The Umbrella Sky Project began in 2011 as a part of the city of Águeda's famous annual Ágitagueda Art Festival in Portugal. Each year, during the hot summer months of July, August, and September, a handful of the city’s narrow streets gain colorful umbrella canopies that provide shade for the pedestrians passing through. Rooftop cables are strung with numerous parasols that help cool the roadways in a creative and cost-effective way, and the sea of umbrellas forms a unique geometric pattern overhead as well as changing shadows on the roadway below. Programming like outdoor workout classes give this shaded area an added layer of functionality, enabling high-energy and fitness activities despite high summer temperatures.
Since the project began, these pop-up shade structures have become an annual summertime installation and they have developed a cult following around the world. Creators of the Umbrella Sky Project, Sextafeira, have also launched offshoots of this work in other cities such as Lisbon, where they have added to the streetscape by stringing multicolored balloons over urban alleyways. As with all of their projects, the polka-dot shadows that shine down onto the street below add more color to people’s lives in everyday settings.
*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.
On April 22nd, Milwaukee was announced as one of the six 2015 Heart of the Community cities. Over the next six months, the local project team and PPS used “Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper” (LQC) Placemaking principles to ensure that the The Spot 4MKE continued to be a collaborative, inclusive, and community-led project.