant lot at 13th Avenue and J Street.

In this contest, Michell said they received more than 20 design entries, 11 of which were valid. They narrowed those down to three finalists.

A rendering of "Urban Nook," one of the three finalists for a city of San Diego competition to design a mobile parklet.
Downtown San Diego Partnership
A rendering of "Urban Nook," one of the three finalists for a city of San Diego competition to design a mobile parklet.