Park(ing) Day Reimagines, Reclaims Public Space in the Name of Sustainability

Wednesday, September 25, 2019
Photo of student Cindy Magana riding a bicycle through an obstacle course on campus
Cindy Magana rides a bicycle through an obstacle course, which she created with three other students to demonstrate a fun and sustainable way to commute to campus. Photo by Sreang Hok.

Design students took over parking spots and other public spaces on campus on September 19 and filled them with hammocks, maps, kiddie pools, a Pokemon Go hub, electricity-generating bicycles and more.

The event is the School of Design’s annual commemoration of Park(ing) Day, a national movement that converts parking spaces into temporary “parklets” for the public to enjoy and to raise awareness about the use of public space and sustainability issues. Forty-two students in Professor Ricardo Gomes’ Design Process class participated this year.

One student group polled peers on how they travel to campus, to help determine the environmental impact of commuting. Located on the quad, the display also included a dart board, interactive map and transportation trivia.

“A lot of the trivia questions have to do with the impact that cars make and how that’s bad for the climate, basically,” student Lily Hourigan said. “We’re trying to encourage students to look at how their fellow students are getting here and see how big of an impact it is for everybody to get to school and how they can change — maybe be inspired by the people who are biking and learn a little bit [about] how they can get here in a more sustainable way.”

Park(ing) Day is a 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. Today, Park(ing) Day spans six continents and more than 30 countries.

— Sreang Hok

Matt Itelson contributed to this story.

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