PARK(ing) Day: 2013
PARK(ing) Day is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks. The project started in 2005 in San Francisco, when Rebar, an art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. The purpose of the project was to make a statement about the overwhelming presence of the automobile, especially in how our cities are organized. It was also an opportunity to re-imagine the range of possible activities that could occur if the space for storage of a private vehicle could be utilized by the public to create a dynamic urban public space and improve the quality of urban human habitat. This critical examination of the values that generate the form of urban public space has provoked and influenced people around the world; in 2011, PARK(ing) Day was celebrated in 162 cities in 35 countries.
This year staff from our Rancho Cordova and San Jose offices participated in Park(ing) Day.
Sacramento Park(ing) Day…written by Brenna Castro
Up in Sacramento, the staff along with the ASLA Sierra Chapter, 15 other firms and local organizations turned Sacramento parking spots into unique park sites. The group wanted to showcase landscape architecture and our ability to make beautiful, functional public spaces, and also draw attention to the little details in the landscape that are often overlooked.
Over the course of four build days hosted at Jon and his wife Sara’s house, ASLA Sierra Chapter members designed, built, and assembled a shady green public parklet complete with curvilinear seating and walls, vegetation, and three “viewfinder” telescopes, which were aimed at points of interest to help visitors discover their surroundings. With an eye toward sustainability, all materials used in the installation were reclaimed or reused. Cardboard document tubes that were no longer needed were cut and glued into benches and walls, an extra scrap of synthetic turf (courtesy of Astroturf) carpeted the ground, and an beautiful bright red umbrella, borrowed from Jon and Sara’s yard, added a splash of color to the street.
As exciting as it was to watch these odds and ends be transformed into a place for people to sit and relax, the most rewarding part of (Park)ing day was watching visitors interact and engage with the installation. Whether they were relaxing under the umbrella reading Landscape Architecture Magazine or discovering public art they had never noticed before, many of the users wanted to know more about (Park)ing day, and were excited to experience with their public spaces in a new way.
San Jose Park(ing) Day…written by Amy Ueno
The streets of downtown San Jose were transformed into mini urban parks for people, bringing everyone out into the sun and interacting with fun installations like giant chess, giant Jenga, a pop-up library, and grassy lounge spaces.
Our concept for our Callander parking spot was to create a space that represents aspects of our company culture: engaging and interacting with our community, inspiring creativity, and most importantly, fun. Our parking spot transformed into a life-size checkers game. Our game pieces were made from squares of rubber surfacing and artificial turf, both materials we use on the projects we create. People stopped by for a spontaneous game on their lunch break, and also had an opportunity to learn about our industry as landscape architects and the parks we have created, through our game pieces and the project posters that we put up of Parque de Padre Mateo Sheedy (San Jose), and Stojanovich Family Park (Campbell).
The memorable part of the day for me was when I was interacting with people passing by and seeing their reaction to the installation. The most frequent question I received was, “What’s going on here?” When I explained that we were making an ordinary parking spot into an interactive space for people for the day, I was met with a smile and “Wow, cool!” The positive attitude and support that people have towards improving our urban environment and quality of life through design reinforced my passion for my work as a designer and for the field of landscape architecture.
It was a great day for us to get out of the office and engage with our community here in San Jose and Sacramento, and also be part of a global urban open space movement! If you missed us this year, make sure to check out our spaces on PARK(ing) Day 2014.