Pocket Park & Pallis

Pocket Park & Pallis

Pocket parks are created on infill sites and other overlooked city corners. Aside from the obvious ecosystem benefits, they can be a small but significant step towards achieving equitable architecture. Pallis is a pocket park that unexpectedly pioneered a change in how citizens can adapt their built environment – democratic architecture in action.

Mutually beneficial green space

As cities grow larger and denser, the polluting effects of a city, along with fewer parks and green space can take a toll on the minds and bodies of city dwellers. The rise of Pocket Parks was initially a response to a lack of green amenity however, the core benefits to bestowed by these parks can be further enhanced by integrating ecological elements to create a microclimate where flora, fauna and humans can thrive in equal measure. By creating a sustainable living ecosystem, pocket parks can be a tool to counteract the negative effects of the urban environment.

Client: White Arkitekter (Pocket Park)
Vision 2015
White View
Client: Fastighetsägarna (Pallis)
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Status: Completed 2015
Visuals: Thomas Zaar


Empowering people to transform the forgotten spaces within their cities.

The Pocket Park Ideal

Even a small 13 x 15 metre site can contain the following:

  • Green walls filter the city air, dampen traffic noise and become a habitat for small creatures
  • Surface water ponds purify rainwater
  • Nesting boxes affixed to lamp posts attract bird life
  • Beehives home bees that pollinate plants and produce honey

Behind the plexiglass disc of the beehive, hundreds of bees work to produce honey. Bees are an essential part of the ecosystem; without them, many species of flowering plants would cease to exist. Similarly, core-holed brick walls can function as bug hotels, giving these critical ecosystem custodians a place to thrive.

As well as a pleasurable place for people to socialise and reflect, Pocket Parks can also inform and inspire people with ideas to realise at home on balconies, gardens or courtyards. For example, seed exchanges let visitors take a bit of the park home with them, as well as letting them build relationships with others by contributing seeds in return. The Pocket Park can also host community events; extending the park season to become year-round places of interest and supporting local, grassroots expressions of culture.

We can democratise the forgotten areas in the city by creating temporary social venues with free activities, open to all.
Ulla Bergström, Architect & Director, White Arkitekter Stockholm

Pallis: democratic architecture in action

The Pallis pop-up park put all of these concepts in action. For the duration of June 2015, cars were banned from a small section of Stockholm’s Södermalm while the community took over to design and programme their very own Pocket Park. Pallis evolved to include DIY jewellery making and skateboard deck design workshops, foodtrucks, DJs and live performance, as well as group tutorials on how to design and make horticultural and ecosystem services that underpinned the park. At the end of the month, all parts of the park were taken by visitors to be repurposed in their own homes and neighbourhoods.

During the project, we found a huge disconnect between the city's visions of encouraging these initiatives and the challenges posed by overly-complex legislature. It's amazing that Pallis changed and simplified these regulations; now everyone can work together to build the city they want.
Kristina Philipson, Architect

Taking control of the city

There was an unexpected outcome of the Pallis project. As a direct consequence of Pallis, the city has made it easier for citizens to influence their environment and engage with the architectural process. In conjunction with Stockholm City’s Traffic Office and the Swedish Property Federation, The Citizen’s Handbook of Urban Development came into being. Key highlights include the introduction of new deposit rates and more flexible ways to rent the city’s public land. Minor non-commercial events are eligible for zero tariffs in order to increase urban cultural amenity. It is also makes it easier to build temporary parks in parking spaces. Pallis is a prime example of democratic architecture in action; a collaborative initiative that actively improved mutual wellbeing in a densely populated urban environment.

The Citizen’s Handbook of Urban Development

Do you want to develop your own pocket park? Look no further. Together with Fastighetsägarna – Swedish Property Federation – we’ve put together The Citizen’s Handbook to Urban Development (Swedish).

Contact & Team

Kristina Philipson

Kristina Philipson


+46 766 39 47 65

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