SAN ANTONIO -

Efforts to transform public spaces in San Antonio into something new and more useful to the community were unveiled Thursday.

Teams of architects showed off their designs for a competition called "Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper," part of a community-wide effort help bring communities closer together.

"In one day, a space in your neighborhood can become something you never dreamed it would be," said Torrey Carleton, executive director for the San Antonio Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, a sponsor of the design challenge.

Earlier this year, Texas Public Radio put out a call to residents to submit their ideas for public spaces in their neighborhoods that need a makeover. Of the 150 submissions received, five have been selected as finalists.

The finalists include "Little Free Libraries," small boxes for books that could be placed anywhere in the city. Residents would be encouraged to drop off books and pick up new ones.

Another idea calls for transforming a small portion of Burnet street on the East Side into a pedestrian-friendly corridor that would connect Lockwood and Dignowity parks. Community events could be held at the parks and the street shut down to make room for food trucks and other vendors.

Other plans would create a bat roost in the Olmos Basin and a community garden next to Dwight Middle School that could also serve as an outdoor classroom.

"The idea here is to have educational kiosks and a learning garden that will become a community garden and will teach children the merits of growing their own produce," Carleton said.

All of the ideas are designed to be built on a budget of $10,000 and would be constructed in one day by community volunteers.

The plans have the common goal of bringing the community together.

"These spaces inspire us to do more with the outdoors, and to engage with the outside," Carleton said.

Texas Public Radio listeners can vote on the designs from now through August 5. The winning design will be built on Sept. 28, which is National Public Lands Day.

For a list of recent stories Tim Gerber has done, click here.