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Pop Up Events

Vanderbilt launched a series of “pop up” projects, often referred to as tactical urbanism projects, aimed at activating outdoor spaces around campus. Projects will transform outdoor spaces with the aim to:

  • Green and beautify campus spaces for the enjoyment of all;
  • Promote a sustainable and walkable campus;
  • Encourage community building and social interaction between members of the VU community as well as with Nashville partners;
  • Celebrate creativity and artistic expression;
  • Mimic or demonstrate upcoming transformations that will take place on campus as part of FutureVU;
  • All with alignment with FutureVU principles .


Efforts will take a variety of forms including:

  • Pop Up Art Projects – Use a variety of artistic methods, potentially including permanent or non-permanent art installations, to transform outdoor spaces.
  • Open Streets –  Open streets to people and close them to cars, encouraging participation in physical activity and healthy recreation.
  • Pop-Up Spaces –  Use a variety of methods to enhance outdoor spaces and make them destinations rather than transitional spaces. Introducing furniture, creating art, closing streets, and using food trucks are potential ways to transform spaces. 
  • Pop-Up Crosswalks –  A temporary crosswalk that is designed to draw attention to the need for a crosswalk in an area where one does not exist.


A variety of methods can be used depending on the type of project or form chosen:

  • Parklets – a sidewalk extension that provides more space and amenities for people using the street and are created in parking areas.
  • Pop-up Plazas – short term events that look at open concrete spaces and convert them to enjoyable public space.
  • Guerrilla Gardening – a guerrilla art initiative where plants are planted in public space to improve safety or beauty in the public realm.
  • Chair Bombing – a strategy that involves placing temporary seating in public spaces to encourage gathering or complement transit.
  • Shelter Creation – building a shelter that is generally aimed to highlight the need for improved bus stops.
  • Chalking – using temporary paint to show a need for additional street markings or areas that could improve existing conditions.
  • Renderings – used to show how a public space could look before a project is started.


Past Events

See photos and learn more about the pop-up events completed during the 2017-2018 academic year:

Pop Up AY18



PARK(ing) DAY - Friday, September 15, 2017

Vanderbilt’s FutureVU team participated in PARK(ing) Day on Friday, September 15, 2017. Cities across the world participate in the event, which serves to draw attention to the use of public space in urban areas by temporarily turning parking spaces into parks and parklets. The FutureVU team transformed 17 parking spaces in the 5A lot (along 21st Avenue across from Wilson Hall) into one large park. The park featured a welded “V” water feature, an anchor hammock and additional hammocks, various types of seating, an interactive art piece, games, music, and an information and feedback area on FutureVU, parking on campus, and plans for the 21st Avenue/Broadway edge of campus. The campus community was invited to stop by the event to check out the park, relax, study, eat lunch and enjoy ice cream! The team was also presented with a "Golden Cone" award for their park, winning the award of "Wow Factor," given by the Nashville Civic Design Center.  The FutureVU park also placed second in the "People's Choice" category and third in the "Text to Vote" category.

Read more about Park(ing) Day:

Sep 11, 2017: Campus community invited to enjoy parking day

Sep 17, 2017: Vanderbilt observes park(ing) day

Sep 25, 2017: Vote for Vanderbilt's entry for park(ing) day people's choice award


Pop-Up Park on Kensington Place - Wednesday, November 8 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

The FutureVU team, in collaboration with representations from the Division of Administration; Dean of Students Office; Vanderbilt Student Government; Community, Neighborhood and Government Relations; Communications; and additional undergraduate students, created a pop-up park on Kensington Place that was open from November 8-November 12, 2017.  This event was the second of a series of pop-up events aimed at turning outdoor spaces into fun and functional areas for the community to enjoy.  The park highlighted upcoming transformations that will take place in the West End neighborhood as part of FutureVU, and included landscaping, seating, and open spaces for games and activities.  Programming during the week included the Grilled Cheeserie Food Truck visiting campus, Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center takeover of the park including a yoga class, Vandy Fanatics tailgate prior to the Commodores football game, and Panhellenic Preview Day.

Read more about the Kensington Pop-Up Park:

Nov 3, 2017: FutureVU pop-up park to transform West End neighborhood

Nov 24, 2017: West End neighborhood beautification efforts previewed by pop-up park


Green Roof Day - Wednesday, November 29, 2017

FutureVU and the Sustainability and Environmental Management Office hosted Green Roof Day on November 29, 2017.  The event was designed to showcase a campuswide sustainability effort that often goes unnoticed. Some green roofs on campus are hidden, while others do not look like traditional roofs. Green roofs have a number of environmental benefits, including saving energy, increasing plant diversity and decreasing the urban heat island effect. A full list of the benefits of green roofs was published earlier this semester. The roofs highlighted during this event are at the Warren and Moore Colleges courtyard, Rand Dining Hall, the fourth floor of the Engineering and Science Building, the lawn of the School of Nursing Annex, and Medical Center Plaza. To participate, students, faculty and staff visited the green roofs and took photographs of themselves interacting with each space. Those who visited all five locations earned a FutureVU t-shirt and were entered in a gift card drawing. Undergraduate students led the planning behind this event.

Read more Green Roof Day:

Nov 27, 2017: ‘Green Roof Day’ to highlight FutureVU sustainability efforts Nov. 29


Pop-Up Park in the Central Neighborhood – Monday, April 2 – Friday, April 6, 2018

The FutureVU team, along with undergraduate and graduate & professional students and staff, reimagined the Central neighborhood of campus by creating a pop-up park in the site adjacent to Branscomb Quadrangle, the E. Bronson Ingram Studio Arts Center and the Engineering and Science Building. A portion of Garland Avenue also was used to develop a temporary “complete street” highlighting potential streetscape enhancements on campus. The park was open from April 2 – 6 and featured a temporary amphitheater made out of bleachers and blended with landscaping to highlight the area that will eventually be the site of a large, open green space and potential permanent amphitheater as part of the FutureVU vision. The park incorporated a variety of seating, including a new piece of furniture made by Plant Operations staff out of recycled and scrap materials, turf and landscaping. In addition to enjoying the space on their own, students, faculty and staff were invited to participate in several community events, including a food truck, movie night, classes hosted by the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center, and a “plant your own succulent” activity. The university plans to continue studying the Central Neighborhood and closely align changes to the area with FutureVU’s guiding principles.

Read more about the Central Neighborhood Pop-Up Park:

Mar 30, 2018: FutureVU pop-up park to transform Central neighborhood

Apr 11, 2018: Vanderbilt's Central neighborhood activated by pop-up event


PARK(ing) Day - Friday, September 21, 2018

The Division of Administration participated in PARK(ing) Day, an international event that is supported in Nashville by the Nashville Civic Design Center (NCDC), on Friday, September 21, 2018. The event serves to draw attention to the use of public space in urban areas by temporarily turning parking spaces into parks and parklets. The Division of Administration team transformed 18 parking spaces located at the corner of Broadway and 20th Avenue into a temporary park highlighting sustainable features and materials for the community to enjoy. The park included features such as a solar panel demonstration, an umbrella installation using bamboo grown on campus, a succulent garden, and a water feature using captured storm water. The university's park received two awards from NCDC, including "Best Use of Space" and "Golden Phone" for the most text-in votes by visitors to the park. 

Read more about PARK(ing) Day:

Sept 10, 2018: Campus community invited to PARK(ing) Day this Friday 

Sept 25, 2018: Campus celebrates PARK(ing) Day 

Oct 9, 2018: Vanderbilt wins PARK(ing) Day awards from Nashville Civic Design Center