It is always captivating to walk around the city on ‘Parking Day’, an annual international event, which was recently celebrated on September 21st 2012. The project was started in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco design studio. It is a universal movement, which converts a single metered parking space in to a temporary outdoor public park. As per the event’s motto, ‘you are acting in the public interest to add to health, comfort and vitality of your city.’ The Baltimore Sun stated that last year including Baltimore, 975 parks were created in 162 cities in 35 countries. This year more than 15 spaces were created in the Baltimore city and its suburbs.
Mahan Rykiel, a local Landscape design and planning firm transformed two parking spaces at 834 W 36th St in Hampden to display urban agriculture. The space was absorbing with a vegetable garden display, plant your own seed facility and a recipe exchange corner providing examples to prepare home cooked food with vegetables at the exhibit. The firm’s main focus is to create awareness of environmental degradation in the cities and to emphasize on urban gardening and sustainable design.
It is compelling to note that a local citizen with environmental awareness from the neighborhood parish had also set a small station in the parking space adjacent to Mahan Rykiel’s urban gardening display. Focusing on how green is the future, The Doo consulting firm had converted the parking space in the Southeast corner of Pennsylvania and York Road, across from Urban Outfitters in Towson, in to an interesting parklet. Various design firms, artists and innovative thinkers in and around the city and across the world successfully reclaimed the parking space.
Urban Agriculture: Mahan Rykiel Associates, Hampden
Reclaimed urban space in Hampden
Parklet: Doo Consulting Firm, Towson
Over the years this open space project had increased its scope and expanded beyond the basic ‘tree- bench- sod’ concept. Recent participants address multifarious social issues in diverse urban context around the world. However, in the future will this event grow even bigger from just being a one-day occasion of creating a temporary outdoor area to something more that can permanently alter the urban landscape and create a lasting vibrant public space?