Almost two months ago- I was advised by a reader to look up PARK(ing) Day…I followed the trail through various websites until I was led to Matthew Shaffer, Associate Director of Marketing for the Trust for Public Land (TPL). Matt was nice enough to chat with me for a while and told me about how PARK(ing) Day, which originated in San Fransisco in 2005 via the art collective REBAR group has transformed into a one-day global event. Local volunteers gather to temporarily transform metered parking spots into ‘PARK(ing)’ spaces, or temporary public parks (I checked out photos- and this is ART, folks). This year, PARK(ing) day falls on Friday, September 19.
For more info (and to set up your own temporary PARK/art installation), check out the PARK(ing) day website: http://www.parkingday.org/.
Or check out the Trust for Public Land’s website: http://www.tpl.org/tier3_cd.cfm?content_item_id=22093&folder_id=3428.
The aim of the whole thing now is to promote the need for parks in cities. Research has found that more than half of the kids in any given city don’t have access to a local safe place to play. Part of the goal is to help communities realize the importance of parks and to then assist communities towards creating new parks where they are needed.
Back in 2005, REBAR found out that you can lease a parking spot for any ‘safe and legal’ purpose. So what did they do?! They decided to create a park. Spunky creativity is always awesome. From that initial experiment- the reaction by passer-bys inspired them to keep at it.
In 2007, PARK(ing) day was held in SF, Cleveland, NYC and London…hopefully this year more folks get at it. Matt said that last year someone did create a PARK(ing) spot in DC. However, this year, a guy named Brandon Schmidtling (you can Facebook him) is organizing it- so I can’t wait to see pictures of a nasty DC parking spot transformed into a mini park. Unfortunately, I am not in DC at the moment (more on that and the long blogging absence in a bit), but maybe one of my friends will read this and be inspired enough to get involved!? For the SLR folks, this would be an amazing photo opportunity…and it’s for a great cause!
-greenDCgirl (From Corvallis, OR)