PARK(ing) Day coming to a parking spot near you this Friday
The original PARK(ing) Day park in San Francisco took place on a metered spot and lasted 2 hours
MPC Research Assistant Jason Brown authored this post.
This Friday, Sept. 16, parking spaces in Chicago and across the nation will be transformed into temporary parks during the sixth annual PARK(ing) Day celebration.
PARK(ing) Day is a completely citizen-driven one-day event, during which individuals and groups claim their own green space – temporarily – by transforming both metered and free parking spots and lots into parks. The movement started in San Francisco back in 2005, when a small group of residents installed a park in a parking space for a mere two hours, to demonstrate that the street could use a little green. Thanks to the Internet, that one idea developed an enthusiastic fan base and grew to the international event it is today: Last year, PARK(ing) Day created 850 parks in 183 cities, 30 countries, on 6 continents.
This year, according to the DIY planning network, we should see at least five PARK(ing) Day parks in Chicago. My friends and I plan to park hop: We’ll stop by Moss Design’s third annual installation at 3552 N. Southport Ave., which will feature bike repair and live music; then head to Urban Habitat Chicago, 2323 N. Milwaukee, where we’ll stretch out with some yoga and watch a bike repair demo; then it’s off to Uptown where we’ll check out Buttercup Park’s improvements to the community between Argyle and Lawrence; and finally, we’ll hit two parks on the University of Illinois-Chicago campus, complements of the Office of Sustainability and the Urban Planning and Policy Student Association.
If you’re uber-DIY, there’s still time to organize a PARK(ing) Day project of your own. Here’s how:
Do some preliminary research to see what your municipality’s laws are for use of street space (most policies tend to be general enough that such a temporary installation is not illegal, except in New York City).
Review PARK(ing) Day’s archives and DIY network where you can see who else is building a park in your city (and around the world). Mine the site for ideas.
Add a pinch of your own creativity, perhaps a squeeze of the wallet (depending on how elaborate you decide to go with your PARK(ing) Day park), and a “lot” of fun. Maybe lay down sod, and set up lawn chairs and picnic tables in the local grocery’s parking lot. Or throw together a free concert at the best street side venue around - a 9’x20’ parking space, of course!
Even if you don’t make your own park this year, we hope you’ll check back soon for a review of Chicago’s PARK(ing) Day success stories. Learn more about this event at the PARK(ing) Day web site.