Dozens of artists, activists and citizens occupied parking spaces in Puerto Rico and around the globe last week, turning them into public parks and other social spaces, as part of the annual PARK(ing) Day event.
Originally created in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design studio, PARK(ing) Day challenges people to rethink the way streets are used and reinforces the need for broad-based changes to urban infrastructure.
“In urban centers around the world, inexpensive curbside parking results in increased traffic, wasted fuel and more pollution,” says Rebar’s Matthew Passmore. “The planning strategies that generated these conditions are not sustainable, nor do they promote a healthy, vibrant human habitat. PARK(ing) Day is about re-imagining the possibilities of the urban landscape.”
Locally, the Association of Landscape Architecture Students of the School of Landscape Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico celebrated PARK(ing) Day Puerto Rico, for the fourth consecutive year, on Ashford avenue in Condado, between the Presbyterian Hospital and Hotel La Concha.
This year, students from the School of Architecture of the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras, the Puerto Rico School of Plastic Arts, and the Juan Ramón Davila High School of Coamo also gathered in Condado.
“We are pleased to, once again, be the organizers of this important worldwide event here in Puerto Rico,” said Marisabel Rodriguez, director of the Polytechnic’s School of Landscape Architecture. “The celebration of the PARK (ing) Day Puerto Rico 2012 event is part of a series of activities to which we have joined, or have organized, to focus attention on the field of landscape architecture as one of the new green and ecological industries, as well as means of artistic expression, that seeks to influence the quality of life in Puerto Rico.”
Since 2005, the project has blossomed into a worldwide grassroots movement: PARK(ing) Day 2011 included more than 800 “PARK” installations in more than 180 cities in 30 countries on six continents.
Local parking spaces were turned into reading and lounging areas, mini-golf courses and other novel curbside entertainment zones.