While curbside dumpsters are not an uncommon site in the city, one that is clean, painted bright yellow, filled with plants and provides a comfortable place to sit is. One organization has partnered with the city of Pittsburgh to provide a pleasant and portable space for people to sit and enjoy some green surroundings by converting a dumpster into a mobile park. The dumpster can fit in an average size parking spot and has been filled with seasonal plants. They call it a parklet. Another benefit of this new venture is the parklet’s ability to help with stormwater runoff issues that the city has had in the past. The first parklet on the street is part of a pilot project, so that the city can see if its benefits are worth the cost. Each one has about a $15,000 price tag, which also includes proper permitting and insurance. It is just one of the many projects that the organization, Envision Downtown will roll out this fall to help make downtown Pittsburgh a more pleasant place to live. The mobile park can be moved anywhere in the city and the group is currently taking suggestions on where it should be placed next.
Envision Downtown wants to rapidly test new ideas that make spending time in the city more enjoyable. A dumpster parked curbside, piled high with construction debris or outdated building guts, is not an uncommon city sight. But a certain dumpster just off one of Pittsburgh’s main business corridors is different. For starters, it’s painted bright yellow.