(Re)purpose | (Re)vitalize | (Re)charge

Friday September 20th, 2013 marked the 8th annual Park(ing) Day event across the globe. “PARK(ing) Day is an annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places… PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.”[1]

This year, the Academy of Art University’s School of Landscape Architecture Student Affiliate Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) showcased an innovative Park(ing) Day installation “(Re)purpose | (Re)vitalize | (Re)charge” that focused on core issues of urban living in the ever growing cities of the 21st century.

The combination of population growth and development is rapidly decreasing the amount of public urban open spaces that our cities have to offer and in turn has led to an increase in the amount of concrete and glass that rises up into our skylines, as well as all-time highs in automobile congestion. As the number of public urban open spaces dwindle, spaces to gather with friends and neighbors, walk, unwind, exercise, and meet new people by happenstance are becoming less and less common place. Additionally, many of the activities that our global society once engaged in within the framework of public open spaces, now take place within a 5×2 inch handheld device that are gateways to the ever evolving world of Social Media.

(Re)purpose | (Re)vitalize | (Re)charge shed light on the issues of decreasing urban open space, traffic congestion, and the use of handheld digital devices by taking over a 7’x18’ parking spot at the corner of Columbus and Leavenworth Streets adjacent to the Cannery, in which an inviting small scale public open space was created that encouraged passerby’s to engage with their community, while charging their hand-held devices by getting some good old gluteal and quadriceps workout!  The design of the space consisted of re-used red boxes highlighted by four Palm trees at four corners that brought attention to the space, and showcased a single bicycle that had been converted to a mechanical generator and charger for iPhones. As passerby’s pedaled and charged their phones, glutes and quads were fired, people connected, talked and took photos, and discussions on the use of alternate forms of transportation and the importance of public open space were had! BOOM! FULL CIRCLE!

Congratulations to the students of our ASLA student Affiliate chapter on a job well done, and an innovative  and poignant design that has made the School of Landscape Architecture proud!

Photos Courtesy of: Eric Arneson, BFA School of Landscape Architecture & Yasmine Farazian, Faculty School of Landscape Architecture

[1] www.parkingday.org