The three “Kikuchi” public parks are carefully weaved into the neighborhood of Kikuchi, a city in Kumamoto, Japan. Designed by Japanese architect Takao Shiotsuka, they are a good example of an alternative approach to pocket parks. According to Shiotsuka, the goal of these three parks is not to add greenery, but to revitalize an old area of the city with “a new stream of people.”
The first public space, ‘Kiriake’, is a miniature water park supplied by an agricultural waterway. The water appears to have been collected within three large puddles scattered upon the plot. A lavatory, shelter and bench formed by abstracted stone structures are interconnected by a consistent white paver, evoking the sand of a Japanese rock garden. Children can play in the shallow pools and adults can sit on the benches and soak their feet.
The reason for the absence of greenery in these parks is that plants require constant maintenance, which local governments in Japan often have no funding for; also, unmaintained green spaces in Japan are perceived as crime zones, which greatly limits their use.