Park(ing) Day: When urban landscapes expand one space at a time

One of the benefits of the parklets created is having a green space for people to relax in. Photo: Mig Rod/FlickrOne of the benefits of the parklets created is having a green space for people to relax in.
Photo: Mig Rod/Flickr

Today marks the 11th annual Park(ing) Day where everyday citizens, landscape architects, artists and other designers can come together to transform little patches of asphalt into alluring oases.

Park(ing) Day was started by Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, which created a public park out of a single metered parking place. After a photo of Rebar’s original public park began to spread around, the firm received requests to create replicas of the space.

Rebar instead chose to create a how-to manual to allow anyone to create a pop-up park. Since then, Park(ing) Day has become a global movement that takes place on the third Friday of each September.

According to Park(ing) Day’s website, the goal of the event is to call attention to the need for more urban open space and to generate debate about how public spaces are created and the quality of urban habitats.

Park(ing) Day participants are encouraged to get as creative as possible with their limited space. Over the years, the event has been used to draw attention not only to a lack of public green spaces, but also water rights and labor equity, among other issues.

Among previous years’ Park(ing) spaces, people have been able to visit a finger-painting studio, a chess tournament, a barbecue, a dog park, and even a wedding ceremony.

For those who want to create their own tiny parks, Rebar suggests using a symbolic ground cover, providing seating and shade, roping off the space, posting a welcoming sign and keeping spare change on hand to feed the meters.

The American Society of Landscape Architects has been participating in Park(ing) Day since the beginning and encourages all landscape architects to share their projects with the hashtag #ASLAPD16 here.

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