Tomorrow is an exciting day for sustainable city advocates, or for that matter anyone who cares about parks and public space. Tomorow is National Park(ing) Day 2007, where cities across the U.S. will be taking back parking spaces and converting them to park space. An organization known as the Trust for Public Land (TPL) is spearheading the national effort to reclaim public space taken over to store private automobiles.

“The organizers plan to focus attention on the need for more parks while encouraging people to rethinking how urban space is used…these efforts are designed to highlight the need to integrate accessible and functional parks and green spaces into urban environments and lifestyles - and hopefully prompt passersby to seek opportunities to roll up their sleeves and roll out the green themselves.” (Planetizen)

Most people participating are simply taking strips of Astroturf and rolling them out into parking spaces, then putting some pot plants and seating on top for a quick and easy space conversion. Some people are taking it a bit further, where design groups are challenging one another to create the best temporary park(ing) space. I’ve even seen some put ping pong tables in the space. It’s all about creativity.

In Miami-Dade, there are two known locations participating in National Park(ing) Day. TPL and the City of Coral Gables will be rolling out a park in front of Houston’s on Miracle Mile to celebrate the city’s downtown park system and promote more community green space.

In Miami, a collaboration of several arts groups will be rolling out a park in Wynwood’s Art District. The park will feature art pieces inspired by nature and made from sustainable, eco-friendly materials.

I also encourage anyone else out there to get involved and create your own park out of parking space. This is something to be done in metered spaces, so I’m talking to you in South Beach, North Beach, Coconut Grove, Downtown, Brickell, Design District, South Miami, downtown Coral Gables, etc. Don’t forget to feed the meters, though, because taking over public parking spaces without doing so is illegal (unfortunately).

Anyone willing to send us pictures of a parking squat, we’d love to post ‘em!

Photos: National Park(ing) Day 2006 in Midtown Manhattan (courtesy of Streetsblog)

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