National Park(ing) Day Returns September 19

SAN FRANCISCO 6/26/2008: The number of downtown parks in America will increase dramatically this September.

Friday, September 19, 2008 is National Park(ing) Day, when metered public parking spaces nationwide will become temporary public parks. The project is sponsored by The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation nonprofit.

National Park(ing) Day is an annual event celebrating parks by creating temporary parks in public parking spaces. Supporters in 25 cities nationwide, including New York, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Denver, Washington D.C, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, have announced participation. The goals, according to organizers, are to celebrate parks and promote the need for more parks in America’s cities.

“By turning parking spaces into instant parks, National Park(ing) Day is a creative way to demonstrate the real need to create more parks in our cities,” said Will Rogers, TPL president. “Across America, cities are renewing their investments in parks because our civic leaders have come to recognize that close-to-home parks, gardens, and playgrounds are essential if we are to have cities that aren’t just livable, but lovable.”

In 2007, National Park(ing) Day spawned more than 200 new parks in more than fifty cities nationwide and around the world. See coverage from CNN.

Photos from last year’s event, as well as a full list of cities with maps and details is available online at

Examples of 2007 National Park(ing) Day parks include:

  • New York City. More than twenty parking spots in the five boroughs-including Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and Penn Station-were transformed into lawns for lounging, gardens for growing, and other community-minded purposes. See coverage in the New York Times.
  • San Francisco: More than fifty Park(ing) parks included an outdoor office space with a wireless hotspot, a sidewalk plaza, and a Parkcycle designed by Park(ing) Day originators, Rebar. See coverage from C-Net.
  • Los Angeles: In the South LA community along Crenshaw Boulevard, a Park(ing) park offered physical activity features for exercise for the local community to enjoy. Read statements by children and parents.
  • Minneapolis and St. Paul: Park(ing) parks in the two cities reflected contrasting park needs. In Minneapolis, a Park(ing) park in the heart of downtown highlighted need for a downtown park. In St. Paul, a Park(ing) park in the Frogtown neighborhood, where local parks are hard to come by. See coverage by the Sundance Channel.
  • Tampa, Fla: One sod-filled parking space was surrounded by a white picket fence, some chairs and a chess table, and a few dogs to demonstrate the many different ways people can enjoy downtown parks. See coverage from the Tampa Bay Business Journal.
  • Louisville, Ken.: Two spots were transformed into Park(ing) parks with grass, trees, benches, and plants to provide a refuge from the urban heat island effect in the downtown area. An educational display and digital thermometers showed the mitigating effect of park open space. See coverage from Architect Online.

“The quality of our daily experience is only enhanced by often neglected necessities like parks, playgrounds, and gardens,” said Rogers, “places that get us in touch with nature, with each other, and with ourselves.”

Fortunately most public parking spaces are available for hourly lease!

TPL, a national conservation nonprofit founded in 1972, is sponsoring National Park(ing) Day 2008, a concept created by San Francisco art collective Rebar in 2005 to re-imagine the potential of the metered parking space. In 2006, in collaboration with TPL, REBAR founded “PARK(ing) Day”: a global exploration of the creative potential of streets.

“Our goal was to encourage people to rethink the way our streets are used, and to temporarily expand the amount of public open space in an underserved area of downtown San Francisco,” says John Bela, co-founder of Rebar. “We added ‘24,000 square foot-minutes’ of public open space that afternoon.”

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national, nonprofit, land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than two million acres nationwide. TPL depends on the support of individuals, corporations, and foundations.