The number of downtown parks in America will increase dramatically this September.
Friday, September 19, 2008 is National Park(ing) Day, and metered public parking spots nationwide will become temporary public parks. The project is sponsored by The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation nonprofit.
National Park(ing) Day was initiated following a performance by San Francisco art collective Rebar in 2005 when they re-imagine the potential of the metered parking space through the installation of sod and a park bench. In 2006, in collaboration with TPL, REBAR founded “PARK(ing) Day”: a global exploration of the creative potential of city streets.
“Our goal was to encourage people to rethink the way our streets are used, and to temporarily expand the amount of public open space in an underserved area of downtown San Francisco,” says John Bela, co-founder of Rebar. “We added ‘24,000 square foot-minutes’ of public open space that afternoon.”
“Turning parking spaces into instant parks, National Park(ing) Day is a creative way to demonstrate the real need to create more parks in our cities,” said Will Rogers, TPL president. “Across America, cities are renewing their investments in parks because our civic leaders have come to recognize that close-to-home parks, gardens, and playgrounds are essential if we are to have cities that aren’t just livable, but lovable.”
In 2007, National Park(ing) Day spawned more than 200 new parks in more than fifty cities nationwide and around the world. Photos from Park(ing) Day 2007, as well as a full list of cities with maps and details is available online at www.tpl.org/parkingday.
Supporters in cities nationwide, including New York, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington D.C, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Columbus have announced participation for Park(ing) Day 2008.
In Columbus, various community organizations and designers concerned with issues related to public green space, the urban environment, and transportation are planning to “park” downtown on September 19th. A walking/biking map of the sites will be available the first week in September at www.ParkingDayColumbus.org. The website also hosts more information about the event and ways to get involved.