PARK(ing) Day transforms parking spots to promote sustainability

In Room 151 of the Creative Arts Building, the students of design and industry 300 brainstorm ideas for this year’s PARK(ing) Day.

PARK(ing) Day is the vision of Rebar, a San Francisco based art and design studio, which transformed a parking spot in San Francisco into a park for two hours back in 2005. The event was created to bring awareness to the lack of open spaces in urban settings by transforming metered parking spots into parks.

Today, PARK(ing) Day spans six continents and more than 30 countries. The first PARK(ing) Day was a modest patch of grass, a tree and a bench, but since then the installments have gotten more elaborate.

“The idea is really strong,” said Justin Pagilinan, a visual communications major. “It’s a great way to reinvent a space into something more useful.”

This year will mark the University’s fifth year of involvement in the event

The imagination is the only barrier to the installments which have included benches, pools, yoga classes, barbecues, ball pits and even swings. Students at SF State will use materials such as astro turf, tires, empty bottles and plants to decorate their parks.

Four spaces were chosen as locations for the installments: 19th and Holloway Avenues, Malcolm X Plaza, Tapia Avenue and Centennial Way. .

To create a park, participants need only deposit enough money in the parking meter to claim their space before they begin to decorate.

“We want to raise a question: ‘Are there better ways of utilizing public space?'” said Ricardo Gomes.

This event is not new to five-year veteran Caitlin Steele, of the Office of Sustainability.

“PARK(ing) Day is a temporary art installment meant to make people rethink how we use space,” said Steele.

Nick Kordesch, the Office of Sustainability program coordinator, explained “the way we use our space in the city has a lot to say about sustainability, the fact that we use most of our space for cars says a lot.”

But it’s not just faculty and students who are getting involved in PARK(ing) Day.

“It’s fun to come to school and see fresh blood and new ways of looking at things,” said Ed Kim, of WRNS Studio, a studio that specializes in sustainable architecture and design.

WRNS has been working with the University on PARK(ing) Day since 2009 and has been a fountain of knowledge for students working on their installments for the event.

The official date for PARK(ing) Day is Sept. 20, but the University will be hosting their own on Sept. 18.

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