Update 8/17/11: Just today, Portland Community Gardens and Depave are going to transform 10,000 sq. ft. of asphalt at Frazer park for a huge new community garden. (H/t to Sarah Mirk.)

Courtesy of Streetfilms, here’s a video on the trend of converting pavement (parking spaces, awkward roadways, etc.) into little parks (h/t to Matt Lerner):

People, Parklets, and Pavement to Parks (plus Mojo Bicycle Café) from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

It’s a great idea—one that many cities are catching on to. The benefits are numerous: better street life, additional space for businesses, more green space to filter stormwater pollution, and they’re just plain fun. (Back in March, the New York Times catalogs some of the downsides.)

Just today in Seattle, the Mayor announced a new proposal to allow restaurants and cafes to serve alcohol all the way out to the curb (with a pedestrian walkway between the storefront and outside seating)—hoping to increase sidewalk dining.

rowdykittens, flickr

Portland’s been ahead of the curve for a while. One group, Depave, sets its sites at removing unnecessary pavement to create green spaces and mitigate polluted stormwater runoff. The city is also closing off a block of SW Ankeny to be a car-free plaza.

Not all parking stalls, sidewalks, and unused roadway are suitable for this kind of transformation, but it’s encouraging to hear city leaders looking for spaces where it does make sense.