On Friday, September 21, something strange will happen on the streets of Charlotte: Tiny parks will appear where hours before there was the only asphalt.
Like Cinderella’s carriage, the pop-up parks will last until the clock strikes 6:00 p.m. when they will melt back into the parking spaces you see every day. Why? It’s all for PARK(ing) Day, a one-day demonstration aimed to inspire conversation and new thinking about how we use public space in urban areas.
The concept started in San Francisco in 2005, when art and design studio REBAR rolled up to a parking meter, paid it, and rolled out some green turf. With a park bench, a single tree, some bollards, and an optimistic attitude, REBAR transformed an asphalt parking space into a tiny car-sized public park—for two hours. It was intended as a simple “what-if” demonstration, but photos of the pop-up park went viral and REBAR was soon flooded with questions about replicating the park. PARK(ing) Day was born.
PARK(ing) Day is now an open-source event coordinated by the American Society of Landscape Architects. In Charlotte, the effort is organized by Charlotte Center City Partners, the Charlotte chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and Urban Design Partners. All of the pop-up parks are permitted by Charlotte’s Department of Transportation through the City’s new Parklet Program. The idea of Park(ing) Day is to allow a little bit of experimentation to see if we can make our streets a more pleasant and welcoming place to be.
You can see the full list HERE of where to find these parks. How fun!