Taking back the streets – part deux

Sept. 18

Philadelphia’s second annual PARK(ing) Day was in full swing Friday, drawing the curious all over the city to take part in a large-scale experiment using urban parking spaces for anything other than storing cars.

Over thirty teams of architects, nonprofits, students, and interested citizens turned dozens of parking spaces all over the city into islands of green space, art installations, and demonstrations of sustainable urban transportation and design.

First started in San Francisco in 2005 by REBAR, an art collective, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into an international one-day demonstration of creative uses for parking spaces in cities and towns. Its goal is simple: to convert ordinary metered parking spaces into creatively constructed public spaces, thereby inspiring people to look differently at how streets are used and how we might begin to shift them away from an auto-centric focus to one that incorporates other uses as well.

Throughout the city, this goal was being realized in a variety of visually arresting ways.

“By turning parking spaces into instant parks, National Park(ing) Day is a creative way to demonstrate the real need to create more parks in our cities.  Across America, cities are renewing their investments in parks because our civic leaders have come to recognize that close-to-home parks, gardens, and playgrounds are essential if we are to have cities that aren’t just liveable, but loveable,” says Will Rogers, president of the Trust for Public Land.  “The quality of our daily experience is enhanced by places that get us in touch with nature, with each other, and with ourselves.”

In Philadelphia Friday, his year, over 30 teams made magic temporary parks and statements about sustainability in Manayunk, Southwest Philadelphia, Mount Airy, Northern Liberties, and University City.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) and AIA Philadelphia helped corrdinate the event.

Here are the participating park designers and builders:
• Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
• Energy Coordinating Agency.
• Delaware Valley Green Building Council.
• Community Design Collaborative.
• Philadelphia City Planning Commission.
• Pennsylvania Planning Association – Southeast Chapter.
• University City District.
• Arch Street Methodist Church.
• University of Pennsylvania – Penn Design.
• University of Pennsylvania – Office of Sustainability.
• Drexel University School of Law.
• 350Philly.org.
• VizThink Philly.
• “Mount Airy Green”.
• City Lights Community Development Corporation.
• SMP Architects.
• Design Within Reach.
• Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects.
• PostGreen Development.
• Yelp.com with Foster’s.
• Whole Foods with Big Green Store.
• Duffield Associates.
• Lager Raabe Skafte Landscape Architects.
• Stanev-Potts Architects.
• Metcalfe Architecture and Design.
• Atkin Olshin Schade Architects.
• Venturi Scott-Brown & Associates.
• Ivy Ridge / Cynwyd Heritage Trail.
• Pennoni Engineers.
• Trophy Bikes.
• ZipCar.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Help us get to 100% of our membership goal to support the reporters covering our region, the producers bringing you great local programs and the educators who teach all our children.