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September 16, 2011

"Park(ing) Day" turns pavement into mini-parks


Happy Park(ing) Day! For those not familiar with it, this is a day when artists, activists and creative business people transform curbside parking spaces into mini-parks and spaces for exhibiting art and socializing.

It was begun in 2005 in San Francisco by Rebar, an art and design studio there, but has gone global since. Last year, there were  more than 800 conversions in more than 180 cities in 30 countries on six continents. It's meant to get people thinking about "re-imagining the possibilities of the urban landscape," as Rebar's Matthew Passmore has been quoted.

Some Baltimore groups and businesses are getting in on the act. The Reservoir Hill Improvement Council is converting teachers' parking spaces at John Eager Howard Elementary School into a "composting kitchen," where students can learn how to build real and edible compost boxes. That's at 2100 Brookfield Ave. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The city's landscape architecture and design firms seem to seizing the opportunity to strut their stuff - or just to engage in a little Friday whimsy. They include:

Ayers Saint Gross, which will unveil a temporary "sculptural shade structure" made almost entirely from plastic bottles collected from the harbor and around the city. It'll be in a pair of adjoining parking spaces at the corner of Broadway and Thames Street in Fells Point. It'll be up from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

EDSA, Inc., which plans an exhibit exploring how society might adapt to apocalyptic events like earthquakes and hurricanes. Its spot will be on Commerce Street just north of Pratt Street, across from the Baltimore World Trade Center.

Floura Teeter, which will convert three spaces in front of its downtown office at 306 W. Franklin Street into an "urban garden designed to showcase sustainable food preparation using local, seasonal ingredients." This will be Floura Teeter's third Park(ing) Day observance.

Mahan Rykiel Associates, which is making two parking spaces in Hampden on the Avenue (832-836 West 36th Street) into a "pop-up, outdoor, dog friendly café." That'll be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more on Park(ing) Day, go here.

(Shannon Early blows bubbles into passing traffic while relaxing in Floura Teeter's greened parking spaces downtown. 2010 Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam.)

Posted by Tim Wheeler at 6:30 AM | | Comments (0)

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About the bloggers
Tim WheelerTim Wheeler reports on the environment and Chesapeake Bay. A native of West Virginia, he has focused mainly on Maryland's environment since moving here in 1983. Along the way, he's crewed aboard a skipjack in the bay, canoed under city streets up the Jones Fall from the Inner Harbor, and gone deep underground in a western Maryland coal mine. He loves seafood, rambles in the country and good stories. He hopes to share some here.

Contributor Christy Zuccarini has been blogging about the local DIY craft scene for a year for She brings her pespective on all things handmade to B'More Green, where she will highlight projects you can do yourself as well as crafters who are integrating sustainable methods and materials.

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