The opportunities of kiosk structures both small and large for creating resilient urban placemaking is a significant urban design and disaster response strategy. When solar power is added we can apply design approaches like these with a  preparedness model that could provide hygiene-cooking and off-grid emergency power in an disaster. PDX Main Streets is now working with Forage Design + Planning as designers, and with SHINE to help develop the solar and battery backup system technology.

Kiosks as Urban Placemaking

Kiosks in a variety of functions and sizes have been used for centuries as newsstands, information booths, cafe stands, wayfinding posts and more. We have drawn inspiration from kiosks locally and internationally including Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Lisbon, Paris, New York, Scandinavia and Italy. Several examples can be see in our precedents for our proposed kiosk project in Portland's Old Town/ Chinatown neighborhood.


The kiosk has a long history as a community-serving urban design feature and has been making a resurgence as an innovative placemaking element. More and more cities are recognizing their value and are bringing them back in force.


For example, Lisbon has revived their traditional art nouveau small horchata/coffee kiosks and added more than 50 octagonal new cafes with integrated bathrooms as permanent food stands in their parks providing space for small businesses to create successful startups and as had huge success in activating previously underused and unsafe parks into dynamic and vibrant well-loved and well used spaces. Paris is rolling out a series of 300+ new newsstand kiosks designed to match the old, yet with more function upgrades.

Kiosks as Disaster Response

Partnering with SHINE to develop the technical specifications to add solar and new small scale power storage, to help us leverage these innovative designs for not only making great spaces but serving more community needs for social services, greater connectivity, and we have a model in development that can be applied for disaster preparedness. Learn more about Shine in the video here or on their Juicebox website.

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