Sunday, September 14, 2008

3.1 Park(ing) day LA

Park(ing) Day LA 2007 happened just after I arrived last year. It was one of those remarkable events that made me realize I am literally surrounded by people who are interested in some of the same things I am and who devote time and energy to creative ways to generate awareness, discussion, and action. Over 180 of these mini-parks in parking spaces were created last year in 47 cities worldwide. Park(ing) Day 2008 is this coming Friday - September 19th - and anyone, anywhere can put quarters in a meter and claim that space as their own. This year a team of PhD students, spouses, friends, and our new favorite musicians have staked out a spot on 3rd street where we will show each person who drives by or walks in the size space that is theirs to claim.

Here is our description of our project, 'the drive-by walk in':

The road is America's largest public space. There are 3,981,512 miles of public road in the US, roughly 69 feet (.0132 miles) for each person in the country. Yet, we rarely treat the road as a public space, occupying it more as a collective of spatially isolated mobile individuals than an interactive citizenry. In celebration of Park(ing) Day 2008, the 'drive-by, walk-in' hopes to capitalize on this untapped social infrastructure, linking the public space of the road with the public space of the sidewalk, encouraging greater exploitation of the multi-scalar, multi-speed, ubiquitous yet under-utilized communal space that surrounds us.
In 2005, the Rebar group, a creative collective out of San Francisco, started Park(ing) Day by transforming a single 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. Now a global one day event, the goal still is to reprogram the urban surface by reclaiming streets for people to rest, relax and play and to:

* Promote a critical dialogue regarding the need for urban open space and the way in which streets are currently used.
* Energize civic life by questioning basic assumptions about urban space while offering provocative and meaningful alternatives.
* Connect artists, designers, and activists with ways to permanently reclaim the street for people.
On September 19th, numerous Park(ing) Day LA spots will be located throughout the city. Join us for 'the drive-by walk-in' in the 8000 block of West 3rd street from 2 to 8 pm to stake your claim on public space. Music by My Hawaii and Bird and Moon begins at 6:00. An after party at the A+D Museum will follow.

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