Streets of LA Get Greener on Park(ing) Day
Los Angeles, CA: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) invites you into 131.4 square feet of tranquility in the center of the asphalt jungle next Friday. Step into an eco-friendly, drought tolerant oasis to enjoy a bit of calm while cars and pedestrians pass by on their lunch hour. TPL will transform a parking space at 7th and Flower into a tranquility garden to call attention to the need for parks in urban Los Angeles. Public space makes a city more livable and creates a sense of community by encouraging people to stop and connect.
Cities across America will gain new green space on National Park(ing) Day, September 21, as parking spots nationwide are transformed into public parks. The goal is to raise awareness about the need for more public open space in densely populated urban areas. Supporters in more than twenty cities, including New York, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington D.C, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, have announced participation.? Organizers are also inviting local groups to participate, expanding the opportunity from one park to a system of park(ing) parks. Details online at www.tpl.org/parkingday.
In addition to the tranquility garden downtown, TPL’s Healthy Parks Healthy Communities Program is partnering with Community Health Councils to create a fitness-themed park in South LA. The park, located at the 3800 block of Crenshaw Boulevard, will include an obstacle course to get visitors’ hearts racing. The partnership promotes parks as venues for physical activity.
TPL recently introduced a Fitness Zones program that installs outdoor gym equipment in existing public parks, encouraging communities to get healthy by getting active. Fitness Zones can be found at Sunshine Park in La Puente, Dalton Park in Azusa, Roosevelt Park and Belvedere Park in Los Angeles, and San Angelo Park in La Puente.
Other local and national groups participating in Park(ing) Day LA include Livable Places, AIA, the American Institute of Architects (Los Angeles Chapter), Illuminate L.A., North East Trees, and Bicycle Kitchen. At present, there are more than 30 parks planned in the greater Los Angeles area, ranging from an urban forest to a trailer park.
“The Trust for Public Land is addressing two of LA’s needs with our planned Park(ing) Day installations,” said Debra Geiler, Southern California Director of The Trust for Public Land. “Our fitness-themed park will call attention to the health benefits of open space, and the disparity in access to quality recreational opportunities. Our tranquility park is about making the city greener, calmer, and more pedestrian-friendly.”
TPL is sponsoring National Park(ing) Day 2007, a concept created by San Francisco art collective Rebar (www.rebargroup.org). In 2005, Rebar created its first “PARK(ing)” project by transforming a metered parking spot into a temporary public park, briefly expanding the public realm and improving the quality of urban human habitat (at least until the meter ran out).
“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.
Community Health Councils is a non-profit, community-based health promotion, advocacy and policy organization. Established in 1992, CHC’s mission is to improve health and increase access to quality healthcare for uninsured, economically-disadvantaged, and underserved populations. For more information on the event in South Los Angeles, contact Mia Boykin at Community Health Councils, firstname.lastname@example.org or 323.295.9372 x216.