CityWatch, Aug 13, 2010
Vol 8 Issue 64
Great cities are notable for their commitment to built, natural, and social environments. While other cities embrace open space, public space, and green space as zippers that bring people together, Los Angeles continues to position the curbside metered parking space as a battle ground that alienates individuals and divides communities. At the same time, curbside metered parking spaces are one of the best real estate deals in town. Great locations, excellent view, short term rentals.
On Friday, September 17, artists, community members, neighborhood councils and visionaries will step up to the curb, put a quarter in the meter, and proceed to transform a small bit of street into a park, sparking a dialogue on our urban landscape, along with the allocation and management of public space.
This is the 4th annual Park[ing] Day LA, an event that is part of a worldwide celebration spanning 6 continents, 21 countries, 140 cities and 700 parks. Last year Los Angeles hosted four dozen parks, two bike rides, one film screening and a lot of inspired imaginations. Park[ing] Day LA 2010 promises to keep the tradition and raise the standard, offering different expressions of the idea that streets should be an opportunity for connectivity, not division.
Park[ing] Day originated in San Francisco in 2005 when the artists from Rebar transformed a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in an area of San Francisco that the city had designated as lacking public open space. Since then, the concept has been remixed and adapted, resulting in parks that range from the traditional green space/park bench to mobile parks that are moved throughout the city by cyclists. Park[ing] Day events have included urban farms, ecology demonstrations, political seminars, poetry, art installations and even a wedding ceremony.
Through it all, the simple message is "Streets are for People!"
This year, plans are underway for Park[ing] Day LA clusters, some that come with a commitment to creating community and some that come with a commitment to develop specific land into a permanent park. Themes range from Shakespeare Everywhere to Free Speech Zone to Dog Park[ing]. Some folks like to build parks, some like to visit, and some cluster of parks provide people an opportunity for walking and riding tours of the wide variety of themes, messages, and expressions of Park[ing] Day LA. There are already great parks grow[ing] in Downtown, in Silver Lake, Echo Park, East Hollywood and Westwood.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
If you’d like to participate in Park[ing] Day LA but are unsure as to where to start, how to build a park, how to frame your message or how to engage your community, come by East Hollywood on Saturday, September 4 for a Park[ing] Day LA workshop.
At 9 in the morning, the Greensters, LA’s first pedal powered transpo team, will be delivering Park[ing] Day LA materials to Santa Monica Boulevard.
From 10am to 2pm, join the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council, local community activists, the Greensters, an Urban Forester and people who simply want to engage the leadership of Los Angeles in a robust discussion on LA’s public space.
Park[ing] Day LA Workshop
Saturday, September 4 from 10am until 2pm
4590 Santa Monica Blvd. LA, CA 90029
Between Madison and Westmoreland, south side of the street.
Two blocks east of the Santa Monica & Vermont Red Line Station.
Contact Info: info@ParkingDayLA.com for more information. Join Park[ing] Day LA on Facebook, on Twitter, on MySpace and on YouTube.
(Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at Stephen@thirdeyecreative.net. Disclosure: Box is also a candidate for 4th District Councilman.)