Have you ever walked along a downtown avenue or driven down a wide suburban street and wondered, “There’s an awful lot of pavement here. Is this really necessary?” If so, you’re not the only one.
In fact, there’s a whole movement to reclaim underutilized street areas for pop up parks, public art, landscaping, food, and sitting areas. This movement is celebrated each year on PARK(ing) Day, when artists, designers, planners, ecologists, architects, and others who care about public places take over parking spaces for the day.
You’re invited to come see how a parking spot can be transformed into a great public space! Come hang out with the sponsors, learn some interesting things, and have fun with various activities.
Check out the spaces!
• The Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVF) will be transforming a parking spot into a walking and biking trail. Learn how your commute affects the environment, economy, and your health. Join GVF for a walk through the park at PARK(ing) Day!
• The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will be creating a park(ing) spot that focuses on rainwater, stormwater management, and green roofs.
• The Montgomery County Planning Commission (MCPC) will be transforming a parking spot into a park where you can hang out and play lawn games. Learn about how the county preserves farmland, receive a list of farm markets, and check out all of the free recycling events offered throughout the year!
• MCPC will also be creating a space that focuses on trails and parks, walking for a healthy lifestyle, and art on our county trails.
• The Municipality of Norristown will have a space highlighting all of the great destinations and happenings occurring in this classic town.
PARK(ing) day will run from 9 AM to 2 PM on Friday, September 18, 2015, in downtown Norristown, near the Courthouse at Main and Swede Streets. Come over for a visit, and while you’re in Norristown, check out the Inside Out installation, which has 11 replicas of Philadelphia Museum of Art masterpieces spread throughout the town.
You may be wondering, “Where did this idea come from?” PARK(ing) Day has been celebrated officially since 2005, started by Rebar, a firm in San Francisco. Here’s how they describe it:
Motivated by the desire to activate the metered parking space as a site for creative experimentation, political and cultural expression, and unscripted social interaction, Rebar offers PARK(ing) Day as a prototype for open-source urban design, accessible to all. In response, thousands of people around the globe—working independently of Rebar but guided by common core principles—have created hundreds of “PARK” installations and formed an annual international event.
Urban inhabitants worldwide recognize the need for new approaches to making the urban landscape, and realize that converting small segments of the automobile infrastructure—even temporarily—can alter the character of the city. From public parks to free health clinics, from art galleries to demonstration gardens, PARK(ing) Day participants have claimed the metered parking space as a rich new territory for creative experimentation and activism.