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In Praise of PARK(ing) Day

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In today’s modern age, “green spaces” are something mostly relegated to small, uniform lawns that sit outside of the many suburban houses that dot our landscape. From the time we shut our garage doors as we head for work each morning, we are assaulted with endless miles of asphalt, and row upon row of parking spaces in which to house our cars.

Our landscape, which was once lush and green, is now a bleak gray, devoid of color in most urban areas. However, some people wish to bring light to the dwindling amount of green space, being sacrificed daily for the ubiquitous automobile, by making a fun, and very visible statement.

PARK(ing) Day celebrates the power and importance of green spaces, as well as takes action in reclaiming — even if just for a day — a bit of the concrete jungle for actual human use. What started out as a local endeavor in San Francisco, PARK(ing) Day is now a global phenomena. This month marked the 7th anniversary of this local-gone-global event.

On PARK(ing) Day each year, citizens take back a bit of the green spaces lost to parking spaces. This was originally in response to the lack of green space in the Concrete Wilds of San Francisco, but this is a problem in many cities, nation and worldwide. On PARK(ing) Day, participants in over 200 cities around the world take over metered parking spaces and, for the day, turn them into park-like spots designed for humans to use and enjoy. Natural foliage is often brought in, along with comfy seating for mingling. Reports of actual grass and potted trees and plants being brought in, to add to the authenticity, are a regular part of this event.

There is a message behind this event, and that is to demonstrate, in a very visual way, the quick decline in green spaces for humans, sacrificed for the ever-growing need for places to park our cars. This illustrates how city planners choose cars over the people who drive them, taking away more and more of our green spaces to make way for bleak roads and endless parking lots.

But this also sends a message to us as citizens, and our need to change our priorities with regard to transportation. If more of us were willing to utilize, lobby for, and create an adequate public transportation system, there would be a far smaller need for space in which to transport people, and more space for people to enjoy a natural, green landscape.

Photo Credit: John Lambert Pearson


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