PARK(ing) Day Focuses on Creating a More Sustainable Urban Landscape

Clark Condon, Houston, with the help of participating sponsors Trees for Houston and Key-scape LLC, Houston, temporarily transformed parking spaces at Capitol and Travis streets in downtown Houston into a public park as a part of the national PARK(ing) Day event on Sept. 18.

Originally invented in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco based art and design studio, PARK(ing) Day challenges people to rethink the way parking spaces are used and reinforces the need for broad-based changes to urban infrastructure.

“In urban centers around the world, inexpensive curbside parking results in increased traffic, wasted fuel and more pollution,” says Rebar’s Matthew Passmore.

“The planning strategies that generated these conditions are not sustainable, nor do they promote a healthy, vibrant human habitat. PARK(ing) Day is about reimagining the possibilities of the urban landscape.”

Clark Condon’s PARK(ing) Day parklet, themed “Look Up”, featured a contemplative pass-through space that visually redirected users’ focuses away from the surrounding downtown context and up to a framed view of the sky. Users were encouraged to stop looking forward, backward and down, but instead to #LOOKUP toward the sky. The temporary installation was an embodiment of positivity, curiosity and reverence, promoting social and environmental awareness and challenging the public perception of how urban spaces are—and can be—used.

Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has blossomed into a worldwide grassroots movement. It is an “open-source” user-generated invention created by independent groups around the globe who adapt the project to champion creative, social or political causes that are relevant to their local urban conditions.

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