Porta-Park: Mobile Urban Square the Size of a Parking Spot

portable urban square project

Compact and portable, this crafty collaborative design-build project is part art installation and part impromptu gathering space. This student-built platform pushes people to think about the flexible potential of public space – it also showcases the power of group brainstorming and rapid prototyping.

portable student public space

Facilitated by Izmo in Italy, participating students followed a process-oriented approach. They were presented a framework for construction – a metal-framed rectangle – divided into four quadrants. Each of these sections was assigned to a group along with a set of discarded building materials ready to be reused and a time limit for construction.

portable public space deployed

The cut, pasted and painted result looks somewhat like a three-dimensional patchwork quilt. Its various sides feature fold-out furniture, sliding drawers and secret slots from which various interactive objects are deployed on demand. The structure itself sits on wheels and is sized to fit into public parking spaces or other small and slim sites.

portable park design build

About Izmo itself: “The name Izmo originates from the word isthmus, a thin strip of land that joins two areas. Our research topic is in fact the territory: where interactions take place between individuals and public space . Our mission is to link the territories, the people with the land and the citizens with each other. We do this, for instance, through projects of urban design, installation; organization of seminars, meetings and workshops; and development of Web platforms. In all cases, the projects designed by Izmo come from reading and from listening to people and places that will benefit from our operations.”