When we first wrote about Softwalks, a plan by two design students to turn sidewalk sheds into pedestrian plazas, the reactions were mixed. Some people thought that sheds already make sidewalks more crowded, so we shouldn't encourage people to hang out near them, while others said that any idea to improve blandness should be welcomed. Now the team is about to find out what the public actually thinks, as they've launched a $13,500 Kickstarter campaign to host a longer installation and build out the kit of parts?ready-made benches, planters, chairs, lights, screens, and counters that easily attach to the pipes of sidewalk sheds to create a more enjoyable urban experience.
Fast Company reports that the design is already supported by a major sidewalk shed and hositing company that has helped the creators test their elements. Softwalks has also been installed during arts festivals throughout NYC, but the team hopes to fund an installation lasting a few weeks. However, with only eight days to go in the Kickstarter campaign, Softwalks has raised just over $3,200. Unless some big donors step up, this may be nothing more than a pipe dream.
· Kickstarting: A Bid To Turn NYC's Sidewalk Scaffolds Into Social Spaces [FastCo]
· Softwalks - The Pilot Project [Kickstarter]
· Softwalks Turns Sidewalk Sheds Into Mini Pedestrian Plazas [Curbed]