More flowers, fewer cars: the rewilders turning parking spaces into parks

Across the UK and Europe, the 'parklet' movement is gaining pace, transforming dead spaces where cars used to be into pockets of green.

As more towns and cities bring in measures to curb traffic and the number of cars on the streets, the idea of converting parking spaces into "parklets" is gaining traction. These tiny green parks are part of a trend in urban rewilding by individuals that are boosting biodiversity across the world.

Leen Schelfhout's Citizen Garden is one of four in Brussels

"My partner, Xavier Damman, and I moved to Brussels in February 2020, a month before lockdown. We live in a typical Brussels house that has no garden and just a mini terrace. It has a garage, but we don't have a car. There is a 12 sq meter area in front of our garage door where no one can park. I have green fingers and love gardening, so I figured I could turn it into a garden. Then we started getting letters from the council saying you can't use this space for gardening, it's for cars," say Schelfhout and her partner, Xavier Damman. 

"In May 2020, we woke up at 8 am and saw a text from a neighbor saying 'where is your garden?', and it had just disappeared. My partner put up posters saying 'missing garden.' Then we discovered the council had come at 5 am and taken it away. They took it to the public waste disposal center (who luckily watered it and took care of it)."

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