The List: 5 Cool Park(ing) Day Parks in Center City

Have you ever considered how much potential urban park space is gobbled up to accomodate parking? PARK(ing) Day, an annual event that transforms parking spaces around the world into mini-urban parks, asks us to reconsider how we allot that precious real estate. The event, which Philly very much took part in, seeks to “inspire you to participate in the civic processes that permanently alter the urban landscape.”

Here are five of Philadelphia’s coolest temporary landscapes.

1. Note4Note

Engineer Steve Gravelle said their site, on the 100 block of South 17th Street, was one of 30 different PARK(ing) Day projects around the city. The interactive art project that hoped to “bring a smile to someone’s day,” and the idea was to give passersby the opportunity to sit down and write a nice note to a stranger and then take one that someone else had written . Steve Gravelle, Rachel Robbins and Anneliese Van Arsdale all worked on the park.

2. Recycle Park

Recycle Park is made up of recyclable household items and encouraged people to recycle by asking them to take a pledge and play games set up in this space on the 1700 block of Market Street. Virginia Cain and Allison Sands of Recyclebank and Nicole Stilwell, a city employee, built this park to offer an incentive for recycling. “We want to hold people responsible with the recycling pledge,” Cain added. The park also offered a chance to win a lime green 32-gallon recycling bin.

3. Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson

JMT is an engineering company responsible for a new bike lane in Philadelphia. Their PARK(ing) Day space on the 1600 block of Market Street corresponds with the work they do by using a sand pit to represent the company’s archeologists and Jenga to represent building. The idea, says administrative assistant Stephanie Sperber, was to keep the park fun and interesting. Hence the game of checkers offered in the shade of the  blue tent.

4. Patrike Design Workshop

For their third PARK(ing) Day for, Troy Hannigan, Erike De Veyra and Ken Miraski of Patrike Design Workshop wanted to create awareness through art. “Today, we’re asking people, ‘How did you get to Center City,’” Hannigan said. Depending on their mode of transportation, participants were given different colors of paint and instructed to squirt away at a large canvas positioned in the middle of the park. The more invasive modes of transportation have bolder colors. Driving, for instance, uses red paint while walkers are given a pale yellow. The team was planning to take the finished piece to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Pop-Up Park after-party on Broad Street between Pine and Spruce.

5. Urban Jungle

Taylor Keegan and Ken Tomczuk are graduate students in Temple University’s landscape architecture program. They used PARK(ing) Day as an opportunity to bring lightness to Center City’s concrete jungle. Plants native to Pennsylvania were in placed glass jars along a wooden wall. The open and airy space provided wooden benches, faux green grass and Jenga (apparently a PARK(ing) Day favorite).