Transforming underutilized space through (POP)portunity

Temporary urban developments, or “pop ups” have the potential to revitalize areas and aspects of our communities, through changing the way people use and view the built environment.   Pop ups come in many shapes and sizes ranging from multi-day festivals and street closures, to small-scale art installations.  Pop up developments are also very interesting as they can be officially sponsored by the city or a private business, but are often citizen led initiatives to help transform underutilized or vacant spaces that might be ignored by formal planning and development efforts.  There are so many sites and communities that could potentially benefit from utilizing temporary urbanism, and I like to call these POPortunities.  Since there are so many ways in which pop up development can take shape, I felt the best way for this blog to express these different ideas would be through providing a number of interesting and unique approaches to pop ups.


A parking day street transformation.

The list below is but a very small sampling of projects that have taken place in the United States in the last few years, but it should provide a good introduction to what is taking place in the field of temporary urbanism and pop ups.

Parking day salt Lake


An example of a pop up library.

Pop up libraries in Manhattan

Purple Line Miami

City Hall to go

My Street Grocery Seattle

Greenaid Seedbombing vending machines

Kiss popup chapel

Legal waiting zones 


Bench Press

These projects have the potential to bring in commercial value to an area, save money on property rates, revitalize underutilized areas of town, and can act as a vehicle for experimentation and local consultation.


A Greenaid seedbomb vending machine, a less formal form of temporary urbanism.

I believe that we will see this type of interim use, pick up pace in number and quality of events over the next decade and we are just beginning to realize the full potential these events hold on the creation of place and utilization of space.

If this is something that interests you, I would highly recommend checking out The pop up as this is a great place to learn about pop ups taking place all over the globe, and the many innovative tools that are pushing this idea to the forefront of planning and urban development conversation.

If this is something that is interesting to you, I highly recommend checking out The and Spontaneous Interventions for more information and a long list of pop up projects.