On Friday, September 18th, over 50 parking spaces on Philly streets were converted by volunteer teams into people-friendly mini parks (parklets) as part of the 2015 PARK(ing) Day Philadelphia festival. From Kensington to University City, these parklets invited passers-by to learn something, have fun, or just relax. Produced locally by the Philadelphia Center for Architecture, PARK(ing) Day is an annual world-wide event celebrating temporary people-centric public spaces and asks us to consider how much space in our cities is given over to automobiles and whether street-side parking spaces are the best use of our limited public resources.
After the parklets came down, the Center hosted a fun After Party + Talk for park creators and the public to come together, view images of the day's creations, and hear a talk about Tactical Urbanism by author Mike Lydon. Tactical Urbanism, also the name of a book by Lydon (for sale at the AIA Bookstore located in the Center), is about short-term temporary changes citizens and planners can make to demonstrate new ways of thinking about public space. Perhaps the most famous example of this is Janette Sadik-Khan's temporary transformation of Times Square in NYC to a pedestrian plaza using only paint and planters. Once her plan was shown as successful, resources were gathered to upgrade the plaza's materials and to make the changes permanent.
At the After Party, the Center also handed out its first-ever Golden Cone Awards for its favorite parklets of the day. The winners, and images of their parklets, can be viewed on the Center's website at: www.philadelphiacfa.org/2015-golden-cone-awards.