On Friday, September 21st, Sustain Charlotte partnered with LS3P to participate in PARK(ing) day, an annual, global event where participants temporarily transform parking spaces into pop-up parks. The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of our urban human habitat. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.
In Charlotte, over a dozen teams set up parks in NoDa, Plaza Midwood, & South End. Sustain Charlotte and LS3P setup in South End along Camden Blvd. Anova Furnishings loaned furniture, Lowe’s provided plants, POTIONS & PIXELS provided outdoor games, and Sustain Charlotte board member, Wil Russell, provided wooden pallets.
Our space provided a great opportunity for passersby to relax, play games, and learn!
The vast majority of outdoor urban space is dedicated to private vehicles, while only a small percentage of that land is reserved for open space for people. In cities around the world, inexpensive curbside parking is responsible for increased traffic, pollution, and wasted fuel.
According to Donald Shoup, research professor of urban planning at UCLA and author of The High Cost of Free Parking, there are as many as two billion parking spots in the United States for a scant 200 million cars. While searching for on-street parking, downtown drivers travel approximately 1,825 miles for each curb space, every year. Parking covers a huge percentage of our urban environment, and also inflates the cost of housing and goods, as developers fold it into property costs.
It’s time to rethink how our streets are used and re-imagine our urban environment! PARK(ing) day is a great opportunity to provide public open space one parking spot at a time.