Parking spaces along the roads of the Theater District were occupied by several small, Houstonian-made “parks”. The green scene stood out so much against the concrete jungle of Houston that many business workers throughout the area felt obligated to stop and smell the flowers.
As it turns out, this event is called Park(ing) Day and was put together by the Houston chapter of the ASLA, or American Society of Landscape Architects. According to Kevin Mineheart, who helped organize these activities, Park(ing) Day is a global event that occurs September 18th in major cities throughout the world. Mineheart clarifies that during this event, organizations such as the ASLA “pay for parking spots for the whole day,” and transform them into urban parks, or “parklettes”. The purpose of this is to “reimagine urban landscapes”, and have useable spaces that are fun and community oriented.
Some, such as Nathan Wood, used their spaces to raise awareness about the environmental issues associated with urban areas. Wood’s parklette showcased the Houston-manufactured Truegrid Paver, a permeable and ecofriendly product for parking in which storm water goes “directly through it…and cleans [the water]”. Other spaces were more community oriented, such as the “What if Houston…” chalkboard, which allowed residents to write about things they would like to see occur within the city.
Overall, Park(ing) Day was a success for the Houston area. One resident named Elizabeth stopped to check out the booths, and exclaimed that everyone involved did an amazing job. Although residents such as Elizabeth were not previously aware of this event, it truly worked to raise awareness about spaces within the city, and seems as if it can only grow bigger next year.