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Pocket Parks in Atlanta, GA

Jun 27th, 2024

Pocket Parks in Atlanta, GA

What is a pocket park?

You might have come across this term if you’re interested in urban planning or sustainable design, but for most of us the idea of a pocket park is still relatively new. 

It’s no secret that green spaces can greatly benefit people’s lives, especially in urban areas. Access to green spaces can boost our mental and physical health, as well as improve air quality, reduce noise levels and reduce temperatures — plus, they’re good for our pets, too!

Pocket parks are one way to incorporate green spaces into dense urban areas. The concept emerged in the 1950s in Europe as cities began to rebuild and grow rapidly, introducing a need for parks without sacrificing too much space. After World War II, city planners in the United States caught wind of the idea and leapt on the opportunity to incorporate these small parks into their plans, and in 1967 the first pocket park in the U.S.A. was opened in New York City. 

A little bit of green space is better than none at all, and building a pocket park could be as simple as planting a small lawn over an old parking lot or as creative as turning an old greenway into a playground. Pocket parks have very few constraints, but they usually have to be under a certain size to qualify as a true pocket park.

In fact, here’s how the National Recreation and Park Association defines a pocket park!

“A pocket park is a small outdoor space, usually no more than ¼ of an acre, usually only a few house lots in size or smaller, most often located in an urban area surrounded by commercial buildings or houses on small lots with few places for people to gather, relax, or to enjoy the outdoors…. Successful “pocket parks” have four key qualities: they are accessible; allow people to engage in activities; are comfortable spaces and have a good image; and finally, are sociable places: one where people meet each other and take people to when they come to visit”

And that’s really the heart of it, right? People should have access to safe green spaces wherever they are, and pocket parks make it that much easier to do so!

That all being said, here are some pocket parks around Atlanta that are great for a quick break in the outdoors!

5 great pocket parks in ATL

Inman Village Pocket Park

This small pocket park tucked away in Inman Park offers a perfect little respite from the hustle and bustle of life around it. It’s pretty close to the Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail, too, as well as the shopping and dining options around North Highland Avenue Northeast, so it’s easy to get to but still quiet enough to relax in. 

The park features a small pond with koi fish, turtles, ducks, frogs and the occasional heron standing watch.

MARTA Mobility Pocket Park

The MARTA Mobility Pocket Park is a collaborative effort between the Marietta Street Artery neighborhood, the Upper Westside CID and MARTA itself. This pocket park aims to provide a welcoming green space for everyone in the community.

Located on Brady Avenue, the park sits directly opposite the vibrant Brady Avenue Mural by local artist Chloe Alexander. The park itself boasts a variety of features, including a bioswale, a unique swing set made from repurposed I-beams, concrete cornhole boards, picnic tables for enjoying meals outdoors and Adirondack chairs for relaxing.

Whether you're a MARTA employee seeking a break from your day, a resident looking to unwind or a visitor exploring the area, the MARTA Mobility Pocket Park offers a charming and functional space to relax, socialize or have some fun in this carefully-designed space. 

Brady Pocket Park

This teeny pocket park in Atlanta’s Upper Westside is a great example of a pocket park. 

Built in the heart of the shopping district, Brady pocket Park offers benches, cool deck flooring, planters fulfilled with native flowers, shady trees and relaxing chairs — all built over a previously-dusty street corner that’s now bursting with greenery.

So cool!

Howell Junction Pocket Park

The Howell Junction Pocket Park, sometimes referred to as the Howell Junction Pocket Plaza, is a charming green space brimming with the spirit of community involvement. This little park resulted from a collaborative effort between passionate residents, the Upper Westside CID, the City of Atlanta Department of City Planning and the Marietta Street Artery neighborhood.  

Situated at what was once a neglected corner at West Marietta Street, Brady Avenue and Eighth Street, the Howell Junction Pocket Park is now a lively public space, adding a touch of green and functionality to the area.

The park itself features a unique circular planter bench, offering comfortable seating with an interesting design element. Cyclists can stop by to use the bike racks and the bike repair station for fixing minor issues on the go, and while the park might not have play equipment or vast stretches of green space, it serves as a welcoming spot for the community to gather and for cyclists to take a break.  

Thirteen new trees were planted during the park's creation, including beautiful magnolias, which not only bolsters the park's aesthetic appeal but also its environmental benefits!

Marie Sims Park

This is more of an honorable mention, since it’s definitely too big to be considered a pocket park!

However, the concept behind Marie Sims Park mirrors that of a pocket park almost exactly: to provide a green space for residents in the heart of urban life. 

This 1.5-acre park in Buckhead was built by AMLI as a solution to stormwater runoff in the neighborhood, as well as to provide residents in Buckhead and the surrounding AMLI communities a centralized green space to enjoy. Marie Sims Park may be a little bigger than a pocket park, but its mission is the same and the benefits are just as good!

If you live in or near our luxury Atlanta apartments, then keep an eye out for these tiny parks next time you’re out & about in the city!


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Featured photo by Will Paterson on Unsplash

Author of Article

Colleen Ford is a South African who now lives on Oahu in Hawai'i. She loves to travel, camp, spearfish and hike. She's also part of a super cool canoe club and is pretty decent at it. Colleen enjoys Star Wars and also not being cold ever.

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