On Friday, September 21, citizens around the world will celebrate Park(ing) Day. What is Park(ing) Day, you might ask?
Park(ing) Day calls for participants to create temporary public parks by transforming metered parking spaces for cars and other vehicles. Since its inception in 2005, Park(ing) day has grown into annual global event where artists, designers and citizens collaborate with cities and sustainable transportation advocacy organizations to achieve the common goal of raising public awareness about the need for more urban open space and alternative modes of transportation.
This Park(ing) Day, organizers anticipate that approximately 162 cities in 35 countries across the globe are taking part. And many C40 Cities are too, including Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Philadelphia and San Francisco. Check out the Park(ing) day map to see what is planned in your city and beyond.
Below are a few highlights of what our cities are doing:
Amsterdam — The city Bureau Wijkwiskunde with local NGO Studio Placemakers is organizing Park(ing)Day this year in Amsterdam East. The city plans to create around 16 miniature parks to make a green corridor between two city parks, demonstrating the potential for improvement of the urban infrastructure.
Last year a Park(ing) Day exhibit in Amsterdam created a park with a green paint-bath where citizens could walk through and spread their green foot-steps in the city. Building on that, this year organizers are planning spaces including vegetable gardens, playgrounds, a green chessboard – and even a sheep’s meadow. Participants can walk along the corridor, join the activities in the small parks and pass on flowers and plants that will be collected at a central point at the Flevopark. According to the organizers this visibility challenges citizens to consider using the street in a different way.
If you live in Amsterdam, click here to get more information on Park(ing) Day events.
Chicago – The creation of parklets is an ongoing effort in this city, through a Chicago Department of Transportation initiative called Make Way For People. Parklets such as the one in Andersonville have become permanent and important features of the city’s long-term sustainability strategy. As such, they increase the number of public spaces and parks accessible for Chicagoans; improve and protect Chicago’s natural assets and biodiversity; and adapt to climate change.
“Chicago’s parks and open spaces anchor our communities, connecting our families and our communities and inspiring activity throughout the city’s neighborhoods. By creating gathering places on under-utilized public assets, The Make Way For People initiative promotes community building and economic development while promoting a livable and vibrant Chicago,” says Karen Weigert, City of Chicago’s Chief Sustainability Officer.
Philadelphia – Celebrating its fifth Park(ing) day, the City of Brotherly Love has set the goal of creating 50 Park(ing) Day spaces, including one from the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. This tree-lined space will feature an electricity-generating bicycle offering passersby the chance to see how much power it takes to run different kinds of light bulbs and small appliances. The installation provides an interactive display of the energy, active transportation, and tree planting initiatives in Greenworks Philadelphia plan, explained Alex Dews, Policy and Program Manager with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.
If you live in Philadelphia, click here to get more information on Park(ing) Day events.
San Francisco – The city’s Department of Environment is just one of the many organizations, businesses and community members hosting Park(ing) Day events throughout the city. Last year, there were more than 200 parklets throughout the city, with each space being independently produced and designed by its sponsor. Advocates across the city use the day as an opportunity to call attention to the need for more urban open space and to review how valuable community areas are allocated.
“It is a profound experience to sit in one of these parklets and realize how much space goes to our car culture—even in an urban environment with so many alternatives to driving. Parking spaces in San Francisco are 8 ft X 20 ft. While this may not sound that big, when you are relaxing in this tiny park, drinking coffee, chatting with neighbors, listening to a street busker (which we will have)–doing all of the things people do in parks, you really “get” how absurd it is that this 160 sq ft space is primarily used for cars,” said Shawn Rosenmoss, Department of the Environment, City and County of San Francisco, Senior Environmental Specialist.
Taking the PARK(ing) Day concept to a more permanent level, the City’s Pavement to Parks program has begun experimenting with trial spaces allowing businesses to convert parking spaces into outdoor public spaces and cafes. The program has already transformed a number of community spaces around the City.
If you live in San Francisco, click here to get more information on Park(ing) Day events.
Stay tuned for further coverage on Park(ing) Day events from these cities and more. How will your city celebrate? Join us on Twitter @C40cities for a global conversation…