Friday, September 17, 2010

CityWatchLA - Transformed: Curbside Parking to Urban Parks

CityWatch, Sept 17, 2010
Vol 8 Issue 74

Today is the 4th annual celebration of Park[ing] Day LA and park-ticipants throughout the city will step up to the curb, put a quarter in the meter, and proceed to transform metered curbside parking into urban parks, just for the day.

Park[ing] Day LA is designed to stir a conversation or dialogue on public space, green space, and open space, challenging the status quo and inspiring locals to imagine a city where "Streets are for People!"

The East Hollywood Neighborhood Council will be returning to Santa Monica Boulevard and Madison where they will build a park outside the Bureau of Street Lighting facility and ask the simple question "Why not a park?" The City of Los Angeles owns a significant piece of property in the center of the park-poorest neighborhood council, yet it's wrapped with razor wire and used to store light fixtures.

The Hollywood Community Studio is building a pavement-to-plaza demonstration project at Hollywood Boulevard and Hudson, a location they claim as "Streets for Feet!" Hollywood is experiencing significant transformation and the HCS is challenging local residents to imagine reclaimed and repurposed public space.

Westwood Squared brings a Town Square to Westwood Village at Westwood and Lindbrook, a public space that encourages community activities including art, dancing, speaking, singing, music, relaxing, reading and eating. W2S is sponsored by GFA Architects, UCLA Planning students/alumni, and Westwood locals.

This year's Park[ing] Day LA is notable for the impact of social media on the crowd-sourced event. Traditional tools such as Facebook and Google have been complemented with Twitter and FourSquare so that #PDLA fans can follow the events throughout the day, from the comfort of their phones.

The parks are listed on a Google Map and they are also geo-tagged so that they will continue to exist (virtually) even after they're gone. Visitors can tag them on FourSquare, leaving tips and comments for other visitors.

There are three tours by bike scheduled for Park[ing] Day LA, leaving from the Westside, from Hollywood, and from Highland Park. Participants can find the groups by following the Twitter hashtag #PDLA and by following Park[ing] Day LA on Twitter.

From East Hollywood's Shakespeare in the Park[ing] to SoRo's Western Roundup & BBQ, from Westwood Squared to North East LA's Bocce Ball & Lemonade, from Long Beach's Organic Farmers Market and open Bookstore to Silver Lake's Poem Booth and Echo Park's Dog Park[ing], there is something for everybody, from early in the morning on the westside to late at night in Chinatown.

Park-ticipants and guests will have three opportunities to unwind after a full day of park[ing]. Silver Lake is hosting a Happy Hour reception at Sunset Triangle, the Echo Park Film Center is screening Breaking Away at Echo Lake, and Chinatown's Grandstar is hosting the official afterparty.

Park[ing] Day originated in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco based art and design collective, transformed a metered parking spot into a park-for-a-day in an effort to make a public comment on the lack of quality open space in American cities. Their goal was to reprogram the urban surface by reclaiming streets for people to rest, relax and play and their mission is to promote creativity, civic engagement, critical thinking, unscripted social interactions, generosity and play.

(Stephen Box is a grassroots advocate and writes for CityWatch. He can be reached at: Disclosure: Box is also a candidate for 4th District Councilman.)

1 comment:

Sirinya said...

I checked in via FourSquare this morning to the Westwood site!