International Park(ing) Day 2015
'Park in Progress'
International Parking Day is Friday, September 18, 2015. This is the one day of the year that cities around the world allow citizens to take over a car parking space on the street in order to install a pop-up park. This event aims to highlight the importance of public open space in cities as well as encouraging pedestrians to walk and bike and discouraging driving.
As this event becomes more popular among city residents, elaborate designs for oversized board games, obstacle courses, and thrifty architectural masterpieces are constructed out of paper towel tubes and recycled cardboard in the 7 ft X 20 ft spaces intended for parallel parkers. It’s also common to see people lay out sod and bring in trees and potted plants to ‘green’ the space in order to provide sidewalkers the opportunity to relax in a mini park on their way to and from work, meetings, and errands.
This year, the U District Square has solicited the help of community members, university students, and local businesses to design and install two pop-up parks along University Way (‘The Ave’) from 10am to 7pm. With permission from SDOT, Bulldog News, and Big Time Brewery, we will construct two themed spaces inspired by both the businesses, as well as the diverse pedestrian population that frequents ‘the Ave’-- children, professionals, students, street buskers, pensioners etc.
Bulldog News: ‘The Indoor / Outdoor Living Room’ on the stoop of this local cafe and news merchant, will accommodate both people interested in enjoying a quiet cup of coffee and a newspaper as well as people interested in more active programming such as storytelling and puppet shows for children, acoustic music performances, and an interactive art activity. With comfortable chairs, stacks of old newspapers, rugs, lamps, and a mini library this space will feel like your childhood living room both indoors and outdoors.
Big Time Brewery: Big Time Play Time’ is our inspiration for this park. We’ll divide this park into sections for play and relaxation where a giant Tic Tac Toe board and riveting games of corn hole will spur active competition among passersby, while a ball pit will encourage others to engage in community conversation and laughter through questions and classic, corny jokes.
By installing these parks for the day, we aim to attract people to the local businesses on the Ave, but we also want to foster a sense of ownership within the U District community and create memorable spaces that people will want to spend time in. We hope to encourage an inclusive atmosphere- these parks are open to everyone and we want all people to be comfortable visiting, participating, and building community together. Finally, we want people to see the potential of these parking spaces as public areas for people to enjoy getting to know their neighbors-- not their cars.