Park(ing) Day, the annual tradition of making micro-parks out of parking spots, calls attention to the need for public space in cities. A pop-up park by Rios Clementi Hale Studios in Los Angeles takes the educational imperative further with a parking space that teaches the benefits of stormwater capture—just in time for this winter’s predicted El Niño. According to a 2012 district study by the Council for Watershed Health, the City of Los Angeles has the potential to capture the 5.5 billion gallons of storm water. Located across the street from the firm’s headquarters on Larchmont Boulevard, the design uses balloons of different sizes to represent water that could be recycled and reused. According to the firm, a 24-inch balloon represents 30 gallons of potentially recycled water that could be used for a 15-minute shower. The project, which the designers whimsically call Paradise in a Parking Spot, is part of the firm’s multi-disciplinary efforts to address the drought. Designers are in the street all day to provide facts and tips on capturing water. https://vimeo.com/139271185
Posts tagged with "PARK(ing) Day":
Two global urbanistic powerhouses, San Francisco–based Rebar and Copenhagen-based Gehl Architects, have joined forces to create Gehl Studio. The practices will keep their offices in their respective cities and start a new one in New York. Gehl didn't purchase Rebar, but hired most of Rebar’s staff, including two of the three founding partners, according to a report in Landscape Architecture Magazine. Gehl, founded in 2000 by Jan Gehl, has focused on large-scale planning and targeted interventions in cities from Sao Paolo to Melbourne, and has developed plans to rethink New York's public streets (creating several open pedestrian plazas) as well as Market Street in San Francisco, among many others. Rebar, begun in 2004, was best known for heading up Park(ing) Day, in which cities around the world replace parking spaces with parks. But they're approach to "tactical urbanism" has extended to temporary installations at the San Francisco Jewish Museum (Nomadic Grove), Golden Gate Park (Panhandle Bandshell, a stage made completely out of recycled materials) and the streets of San Francisco (Parkcyle, a bicycle-powered mobile park). Rebar appears poised to finally make more permanent changes on the urban landscape while Gehl has taken on young, creative new employees, and a fresh perspective, not to mention important connections in the U.S.
That old saw about how you can't take public space with you is bound for the trash heap. Landscape architect John Bela, co-founder of San Francisco–based Rebar, and artist Tim Wolfer of N55 have developed Parkcycle Swarm, a green space initiative that puts people and green space together—on wheels. The basic Parkcycle module is a mobile green space made of an aluminum frame, plywood, standard bicycle parts, and astroturf. Each one measures 2.6 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and 7.4 feet long. Parkcycles offer instant open space to neighborhoods. All users have to do is park the Parkcycle and sprawl out on the turf to enjoy a bottle of beaujolais or play some hackie sack. Four of the small mobile parks are currently making the rounds at the Participate public arts festival in Baku, Azerbaijan. Rebar initially experimented with the Parkcycle concept for one of its famous Park(ing) Days in San Francisco. The company's website explains the concept as a “human-powered open space distribution system designed for agile movement within the existing auto-centric urban infrastructure.” Copenhagen-based public art group N55 sees Parkcycle as an alternative to top down urban development with each Parkcycle forming an individual component within a larger system. As more and more people construct their own Parkcycles, they can come together to form swarms, taking over their local urban environments. Each bicycle-park can be modified and designed to follow local bicycle standards. Additionally, N55 proposes that the Parkcycles could be equipped with small pavilions, trees, solar panels, and even portable grills and mobile kitchens. The original Parkcycle was built in collaboration with California-based kinetic sculptor Reuben Margolin and debuted in 2007. Photos courtesy Tim Wolfer / N55 and Yarat.
Tomorrow cities around the world will celebrate Park(ing) Day . What started in 2005 when San Francisco firm ReBar converted a parking space in San Francisco into a temporary park has exploded into a global event. Last year 975 parks were built in 162 cities in 35 countries, up from 800 parks the year before. This year will be even bigger. To get you excited here are some pictures of our favorite temporary parks from last year. And for those of you who still want to do a last-second park, according to the organizers, doing it without pemits is risky, but not out of the question: "It’s your call, but we do encourage you to look for creative ways to work with/within the law," says the Park(ing) Day site.
Cul-de-Sacked. Emily Badger of The Atlantic's newly launched Atlantic Cities argued that the cul-de-sacs—the suburban answer to the overcrowded urban grids—may be a dead-end in more ways that one. Badger said cul-de-sacs are responsible for our decreased sense of safety, and moreover, happiness. Talking Transit. Gothamist is right on calling out New York's MTA as being "really into technology this month." In a win for the constantly connected and a potential loss for our already-hectic commutes, starting Tuesday, AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers can pull out their cell phones and talk away on underground cell service through the 14th Street corridor. It will take the MTA five years to fully cover the entire New York subway system. Five more years of relative peace-and-quiet. Paramount Makeover. The LA Times reported that Paramount Pictures is planning a whopping $700-million upgrade to its Hollywood lot, creating nearly 7,300 jobs during construction over next two decades. Rios Clemente Hale Studios and Levin & Associates Architects are charged with improving a place that hasn't seen much change since the Gary Cooper days without compromising its old Hollywood charm. Park(ing) police. A Miami-based PARK(ing) Day organizer created a green oasis for the day-long celebration of public space, putting up planters and bringing seats, tables, and WiFi, but according to police, he lingered a little too long. Police arrested the man for taking too long to clean up his parklet the next day, reported Streetsblog.
What if we could transform part of the massive space we dedicate to urban parking into public parks, and what would it look like? On Friday, over 100 cities worldwide participated in the sixth annual PARK(ing) Day, where citizens and designers temporarily converted metered parking spots into open public space. While we couldn't jet set around the world, a couple of our reporters checked out the happenings in California, where the concept was born. Before you check out the parks, we should mention that these grassroots efforts are slowly influencing permanent change. In San Francisco, a City Planning Department collaboration with design firm Rebar, which helped begin PARK(ing) Day, has led to the creation of the “Parklets” program, where parking spots around the city are being converted into permanent plazas and outdoor seating. And on Friday, LA City Council members Jan Perry and Jose Huizar announced a partnership with local neighborhood groups in downtown LA and Eagle Rock to begin a Parklets pilot program in Los Angeles. San Francisco, by Ariel Rosenstock Visiting the west coast for the week, I had the opportunity to check out PARK(ing) Day in San Francisco. It was a perfect September day in northern California, crisp but sunny and a little breezy. Walking north along Valencia Street, I arrived at the first park: a grassy patch with a petite shed with a mini green roof. I talked with Jeanette Arpagaus, from the Green Roof Alliance, who discussed her foray into the green business after hearing an inspiring lecture by scientist Paul Kemper, from the California Academy of Sciences. Parking spots were creatively fashioned into a variety of venues. Further north was an outdoor yoga session—a parking space lined with yoga mats and visitors perfecting their stretches. Continuing down Valencia, I spotted a pallet wood structure bordering a parking space with a tree rising from the center. Here I met Andrew Dunbar from Interstice Architects, who was dressed in a pirate costume. He told me that the “Parrrrrrrrrk-let” represented a pirate ship, with decks for seating, and the tree a “mast.” The Interstice park was located in front of 826 Valencia, a nonprofit after school writing program that houses a pirate-wares shop in the storefront. Dunbar also explained that the volume enclosed by the pallet wood ship represented 800 cubic feet, the amount of soil a tree requires for healthy roots. He was proud to support the Robin Hood style cause. For my last stop, I was urged to pet Shaun the Sheep down the street. Outside of the coffee shop, Ritual, was a tiny urban barn: two parking spaces were lined with hay benching and a mini alfalfa patch for the sheep. Los Angeles, by Sam Lubell Perhaps it's the economy or a slight dip in enthusiasm, but it was a pretty disappointing Park(ing) Day in LA, with fewer architecture and landscape firms taking part, and fewer parks with more creative elements than turf and tents . But still some of the city's mini parks managed to stand out on this uncharacteristically grey day in the city. By far the most impressive was Standard's park outside of Silver Lake restaurant Local. The project was highlighted by a topiary-like artificial turf "PARK" sign, wrapped around plywood and sitting in front of elegant sandboxes and beach chairs that while at first sitting empty eventually became quite popular. Just down the street the Echo Park Time Bank put together a park called "Visions of the Circuit City Ruins," that while not much design-wise, was a lot of fun. Visitors were asked to think of replacements for the abandoned Circuit City behind the park (ideas included a roller rink, a plant forest and a film center), and were treated to astrology readings and free shots of water infused with "clarity" and "absolute joy". In Downtown LA Pfeiffer Partners put together a plant shrouded park on 7th Street. Benches and walls made of plywood shipping crates and a floor made of carpet samples showed imagination. Right next door SWA put together a flexible canopy made entirely of used plastic bags (to be recycled later) and PVC piping. The Downtown LA Neighborhood Council's park on 7th and Spring showed a lot of energy, with it's sod floor and potted plant barriers abutting one of Downtown's most walkable streets. A nice touch were bikes that could be pedaled in place to recreate the experience of biking downtown. On West 3rd street in West Hollywood local firm Front Yard Farming showed off a line of parklets showcasing simple but pretty flowers, tables, chairs, and willow fencing over a sod groundscape. But unfortunately the crowd wasn't having it. C0-organizer Helen Jupiter, author of blog Front Yardening, said that "out of 50 people walking by, about 42 didn't even look at us." Must be something in the air, because in other parts of the city crowds gathered, and one school group even made an effort to visit every parking day structure the city had to offer.
Sidewalk cafes have long been a popular feature of New York City dining, but many restaurants’ sidewalks are too narrow to set out tables and chairs without violating city code. Offering a solution to this spatial problem, on August 12 the Department of Transportation (DOT) unveiled its first “pop-up cafe” in Lower Manhattan—an 84-foot-long and 6-foot-wide wooden platform with planters, wire railing, 14 cafe tables, and 50 chairs—as the agency’s latest move to reclaim road space for public use. The platform is installed in four parking spots in front of two establishments on Pearl Street, Fika’s cafe and Bombay’s restaurant, which approached the Downtown Alliance and DOT earlier this year about ways to expand onto the sidewalk. According to DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, the agency worked closely with the two restaurants as well as the Downtown Alliance and the Department of Consumer Affairs, which licenses outdoor cafes, to arrive at a workable solution that would provide not only cafe tables but new public space in a part of the city starved for parks. “Inventions like this help make our streets into destinations and improve the quality of life for the thousands of people who live, work, and play in Lower Manhattan,” Sadik-Khan said in a release. The inexpensive platform was designed pro bono by San Francisco–based architect Riyad Ghannam of RG Architecture, who came to the DOT’s attention after an agency intern mentioned a similar design Ghannam had first created for the popular Parking Day event in San Francisco. The DOT then recruited Ghannam to advise on the Lower Manhattan site, and in short order he found himself designing and helping construct the project, for which Bison Innovative Products provided the materials at cost and participated in construction pro bono. “It was just barely a month from the concept to actual on-street implementation,” said Ghannam by phone from San Francisco. “The idea is that this is temporary, or at least seasonal, so we wanted the restaurants to have enough time to use it.” The cafe space is maintainted by the two restaurants but freely available for use by the public. The platform and its 12 Cor-ten steel planters will be stored during the winter, when the parking spots will be returned to service. The DOT is currently evaluating the cafe to determine if similar temporary spaces should be rolled out elsewhere in the city. The agency would do well to look to San Francisco, which according to Ghannam is studying the revenue potential of streetfront sites that could be rented by adjacent restaurants instead of given over to parking meters. “It’s kind of a win-win,” Ghannam said. “The business gets some stimulus by having more space to use, and the city gets revenue.”
Today is Park(ing) Day LA. It’s the third year that the City Of Angels is participating in this transformation of metered parking spots into temporary microcosms of park-like environments -- some replete with bench seating, grassy areas, and fresh food off the grill. San Francisco-based art and activist studio, Rebar, created the idea in 2005 as a comment on the lack of quality public spaces as well as to promote social interactions and critical thinking among urbanites. And the meters? Organizers are continually plunking change into the metal coin collectors while the parks occupy the parking spot. Some highlights include: •Everything Gardens at 3147 Glendale Boulevard in Atwater Village will be occupying a spot from noon to 6 p.m. This is a place to stop if you’re interested in learning about drought tolerant gardening. •Osborn Architects are holding up a spot at 100 N. Brand Boulevard in Glendale from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. They’re sharing their dream of greener pastures for tomorrow. •A cool pocket pasture is located at Local Restaurant in Silver Lake, with design by green meme. Also features real goats! •For Westsiders, Mar Vista Community Council will be setting up park at 3631 S. Centinela Avenue in Los Angeles. Find them from 3 p. m. to 6 p.m., when they’ll be turning a decommissioned fire station into a Community Center.
Always one to take our own advice, AN headed out for a stroll along Sixth Avenue at lunch today to check out a few of the PARK(ing) spaces that had been set up there by enterprising designers. The first stop was the Yahoo! Purple Bike Park, granted not designed by anyone we know, but it was the closest to the 14th Street 2/3 Station--part of the reason AN is such a fan of PARK(ing) Day is because AN never drives. Because there were no big plots of grass around (more on that later), we failed to find the Yahoo! park on first pass. On to Cook + Fox. Located on a harrowing stretch of the Avenue of the Americas--then again, what stretch isn't at midday--the renowned green architects had created an entirely reusable park. Instead of grass, the firm laid down green interface carpeting that can be used in the offices above, along with some plants from the Greenmarket. "We've already got spots picked out for each one," Sarah Caylor said. The centerpiece, though, had to be the green "roof." When Cook + Fox moved into its new space a year ago, they created one of the greenest offices in Manhattan, complete with a green roof. Because the landlord wouldn't allow them to build on the roof, they needed to create a less invasive system, which is comprised of one-square-foot soil bags planted with seedums. This allowed the firm to cannibalize a few dozen bags and "plant" them in the park. "We decided to use PARK(ing) Day as an opportunity to make people more aware of the potential for green spaces on the rooves of their buildings," Caylor said. "And the response has been great. Lots of people stop and stare, some pick up brochures, and quite a few have even sat down and hung out for a while." She said about 8-15 people stop by per hour, though none while we waited--granted it was lunch and the benches were already pretty full will employees on their lunch break. Up the block at the even busier intersection of Sixth Avenue and 23rd Street, a number of people stopped by during AN's visit, even though a dozen people were already crammed onto the 8'x12' sodden "park." "I saw it from my apartment window and just had to come down," Carl Zekaria said. "I'll definitely be telling my friends about it this weekend." Ensoo Shimas Park--Japanese for "I am going to perform"--was a co-production of Yoshihara McKee Architects and Artec, a performing arts design consultancy. Building on the "expertise" of the latter, the team set up, in addition to their lawn, which was provided by Transporation Alternatives, and a Tuscan Red beach umbrella, was a stage. Geoff Zink, who coordinated Artec's work and has been doing a similar project in Park Slope for three years, admitted that none of his friends who were meant to play had shown up. A bango sat next to him untouched as ambulances and taxis screamed by. "Nonetheless, we've created a park space and it's been used all day," Zink said. "And it still achieves our goal, which is to get people to start thinking differently about how street space, how public space in general is allocated. Then they'll become advocates and all this will become mainstream."
On this brisk fall day, why not hit the park for lunch, especially since there's one closer than you think. Today is the city's second annual PARK(ing) Day, an event hosted by Transportation Alternatives and the Trust for Public Space where various civic and volunteer groups have taken over parking spaces citywide--if you look at the map, it's really mostly Manhattan, and Manhattan between Houston and 34th Street at that--and turned them into "parks." This year has twice as many parks as last year, at a total of 50. But more than just expanding the size of the project, Transportation Alternatives wanted to test the limits of what these pocket open spaces could be. This led to a partnership with the local AIA chapter and the Center for Architecture, who led an outreach effort to get designers involved. "What I like best is how each of their spaces really represents what architects and planners would do with 100 square feet of street space, if they had their way," Wiley Norvell, the communications director at Transportation Alternatives, wrote in an email. "It shows the latent potential of our streets as untapped public space." (It's an idea that has become increasingly popular with the Bloomberg administration, following the failure of Congestion Pricing.) PARK(ing) Day is now a national event thanks in large part to the efforts of REBAR, a San Francisco arts collective that began taking over spaces about the same time Transporation Alternatives did, in the fall of 2005--then it was just a single spot with some grass and bike parking on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg. "The origins of this type of direct action are a little murky, but we like to think we got in pretty early," Norvell wrote. A full list of "parks" can be found through the map link above, but for the design afficionados out there, here are some points of interest. (We're headed out now to drop in on a few of them, so check back later for a full report.) Center for Architecture Park, by the Center for Architecture (AIANY), LaGuardia Pl. and Bleecker St Architecture for Humanity, by AFHNY, Madison Ave. and E. 73rd St. Buckminster Fuller Park, by the Buckminster Fuller Institute, Bedford Ave. and N. 10th St., Brooklyn City in a Box, by DEGW, Thompson St. and Spring St. Cook + Fox Park, by Cook + Fox Architects, EDAW Park, by EDAW, W. 27th St. and Broadway Ensoo Shimas Park, by Artec/YMA, 6th Ave. and W. 23rd St. High Line Park, by Friends of the High Line, 9th Ave. and W. 19th St. Noguchi Red Cube, by the Noguchi Museum, Broadway and Liberty St. Office Parking, by HR&A Advisers, Broadway and W. 58th St.