Monday, September 29, 2008

A Green Art Initiative: National Park-ing Day 2008

While at a stop-light in downtown Jacksonville, FL two weeks ago I saw the quirkiest and most intriguing thing: green turf laid down in a street corner parking spot filled with shrubbery, lawn chairs and several people playing music and Frisbee. After my initial thought of, "Oh where has this wedding taken me to for the week-end?" I couldn't help but wonder, what are these people doing.

Well, I just found out. This jovial group of Frisbee playing people in the street had participated in the
2008 National Park(ing) Day, held on September 19th, a collaboration between the Trust for Public Land and REBAR (an art & design group based in San. Fran.) as an opportunity to celebrate parks in cities and promote the need for more parks by creating temporary public parks in public parking spaces. This art initiative looks at areas that are under served by public open outdoor space. Areas available to people for rest, play and relaxation are critical to improving our habitat, according to REBAR. REBAR began to answer these questions in 2005 in their city of San. Francisco but considering parking meter payments as rental of precious real estate for a certain time period. Therefore, REBAR thought, well what else could you do with a parking spot before the meter runs out... make it a PARK!

REBAR now teams up with TPL to make this initiative an annual event to reflect the fertile imagination of American park lovers and call attention to the need for more city parks. This year over 450 "parks" were set up in over 75 U.S. cities. The idea behind Park(ing) day is to realize that in cities, over 70% of space is dedicated to the private vehicle, while only a fraction of that space is dedicated to people. Hmm... why are our vehicles, expensive to buy, expensive to fuel and damaging to our earth, causing traffic given so much of our precious space?

I've definitely got the 2009 Parking Day on my calendar. Always a fan of park play (I was the Monkey-bar master), I'm thinking of setting up shop on Lockerman with a hammock, palm tree and a sudoku puzzle. Delaware did not participate at this year's event, but there are plenty of metered spots to call attention to....such as, Rehoboth Avenue in July?

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