Artists, architects, designers, and creative types took to the streets on September 18th as part of annual Park[ing] Day festivities. Now in its third year, this grassroots global phenomenon was started by Rebar in San Francisco as a way of making a public statement about the lack of quality open space in American cities. Today, the statement has become a movement. From Los Angeles to New York, Brisbane, Australia to Santiago, Chile, people were out in numbers, transforming metered parking spots into pop-up parks and public space.
Here in LA, the city was dotted with everything from pocket pastures to actual swimming pools. de LaB teamed with Curbed LA and green meme to create a loose interpretation of a farm-park, replete with pseudo water catchment system and goats. At Heliotrope and Melrose (the intersection of bike culture in LA), an entire street was closed off by the city’s park czar to be transformed into a mini-fair, including a swimming pool, a petting zoo, live music, and even a bit of guerilla gardening. In Larchmont Village, Rios Clementi Hale created a festively-shaded lemonade stand from PVC pipe and party streamers. Pocket parks throughout the city ran the gamut from complex (like HMC’s geometric golf experiment) to simple (Big Blue’s dirt park). Besides a few tickets here and there, the day went by quickly and smoothly. The surprise this year is that the environmentally progressive City of Santa Monica did not participate in the festivities. A great range of photos can be seen here.
Not all are fans of pocket parks, however. Some devoted motorists may think, Park(ing) Day is general nuisance or a form of anti-parking lobbying.
To this untrained eye, Park(ing) Day is less about car-hating and more about starting a dialogue with the world at-large. Parks and open space are natural meeting places that encourage community, interaction, and conversation. As people played golf or petted goats this year, that much was still true. Plus, it’s just plain fun to play hookie and hang out in the park with friends on a lovely Friday afternoon. Who can hate that?