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New Parklets in Our Kaka‘ako add to urban neighborhood vibe

Themed parklets built out of reused materials provide unique spaces for visitors.

Our Kaka‘ako today marked another milestone in its evolution as Oahu’s urban epicenter with the unveiling of two custom-designed parklets on Coral Street fronting Hank’s Haute Dogs.  Parklets are public outdoor spaces created by extending a platform over curbside parking to create inviting areas for pedestrians to sit and enjoy the neighborhood.  The parklet concept has been widely adopted by the city of San Francisco and has been incorporated into other major cities such as Chicago, New York and Philadelphia.

“It’s exciting to be a part of this growing trend.  Our new parklets are not only utilitarian, but with their unique design and features, they truly reflect the diversity and creative spirit of Our Kaka‘ako,” noted Paul Kay, director of real estate development for Kamehameha Schools.  “They enhance the neighborhood and inspire a sense of community.  They also benefit surrounding local businesses by increasing foot traffic and providing a place for people to relax.”

The parklets are an integral part of Kamehameha Schools’ master plan for Our Kaka‘ako, a people-centric, walkable, mixed-use, urban-island community located on nine contiguous city blocks between South Street and Ward Avenue.  Kamehameha Schools, which worked closely with the City transportation and planning departments on the parklets, funded construction of the urban mini-parks and will maintain them indefinitely.  If successful in Our Kaka‘ako, the City could develop guidelines for expanding the program into other neighborhoods.

“All the cool and vibrant cities are doing these kinds of creative things,” stated George Atta, director of the city department of planning and permitting.  “The moribund cities are not.  Honolulu is cool and vibrant.”

The Coral Street parklets were designed by INK Architects, and built by Sunworks Construction and PLS Builders.  The 9 x 22-foot parklets use re-purposed materials from the neighborhood including:

  • Metal roll-up doors from the former Pinch of Salt retail warehouse behind Starbucks
  • Reclaimed redwood from ReUse Hawaii and a warehouse that is currently Kaka‘ako Agora
  • A gabion cage planter filled with reclaimed rubble from a previous Pow!Wow! mural on Keawe Street

The curbside transformations are intended to initiate community interaction and beautify the streetscape. The design of the parklets complements the district’s unique personality.  One of the parklets was constructed around an “eat” theme while the other incorporates a “play” theme.

The “eat” themed parklet features a wood counter and a deck; seating; a removable umbrella; a wood picnic table; and weathered steel framing and guardrails with a steel base.

The “play” parklet includes a stationary bike; a double-sided wooden bench and wooden seats; a gabion planter; and weathered steel base, frames and guardrails.

“The parklets are for everyone to enjoy.  We want them to be gathering spots where friends can drink coffee and talk, co-workers can collaborate, and families can rest and unwind,” added Kay.  “They’ll be places where ideas, creativity and inspiration will grow, in an evolving neighborhood that’s headed in the same direction.”

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About Our Kaka‘ako

Our Kaka‘ako is a mixed-use, urban-island community by Kamehameha Schools on nine contiguous city blocks in the heart of Honolulu, between South Street and Ward Avenue. Part of the vision for Our Kaka‘ako is that it will continue to grow as a progressive catalyst for innovation and become the epicenter of urban-island culture, and the lifestyle that it represents.  To learn more, visit www.OurKakaako.com.

About Kamehameha Schools

Kamehameha Schools is a private, educational, charitable trust founded and endowed by the legacy of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Kamehameha Schools operates a statewide educational system enrolling over 6,900 students of Hawaiian ancestry at K-12 campuses on O’ahu, Maui and Hawai’i and 30 preschool sites statewide. Over 40,400 additional Hawaiian learners and caregivers are served each year through a range of other Kamehameha Schools’ outreach programs, community collaborations and financial aid opportunities in Hawai’i and across the continental United States. Income generated from its Hawai’i real estate, as well as diverse investments, fund the Schools’ educational mission almost entirely. For more information, visit www.ksbe.edu.