For Parking Day LA 2011, twenty-seven locations around the greater Los Angeles area were temporary instillation of pocket parks in metered parking stalls. Park[ing] Day originated in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco based art and design collective, transformed a 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.
This year’s theme was entitled Edible Streets – here’s a quote via their website:
” The recent battles between LA’s City Hall and LA’s urban gardeners has prompted several of this year’s Park-itects to present an “Edible Streets” standard by building urban farms in parking spaces. “
However, the five parks I visited from from Westwood, Mid-Wilshire, Downtown and Silverlake did not have much in terms of urban farms. Yet, all five did present issues and proposals that allows conversation and inquiry about speculative programing for streetscape. These ideas included new standards of walking distance to public parks, recreational park and bike for cyclists, outdoor rootbeer/beer gardens in a density of food trucks, permanent sod for new parklets in downtown corridors, and hybrid signage that serves as recreational lounges for individual pedestrians.
The contextual neighborhoods of these temporary parks represent a well-known diverse Los Angeles in terms of affluence and cultural background. What draws all these together is not the goal of Parking Day but the love affair of the Los Angeles streetscape. A city criticized so much in its sprawl and horizontal cityscape lives breathlessly in its car congestion. These pathways become blurs of the city and make it hard to appreciate moments of a neighborhood – if you choose not stop.
As a life-long resident of the Valley , every Saturday was guaranteed to have yard sales. Victory Boulevard in the neighborhood of Valley Glen has a majority of apartment housing. Residents always used the sidewalk as a way to interface with drivers and casual walkers. Everything from apartment signage, bushes, fences and yards were used. Usually, I am not interested in what is sold but how common citizens beautify spaces that are banal and sometimes not appeasing through everyday use.