Friday, August 07, 2009

CityWatchLA - Park(ing) Day LA: A Cry for Parks and Public Space

CityWatch, Aug 7, 2009
Vol 7 Issue 63

Park[ing] Day LA is underway and activists, artists, urban planners and neighborhood councils are preparing to step up to the curb, place a quarter in the meter and then transform curbside park[ing] space into temporary parks, all in an effort to stir a dialogue on public space.

The East Hollywood Neighborhood Council, holding the title of park-poorest NC in the city, will be [re]claiming public space and building a Recreation Center on Heliotrope, installing a swimming pool, grilling up food on a bbq, entertaining guests with music and volleyball, creating live art and challenging the community to imagine a neighborhood with ... brace yourself...parks within walking distance of the people! Organized by Alfredo "the Park Czar" Hernandez, the East Hollywood NC is planning a demonstration of Parkland Alchemy as the "temporary" park is transformed, the next day, into a permanent park within the NC boundaries.

LA Guerrilla Garden[ing] will be taking all of the drought resistant native plants used on Park[ing] Day and will build a small park for the community as a demonstration of the "leave things better than you found them" commitment of the Park[ing] Day LA grass roots movement.

LA's Greensters will be handling all the heavy-lifting needs for the East Hollywood transformation from temporary park to permanent park, utilizing Xtracycles, trailers and wagons in a pedal-powered display of sustainable transportation and as a demonstration of fact that LA is simply a great place to ride a bike!

Recycled Movie, the production company that turns kids into movie moguls, will have their recycling trailer on site throughout the event and will be documenting Park[ing] Day LA while fulfilling their mandate to make recycling a routine activity that puts kids to work and also funds their filmmaking endeavors.

Park[ing] Day originated in San Francisco in 2005 when (Re)Bar, a small group of artists, opened eyes worldwide by transforming a metered park[ing] spot into a park-for-a-day. That simple act served as a significant commentary on the lack of quality open space in American cities and resulted in Park[ing] Day celebrations around the world. This is the third annual Park[ing] Day LA and participants have engaged their communities with a wide variety of parks and public space perspectives, all of them challenging the status quo.

The EHNC Park[ing] Day LA activities are designed to engage the community, stir a dialogue, provide a venue for a celebration and to simply "change the world!" To that end, money raised during Park[ing] Day LA in East Hollywood will go to the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, creator of parkland throughout LA, and to supporting the Hollywood Cap Park, a 44 acre park that will stretch from Bronson Ave. to Santa Monica Blvd., covering the 101 Freeway and greening LA's park-poorest neighborhoods. This ambitious and visionary project is a clear demonstration that the future of LA's open space requires us all to ...

Step up to the curb, look at all of that public space and ask "Why not?"

For more information on Park[ing] Day LA visit

(Stephen Box writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at ◘

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