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Photo credits: Green City e.V.




Period of time



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Photo credits: Green City e.V.



Munich, Germany 

Re-purposing Parking

May 2020 - now. First, temporarily during summer months, but now permanently during summer months

The policy was created by the municipality of Munich but the organisation, design and implementation was done by the businesses who needed to apply for a permit. Residents are directly affected, because they can make high use of it but also because the removal of parking spaces is sometimes perceived negatively. However, residents were not involved in the decision making process.

The pandemic urged many cities to be creative and to think their streets and public spaces alternatively. In response to social distancing requirements, the City of Munich decided to allow bars, restaurants and cafes to temporarily create or extend outdoor spaces for dining and socialising. From May 2020 onwards ‘parklet’ pub gardens were taking over the streets of Munich, often replacing parking spaces. This resulted in a sort of commercialised extension of sidewalks, narrowing the streets for traffic. By October 2020, over 900 businesses enthusiastically made use of this policy. More than 1100 parking spaces were removed, but still the demand for dining and drinking occasions was more prominent. This exemplifies a positive relation between  rethinking the streets and the economic recovery of a city during the pandemic. Recently, the City announced the policy will stay and bars and restaurants may have parklets for the entire summer periods. These will be mainly situated in the Glockenbachviertel, in Schwabing, in Haidhausen, but also in the Westend. Next to this more commercial form of parklets and in addition to the summer streets, Munich also introduced a more open type of parklets. In contrast to the pub garden parklets, they are not intended to serve any private purpose, but to increase the quality of stay in the public space and in the open air. So they are not owned nor maintained by any business and consumption is not obligated. These parklets have been implemented for the first time already in 2019, by The Green City, but will be tested again after COVID proved the value of having them on the streets.

To offer safe possibilities for bars, restaurants and cafes to open their businesses again after months of closure while at the same time creating outdoor spaces for socialising.

A primary effect is the economic recovery of many businesses after the lockdown. It made it also possible for residents to safely dine and interact with others. Parking spaces were cleared and sections of streets were taken in, which created a secondary effect: the limiting of car traffic through the centre.

Photo credits: Ana Rivas